Deployment Is Only The First Step: Lessons Learned From A Major CPQ Rollout

March 27, 2016 PROS, Inc.

Recently I was working with a large manufacturing company that just completed a pilot of its CPQ (configure, price, quote) solution. It was a four-month PROS Smart CPQ rollout and the initial pilot involved 50 sales users. The plan was to roll it out to an additional 1,000 sales users in six months. As part of the implementation, all the requirements for the full roll out were completed. The only remaining task was to get the remaining users onto the system since all use cases were already implemented. It might seem with some training and encouragement, getting them on the new platform would be a breeze. You might ask why it couldn’t be done in a month or so. It’s not always as easy as it should be. In this instance, it took the customer more than six months until they were able to get all 1,000 sales people using the new CPQ tool.

It was an accomplishment that I am proud but I had also underestimated its difficulty up front. Below are some strategies I learned on how to onboard new users and execute change management in a large CPQ rollout.

Identify Stakeholders and Make Them Responsible In a large organization, no one individual can implement change on this scale. To be successful, you need to identify the right people with enough decision-making authority to make sure the core team can overcome adoption roadblocks. We formed a steering committee comprised of senior executives. We had an implementation RACI chart that minimized cross-connections among users. The group was active until all 1,000 end-users were on-boarded.

Over Communicate A new CPQ tool requires new behavior from its users. Making significant process changes that impact sales user productivity can lead to end user doubt. Over communication not only helped alleviate this anxiety but it also helped our steering committee positively impact user behavior. This included training videos, “lunch and learn” sessions and quizzes. Find whatever works for your company’s culture.

Excite End Users Who Will Use the System End users who are going to create a quote from the CPQ tool have to believe that it is time for something better than the previous method. They need to feel the need and urgency for change. Based on user feedback from the pilot, we got a good handle on both tool adjustments and broader user buy-in requirements for the wider rollout. Without making changes to the core functionality, we implemented some quick wins, which increased confidence in the solution and helped adoption across the broader user base.

Make Your Changes Last Even after deployment is finished it is still important to continue looking for ways to “habitualize” CPQ use across the sales organization. Set adoption goals and then measure and analyze user data to correct behaviors that are detrimental to those goals. Remember that in addition to a sales optimization tool, CPQ is also an important part of your transactional system of record, so wide adoption and habitual use are integral to success.

While each CPQ project is unique, and sometimes these stages of the change process may overlap with each other, it is always important to keep them in mind as you execute your internal change management plan. Whether you are working with Microsoft Dynamics CPQ, Salesforce CPQ, or other CRM CPQ tools, user adoption and buy-in are essential to project success.

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