A great way to make your quote-to-order process faster and more effective is to combine two systems: customer relationship management (CRM) and configure, price, quote (CPQ) tools.
While both platforms are designed to boost sales effectiveness and productivity, the success of this solution depends on the quality of the CPQ/CRM integration. If they’re poorly integrated, salespeople won’t use them. But a good integration could dramatically improve your quote-to-order process, unlocking new sales productivity.
Here are three important considerations to keep in mind when you’re integrating CRM and CPQ:
1) Synchronize data to create a single source for opportunity management: Salespeople tend to be efficient and pragmatic, with low tolerance for administrative work that’s not moving them toward their sales goals. When you ask them to type information into a CRM, they usually see it as a waste of their time: It’s time they should be using to engage their customer base and build relationships.
That’s why your CPQ/CRM integration must be highly efficient, with a single location for managing sales opportunities. That means ensuring that you synchronize all activity from CPQ back into the CRM environment, and giving salespeople a seamless experience when working across the systems.
This seamless experience is key to user adoption. If salespeople are already struggling with CRM and you make the CPQ integration clunky and hard to use, you’re losing on both fronts. But if it’s easy for them to access CPQ tools from that CRM application and all of their activity is synced within the CRM environment, it encourages user adoption.
2) Automate approval workflow: This should be included in the first phase of your CPQ/CRM integration, because automating the approval process delivers a great productivity gain. CPQ allows you to set business rules that determine whether or not a quote meets your business needs. These rules facilitate automation of the workflow and approval process, greatly accelerating sales productivity.
Imagine a sales rep goes into your CRM system and uses CPQ to select a price and create a quotation. If that price falls within the limits of your business rules, there’s no need for additional approvals, so reps are able to get a quote to a customer in minutes.
3) Implement a change management process from the very beginning: Change is hard for everyone, and salespeople are pragmatic: They need to see the clear advantages of adopting the CRM/CPQ toolset. While there’s ample proof that sales reps perform much better when using these tools, you need to go out of your way to communicate those advantages and make it easy for them to use the new system.
Combining CPQ and CRM is a great way to speed up your quote-to-order process, but your ability to drive sales productivity depends on how well you integrate the two systems. By keeping these three considerations in mind, you make it easy for salespeople to adopt the new system, instead of resisting tools that would benefit them as individuals and within the larger organization.
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