CPQ Best Practices For A Winning Sales Process

Russ Chadinha

Every sales organization wants more wins by working smarter, not harder, to achieve them.

For a winning sales process, you need to efficiently succeed in three areas: configuration, pricing and quoting. This blog post looks at each of these elements and how to use configure, price, quote (CPQ) tools to increase sales productivity and effectiveness.

Configuration: The key to working smarter

For sales reps to be effective, they need to understand what they’re selling. But when you have a large product catalog, it’s often too difficult for reps to use so they stick to what they know.

CPQ tools provide a great way to help your sales organization to manage a large number of products by making it easier to select the right solution for a specific customer need. And while you’re using configuration to work smarter, there are a couple of additional tools that provide even more help:

* Guided selling: Training alone is typically not enough preparation for sales reps when it comes to configuring a comprehensive offer when you’re dealing with complex products or a large product portfolio. Guided selling tools are there to direct the rep to the right solution based on customer attributes. Guided selling walks the sales rep through a series of questions to gather those customer attributes and then recommends the best solution, quickly and accurately.

For example, let’s say your rep has a prospect who is looking for a managed hosted service. The guided selling system is able to walk the rep through the selection process based on a series of predetermined relevant questions about organization size, number of users, sophistication, business goals and performance needs, helping the rep quickly create the perfect offer with confidence it is accurate.

* Guided cross-sell and upsell: With these tools, reps are able to see all of the relevant products and services in your portfolio that are related to the base solution being proposed, allowing the rep to make customers aware of the broader offerings available. This benefits the customer because they don’t have to deal with multiple suppliers to get everything they need, and it’s a great way to increase the deal size, driving additional revenue.

Price optimization: The key to pricing that wins

Just like the configuration process helps reps quickly create a comprehensive solution for customers, CPQ solutions also integrate fact-based pricing guidance. The system automatically delivers a price that’s good for both the customer and your organization. And because the price is data-driven and defensible, it gives reps greater confidence in the negotiation process.

Pricing guidance also increases your organization’s efficiency in terms of the approval process. When you implement workflow automation based on business rules, it eliminates the need for time-consuming approvals and exception handling when the sales rep selects prices within the preapproved range.

And if a rep is setting lower prices that result in a margin position that’s below your goals, sales leaders need to understand why this is happening. While you’re using pricing guidance to improve sales productivity, here’s an additional way to drive even better performance:

* Data-driven coaching: When you have pricing guidance in place, you’re able to compare sales reps’ performance versus the guidance and provide timely feedback to help them win more business at a better price. Data-driven coaching is proven to help reps attain goals. The purpose isn’t to chastise reps when they fall short, but to help them become more effective and confident.

Quoting: The key to speed and professionalism

In CPQ tools, the quoting process is streamlined and automated so your sales reps can easily and consistently create professional looking proposals. Make sure the CPQ tool can be integrated with your CRM solution for seamless management of the entire engagement. If you don’t have a CRM system, no worries, as there are CPQ solutions that can operate without one.

In addition, your ability to quickly turn around professional quotes makes a positive impression on customers and prospects. With CPQ, your proposals consistently present the sales rep and your brand in a positive light that helps build a strong customer relationship.

In the end, a winning sales process can be aided by doing all three of these steps correctly. Fortunately, CPQ tools with integrated pricing guidance are a great way to get all three so your sales team is working smarter.

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