Imagine you’re a sales leader at an organization providing configurable products in the B2B space.
You’ve reviewed the research and talked with experts about configure, price, quote (CPQ) tools. You know companies that employ CPQ solutions enjoy a 49 percent increase in sales rep productivity, 27 percent shorter sales cycles and 19 percent higher lead-conversion rate. By switching to CPQ solutions, you’re realistic in expecting that 26 percent more of your reps are going to achieve quota.
In other words, you’re feeling confident that adopting CPQ tools would enable your sales organization to improve sales productivity and effectiveness. So far, so good. Now, the question is: How do you convince the CFO and the rest of the executive team? The CFO is always going to be cautious when presented with new technology investments. To be successful, sales leaders need to make a strong business case.
Here are five tips to help sales leaders sell CPQ to the C-suite:
1) You have to be ready to take on more quota: When you propose moving to CPQ, taking the angle that the current number is only achievable with this investment typically isn’t convincing. You have to be ready to bring in more revenue, which means taking on more quota due to the improved sales effectiveness.
2) Tie your story in with other key initiatives: In a sense, the story you’re telling is fairly straightforward: You want to bring CPQ into the sales organization to make it more effective. But you’re going to need to give it more juice to make the story interesting and grab the attention of your C-suite audience. To give you better chances for success, make that story more meaningful for them by aligning it with other important corporate investment or strategic initiatives.
3) Focus on improving the big picture: When presenting to the C-suite, focus your case on how the technology investment will help the big picture, such as increasing shareholder value or making the organization easier to manage. Avoid getting caught up in the minutia. The executives need to know how it helps them.
4) Align others in your organization around CPQ: Before you make your case to the C-suite, take the time to align your project with leaders in IT, the sales team, sales operations, and so on. This approach is called “laddering.” You want the C-suite to get the thumbs up from these people when they do their own checking.
5) Offer a believable, compelling timeframe: The timeframe for the business case must be believable or acceptable, but it also must be compelling. If you’re proposing a three-year plan, that’s too long. Your proposal is going to be compared against other investments that the C-suite is considering, so it needs to be compelling in the right timeframe, and at the right level.
If you’re confident that adopting CPQ tools is going to improve sales productivity and effectiveness, follow these five tips to create a strong business case that leaves C-suite executives equally confident in the investment’s success.