More than 91% of companies (that have more than 11 employees) use customer relationship management (CRM) software. Many of those organizations plan on joining the growing number of companies in deploying a configure, price, quote (CPQ) solution. This blog shows how to get the most out of both applications and highlights the benefits of a CPQ CRM integration.
Related to CRM CPQ helps sales speed the sales cycle, reduce manual configuration and pricing errors, automate quotes, and convert more proposals to sales. Initially, CPQ was a standalone product that managed product specifications. Today, CPQ is no longer a standalone back office tool. It is an integral component of the sales, purchasing and customer experience processes.
CPQ and CRM: Better Together
What do these two seemingly diverse software solutions have in common and why is everyone on the CPQ/CRM integration bandwagon? To start, let’s take a quick look at the purpose of each of these tools.
CPQ solutions help companies quote complex and configurable products. In addition, they enable companies to appropriately apply discounts, promotions or lower prices.
CRM refers to the principles, practices, and guidelines that a company follows when interacting with customers. It encompasses the entire customer relationship, including sales and service-related processes, forecasting, and analysis of customer trends and behaviors.
At the center of these two solutions is sales! A repository of customer data, CRM is used throughout the customer lifecycle beginning with nurturing leads. Once the prospect reaches a certain threshold the lead is passed onto sales to complete the nurturing process and close the deal. As soon as sales picks up the lead, CPQ comes into play by speeding the configuration and pricing activities. It also ensures that the quote sent is error free.
Essentially, CPQ complements CRM. Individually they provide enormous benefits, but when combined they become a powerhouse for your sales and customer satisfaction initiatives.
If you’re ready to integrate your CPQ and CRM solutions, here’s a few considerations to keep in mind.
- Provide a seamless experience across systems: Data between your CRM and CPQ systems must be synchronized in order to provide sales with a single source of the truth.
- Automate approval workflows: Be sure to set business rules within your CPQ software system so that sales reps are instantly informed when the pricing and discounts entered are outside of your business guidelines. When they are, the quote should be immediately and automatically sent for internal approvals.
- Communicate: Adding another layer of technology to your sales reps already busy days can cause frustration. Be sure to inform your reps of the advantages they’ll gain by adopting a combined CPQ/CRM tool.
As a business, what can you expect from a CPQ CRM integration? Here are the top four benefits:
- Respond to customer requirements faster: With the ability to identify customer needs, sales reps are able to quickly identify a solution that will meet their requirements. By integrating CPQ and CRM your reps will be able to quickly and easily pull accurate customer data and requirements. This allows them to create and deliver quotes that contain the most suitable product configuration and pricing.
- Improve deal close rates and margins: The automation provided by a combined CPQ/CRM system allows sales reps to better meet customer needs through improved configuration and pricing. In addition, it reduces human error for more effective sales. This enables you to not only increase the number of deals closed but provide higher profit margins.
- Reduce cost of goods sold (COGS): When CPQ and CRM aren’t integrated, there might be lengthy and ongoing conversations between sales and fulfillment. Sales reps are able to simply check pricing and inventory, as well as monitor fulfillment from a single system. This enables you to reduce overhead cost and further increase profitability.
- Improve customer experience and win more deals: Customer demands have and continue to rise and there’s nothing worse than sending a quote to a prospect that’s inaccurate, incomplete or doesn’t meet their requirements. By speeding the delivery of accurate proposals, prospects are more likely to become customers. And, existing customers are more apt to stay loyal to your brand. Providing fast and accurate quotes can be the difference between making a sale and losing a to a competitor.
Why Integrate CPQ with Other IT Systems?
Consistent and accurate data flows require tight integration between a number of systems – namely CRM, CPQ and billing. To start, we’ll examine the interactions between CRM and CPQ. Looking at the process from an architectural perspective, CPQ resides in between your CRM and billing.
As product configurations become more complex and winning deals rely on accurate and competitive pricing, a seamless flow of data between these solutions is becoming increasingly essential.
Here are the four key benefits of integrating CPQ with billing:
- Break the barriers caused by siloes: As previously discussed, winning deals relies on your reps ability to quickly and accurately configure products and create competitive pricing. By integrating billing, pricing data seamlessly flows between the systems, simplifying the quoting and billing processes.
- Improve the quotation process: When billing is integrated, reps are able to develop quotes faster, accelerate the approval process, and provide the prospect with an accurate, company branded proposal. Using a product catalog, quote template, and automated workflow, the quotation process becomes seamless for faster quote generation.
- Enhance contact management: For easier and accurate contract management, you’ll be able to set customer specific pricing, define rules, as well as rate classes, and create account hierarchies for improved contract clarity. The valuable information provided allows you to schedule rate changes according to future contract terms. It also enables you to avoid missed deadlines and unfulfilled terms.
- Personalize the customer experience: To remain competitive you need to give customers what they want, and today it’s personalization. From unique product configurations through exclusive pricing bundles to promotions and discounts, customers expect you to know them and provide them with an exceptional experience. Regardless of the pricing model – subscription, usage-based, hybrid or dynamic – tight integration of your front- and back-office systems provides reps with seamless access to the critical data they need for a 360-degree view of the customer.
Integrating your CPQ, CRM and billing systems, alleviates a lot of the manual effort. Your reps will have a consistent view of all the information they need in one place.
Empower Your Reps to Close More Deals… Faster
Staying competitive means quickly delivering accurate quotes at the best possible price – while remaining profitable. Removing error prone and time consuming manual effort gives reps what they need. They can now deliver quotes that turn prospects into revenue generating customers.
Are your reps still juggling multiple systems, spreadsheets, emails, etc. just to create a quote? Regardless of the size of your business, integrating CPQ, CRM and billing is becoming a necessity. Our cloud-based CPQ software provides a unified quote-to-cash solution that gives you a single source of the truth – from the first entry in the CRM system through a variety of pricing and discount models to revenue recognition. With BillingPlatform you get an all-in-one solution that provides out-of-the-box integration to virtually any major core enterprise systems for an IT ecosystem that’s truly integrated. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your CPQ CRM integration.