Digital transformation involves sweeping, wholesale changes to how work gets done across an organization. When you embark on a digital transformation journey, your goal is to automate and streamline commonly used workflows to improve profitability and enhance the customer experience, as we discussed in our previous blog post. A key part of this transformation journey is a complete reinvention of how your organization manages its quoting and pricing during the sales cycle. Many organizations struggle to produce accurate, complete, optimized pricing; they use outdated quoting and ordering systems that require manual entry and generate pricing on a case-by-case basis. Consequently, sales teams introduce human error and inefficiency into pricing and quoting functions that hamper and delay the sales cycle.
The future of quoting and pricing is cloud-based Configure-Price-Quote technology. CPQ platforms automatically generate optimized, error-free pricing, even when pricing involves complex discounting, subscriptions, pre-negotiated contract terms, and channel and partner pricing rules. When businesses upgrade to a cloud-based CPQ platform, they almost instantly are able to attract, sell to, and serve customers more effectively—the benchmarks of successful digital transformation. Gartner expects that the CPQ market will experience a 20% annual growth rate through 2020, with the majority coming from cloud-based solutions like Salesforce CPQ. Salesforce CPQ offers contextualizing insights about sales and customers, and can be readily integrated with Salesforce’s signature Customer Relationship Management platform. In this post, we will explore the key reasons why Salesforce CPQ is so integral to enhancing the customer experience and driving profitability during digital transformation:
1. Pricing needs to originate from a single, centralized system of record
As businesses sell across multiple channels—from contact centers to partner resellers to websites and mobile apps—they often struggle to keep pricing information current and consistent across all channels. Even if businesses have a reliable system in place for updating all of these pricing databases manually, they still need to invest time to make sure pricing information stays consistent across all channels, and updated all the way down to the system-of-record level. Salesforce CPQ provides a single, centralized system of record that supports all of your sales channels. Every pricing quote, as well as every request to approve a quote, is fed through this system. This centralization ensures accuracy and consistency. Even if you intentionally use a distributed pricing strategy across your sales channels, you’ll still benefit from being able to manage all of these pricing databases from a single, unified platform.
2. You need to be able to react quickly to changing market conditions
When market conditions change, businesses typically scramble to make corresponding changes to pricing. These changes must be perpetuated across all sales channels, all points of sale, and all sales teams and sales partners. As the internet creates ever-fiercer competition and shrinks the length of the sales cycle, businesses need to be able to make strategic pricing decisions at lightning speed. Salesforce CPQ is designed specifically to enable you to make real-time course corrections in your pricing strategy, ensuring you can respond to changing market conditions without delays and inconsistencies.
3. Special pricing requests need to be automated
Businesses waste far too much time reviewing and approving pricing requests. These one-off requests suck up valuable time from supervisors and managers who should be spending their time improving the customer experience. Salesforce CPQ uses machine learning and predictive analytics to approve special pricing requests automatically. You can set rules that prevent unintended, rogue approvals, and use roles-based access to restrict any particular individual’s ability to get around intended CPQ safeguards and controls.
4. Dynamic pricing strategies are becoming increasingly essential
When market conditions change, businesses typically take a reactive approach to pricing adjustments. That’s because they haven’t implemented dynamic pricing. With dynamic pricing—an optional feature in Salesforce CPQ—items are automatically and optimally priced, based on specific sales trends and which specific customers are buying from you. You want to use dynamic pricing to create pricing offers that optimally appeal to the preferences, sensibilities, and buying habits of specific customers. CPQ customers benefit from increased deal sizes, fewer barriers to closing deals, and the highest possible profit margins.
5. You need intelligent cross-sell and upsell strategies
Cross-sell and upsell strategies have traditionally been more an art than a science; the best salespeople have relied on an intuitive, instinctive understanding of how to read customers, and how to present offers in ways that resonate with their buyers. Salesforce CPQ turns this paradigm on its head by using artificial intelligence to automatically generate cross-sell and upsell suggestions for your sales teams. Unlike your best salespeople, CPQ relies on copious sales data and contextual intelligence to drive your cross-sell and upsell strategies, ensuring you achieve greater consistency and maximum sales success across individual salespeople.
6. Your omnichannel sales strategy must be readily scalable
Businesses have traditionally relied on a few key sales channels to drive the majority of sales. But in an increasingly competitive and fast-changing marketplace, you cannot just focus on channels such as contact centers and self-service web and mobile options. You need a true omnichannel sales strategy that is channel-agnostic and responsive to changes in your customers’ device usage habits and preferences. The only way to achieve this omnichannel responsiveness is with a fully scalable solution like Salesforce CPQ. CPQ is just as effective at managing traditional contact center sales as it is field sales, direct and indirect partner sales, and sales originating from IoT (Internet of Things) devices.
Cloud-based CPQ solutions have pushed the sales cycle into an entirely new era, one driven by intelligence and predictive capabilities that can maximize profitability and make possible significant improvements to the customer experience. In this new world order, businesses are recognizing that pricing needs to originate from a single system of record, that they must react quickly to changing market conditions, that special pricing requests need to be automated, and that dynamic pricing strategies are becoming increasingly essential. Furthermore, businesses are recognizing the value of intelligent cross-sell and upsell strategies and an omnichannel sales strategy that is readily scalable.
In the next blog post in our 10-part series on digital transformation, we’ll explore strategies for convincing your CFO and your entire C-suite to sign off on upgrading to a cloud-based CPQ solution.