14 Aug Using Oracle CPQ to make channel sales easier
by John Pora
When your product offering is complex, it’s difficult enough for your internal sales people to keep all of the possible product configurations and pricing rules straight. Oracle CPQ is great for that, especially because your salespeople can use guided selling to ensure 100% pricing and configuration accuracy.
The difficulty definitely ramps up when you add channel partners into the sales mix. Channel partners increase sales by expanding your reach into markets or distribution channels that you can’t support yourself. The challenge arises when your product offering is highly configurable; any additional complexity increases the risk that you’ll have errors in your order. Errors mean returns and unhappy customers, which hurts whether it’s a direct or channel sale.
Oracle knew that channel partners would be an important avenue for revenue, which is why Oracle CPQ can be utilized by channel partners to configure products accurately, calculate the correct pricing every time, and deliver cobranded quotes to win deals.
Correct product configurations
Channel partners are exactly that: partners outside of the organization that sell your products. Think of communication inside your organization: it’s probably good, but not perfect. Sometimes, updates to SKUs or product rules might not be communicated perfectly to everyone. Sometimes, that communication is sent, but tools aren’t updated properly based on the new information. That happens inside an organization. Add external parties to that problem, and you can see how the communication gap can be much worse.
Oracle CPQ removes the need to try to wrangle multiple sources of truth. An admin can update the product rules, configurations, or SKUs, and it will be correct for everyone, channel partners included. That’s much less work for an admin to perform while ensuring 100% up-to-date product information every time.
Pricing is another avenue that can be a major stumbling block for channel partners. Often, there are pricing rules based on budgets, industries, or any other number of things that can affect the pricing delivered to a potential customer. That complexity can sometimes be difficult to manage. Add that to a complicated product offering, and that’s a lot of balls in the air. Incorrect pricing can lead to deals that are accidentally sold below pricing thresholds, often referred to as being “underwater,” meaning that the deal actually lost money rather than earned it. That can be catastrophic.
Again, that’s where Oracle CPQ comes in, to be the single source of pricing truth. The dollar amounts aren’t pulled in by a human off of a spreadsheet or email: they’re updated centrally and referenced when quotes are pulled together. An underwater deal can’t be sold because the system would never allow it. That protects your company as much as it does the channel partner.
Deliver cobranded quotes
Nothing makes your marketing or creative team’s hair curl more than when your brand is poorly represented. They’re the stewards for your brand, and they don’t ever want to see it shown in a bad light. That can mean a loss of credibility and come off as unprofessional, which leads to concern about your ability to deliver world-class products.
Design is now the differentiator in products, rather than production. You or your channel partner can take the time to send every quote through your marketing team, but that means a delay in the quoting process. Or you can send those quotes using Oracle CPQ, which can create cobranded quotes in seconds after you’ve configured the product offering. Your quotes will come out perfectly and professionally every time and won’t be delayed to wait for someone else to win the deal instead of you.
Channel partners are a great way to increase your sales, and they appreciate working with vendors that make it easy to sell their products. Oracle CPQ is the definition of easy for a channel partner. Product configurations and pricing are always correct, and the quote that is delivered represents both the channel partner and vendor professionally. A true partnership is one that benefits both parties, and Oracle CPQ makes that happen.
John is the VP of Oracle Professional Services here at Simplus. He’s an accomplished business leader with more than 20 years of experience in developing and maintaining rigorous deployment and customer service practices for high-growth enterprise software companies.
If your business is ready to explore CPQ cloud technology, get in touch!