Salesforce’s successful quote-to-cash automation solution is responsible for driving innovation and e-commerce for countless businesses. When you choose Salesforce CPQ, you can count on being able to close more deals and gain more visibility into sales performance and trends. Of course, implementing a quote-to-cash automation solution is not a walk in the park. It requires a commitment from all teams and divisions of a business, as well as a willingness to think critically and strategically to use your customized quote-to-cash solution to drive sales and profitability.
To successfully implement a quote-to-cash solution, it’s important to understand how Salesforce CPQ is going to be built and optimized to drive your long-term sales growth. Along the way, you and every department of your business must be prepared to provide input, design parameters, and specifications at the appropriate times during the development process. Thus, it’s important to know when –-and when–it’s too late to provide feedback to your Salesforce implementation consultant, so you’re maximizing your consultant’s time and ultimately receiving a final product that meets all of your business’s long-term sales needs.
Salesforce CPQ uses a distinct, four-step implementation process to deliver powerful quote-to-cash sales automation and insights to any business:
- Planning step: During the planning stage, Salesforce CPQ fleshes out all of the client’s expectations for this project, and ensures they’re in alignment with the implementation team’s expectations. The implementation team facilitates conversations and strategy sessions with all of your subject-matter experts across all functional areas. The goal is to build a clear picture of your dynamic product packages, marketing initiatives, and multivariable pricing structures. This is typically the first opportunity for your various divisions and teams to come together and unify around a common vision. Then, your vision is translated into Salesforce CPQ terms – in other words, the project’s specifications are normalized to Salesforce’s quote-to-cash algorithms, and boundaries are established. Then, the team returns to you armed with specific information about timing, expectations, and scope of work, and makes sure everyone understands and buys into this vision.
- Orientation/build step: During the orientation/build stage, the implementation team starts materializing the hard rules and hard bundle structures that make up the system. Using agile scrum methodology – a popular software development framework – the team builds and rapidly deploys the first proof of concept. This proof of concept incorporates all of a business’s sales bundles and pricing structures into the Salesforce CPQ system. Then, the magic starts to happen: The client reacts to this first iteration and validates that the team is on the right track. Salesforce CPQ developers, in turn, feed on this energy and excitement to power through subsequent sprints, which become progressively easier. Because the team is designing a customized solution, the implantation team is trained to push the client to offer specific feedback and critiques. Using the customer enablement philosophy, the team physically hands over the administrative controls to the folks who will ultimately use these tools, so that the end users can talk through how they’ll use the system and optimize it to meet their sales-related needs.
- Testing step: During the testing phase, the client has the opportunity to test the various features and tools of the customized Salesforce CPQ solution. The client is encouraged to document their own use cases and test scripts to make sure the system is fully functional for every possible scenario and division. This also is the phase where the team works proactively with the client to fine-tune the system as it’s being scaled to size.
- Production step: During the production stage, the client signs off on the final iteration of the quote-to-cash solution. The environment is locked down and the code is frozen, allowing the team to migrate to production. The final delivery is the most gratifying and rewarding step – for both the implementation team and the client!
When you invest in Salesforce CPQ, every employee in an organization will be able to easily generate, look up, and manage pricing across a dynamic spectrum of variables. You can provide your customers with the best and most reliable price quotes and ultimately compete more effectively in a technology–and data-driven marketplace. Just remember that the upfront investment you must make is critically important. You need to engage with your consultant throughout the planning, orientation/build, testing and production steps of implementation.