Often it’s not enough to select a product or SKU from the catalog. Sometimes, you must enter specific information to produce a particular version or configuration of your products. Take, for example, an Apple MacBook Pro. For many people, the base configuration will work well for their needs, but in film production, software development, or applied science, your workforce might benefit from having more storage or a faster processor. Salesforce CPQ can create robust, nested configurations that allow your users to select the specific attributes, features, or options of your product.
Features and options
A feature on a product bundle is a way of specifying the different aspects of a product bundle. Going off our earlier Apple MacBook Pro example, your features might be processor, memory, graphics, storage, and software. Each of these categories would offer nested configuration options that change the configuration of the core machine. Each option is a product from your product catalog, so you can efficiently structure parent-child relationships between bundles and child products.
As an example, you might want to have good, better, and best processor options that offer increasing speeds as an upsell option to the base configuration to increase margins. Advanced users in the industries mentioned above, a 2.9Ghz processor which is far faster than the base 2.2Ghz processor option would result in a $400 increase and a corresponding increase in margin. We can also limit, at the feature level, the user to being able only to select one processor. Having more than one processor on the computer would result in an invalid configuration.
You also might want to pair add-ons to the core product to expand the deal size. With the software feature, you may wish to have multiple add-on products, including collaboration software, film production software, and financial software. There isn’t a limit on the amount of software you can install other than the size of the hard drive so we can allow multiple selections in this feature.
Regardless of the use case, we can easily allow you to craft specific features and options to meet the needs of your product configurations.
In addition to features and options, if you don’t have a product SKU to map to a specific product characteristic, you can store data about your product offerings in a field called a product attribute. Product attributes could function similar to options to communicate accurate pricing, fulfillment, or manufacturing information. Product attributes can also be used to trigger rules to run on features and options as well as in formulas that set the qualities for your options. Attributes can be scoped to the entire bundle, a specific feature, or targeted to a particular choice. This allows you the flexibility in how the business logic can be applied to your configurations!
Rules, nesting, and backend integration
Finally, once your products are structured according to how they’re configured, marketed, and sold, you can put in different recommendation or selection rules, guard rails in the form of constraints or validations, and formulas to set specific quantities based on configuration, quote, or deal context.
In addition, you can create multiple layers of nesting if your products require it. This allows your team to develop sub-configurations or different layers depending on the type of product that is being sold. These layers, in turn, can allow for more direct integration to your back office manufacturing, provisioning, and financial systems.
Check back soon for the next installment in this series: attribute-based configuration! And reach out to Simplus today for expert support with your CPQ.