Implementing a radically new business idea – such as adopting CPQ (Configure Price Quote) software for your firm – can be a painful process. If you can’t get everyone to understand why the innovative technology is important to streamline your quoting procedures and dedicate time to getting the CPQ project up-and-running, then you’re already starting on the back foot. Sure, the executive arm of your business will undoubtedly see how it will assist the company in preparing faster quotes, winning more deals, and making more and lasting profit, However, getting wide support and user adoption within your Sales Team can be tricky, but it is key. That’s why we have put together this article on ‘How to Get Sales Buy-In for Your CPQ Software?’
At Pricefx and Canidium, helping companies implement CPQ solutions is a huge part of what we do. We have helped many companies develop buy-in across their organizations. During that process, we have learned that securing decision-making stakeholder buy-in is critical. However, Sales Team buy-in is most likely to be the glue that will bind together the necessary determination to get it done and have your pricing strategy working for your business ASAP.
In this article, we will look at getting your sales team on board with your CPQ software technology implementation project ASAP by examining the diverse ways in which the technology can be simultaneously used to both benefit your company’s business objectives and make their working lives easier and more enjoyable.
3 Positive Things CPQ Software Does for Your Sales Team
As customer buying habits continue to evolve in a business world moving faster than ever before, there is an impending need for companies to always scale faster through the uptake of efficient tools. CPQ software enables sales teams to personalize the customer experience and turn around quotes at previously unseen speed.
Business buyers are becoming more demanding than before and have an expectation that will happen. 79% of business buyers want the sales reps they interact with to be tech-savvy consultants and not old-style sales pros selling door-to-door and working the living room like Jerry Maguire. And these days, your salespeople dislike back-and-forth banter with their clients as much as your customers do. In that modern business landscape, let’s take a walk through the 3 Positive Things CPQ Software Does for Your Sales Team, and Why They Should Care.
1. Decreasing Time to Quote
Sales teams often struggle with theconfiguration of quotes when dealing with complex products or services with thousands of components or large product catalogs. Using manual processes, multiple spreadsheets, or referencing multiple systems can result in even the most highly skilled and attentive human being making mistakes, errors, inaccuracies, and wasting time. And manual processes like these take sales reps away from their most important activity and what they are best at: selling.
CPQ Software enables better business efficiency and potential to win more deals by expediting one of the most time-consuming manual processes in sales, quote generation. Traditionally, sales reps would refer to a pricing guide to search the required items for a multi-million-dollar machine with potentially tens of thousands of components and build a spreadsheet with the product configuration and pricing. Yes, you’re right, it could take weeks and create a sales pipeline bottleneck – the last thing you want in a sales environment already heaving under the current supply chain pressures.
Remember, the fastest quote to the customer often wins the deal.
2. CPQ Software = Smarter Quotes Made Faster and More Flexible
Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than an uninformed salesperson. However, in many organizations, salespeople often function as gatekeepers to the behind-the-scenes experts who have been required in days gone by to configure a quote for the end customer.
Imagine that a customer chats with a sales rep from one company and is constantly told, “Let me talk to the experts about this and get back to you.” All those people interacting to create a quote leaves a lot of room for mistakes, and fixing mistakes costs time. Financial mistakes erode margins and may allow that one “slip through” result in a lost deal.
Then, the same customer contacts a rep from another company who says, “Let me ask you some quick questions, so I can get you a quote in a few minutes.” Which sales rep do you think is most likely to win that customer’s loyalty along with the deal?
Sales reps who are transformed into experts in what they are selling by CPQ software not only win more deals and more repeat business; they also usually command higher margins. A CPQ software solution enables your reps to deliver accurate quotes every time.
CPQ software can transform reps from bottleneck obstacles to jump into instant experts by building intuitive workflows, key question and answers, rules, templates, and automation. And what salesperson does not want to be seen as an industry expert by their prospects, right?
If you do have CPQ Software user adoption issues within your Sales Team, showing them positive ways that they can use the technology like this to make their working lives easier will be a win-win; both for your company’s bottom–line and having a happier and more mentally-refreshed Sales Team Members coming back to work tomorrow.
3. Leverage Up-sell & Cross-Sell Opportunities with CPQ Software
Many of your customers who have committed to a sale will expect their salesperson to offer additional guidance for the purchase. This is an opportunity for your business. Next-generation salespeople (who we have already established are now your industry subject matter experts) can take advantage of this with CPQ and consequently, in real-time, up-sell and cross-sell. By making it easier for your Sales Team to make the right product or service recommendations, your company can confidently offer more complementary and customer-specific products, meaning you can close bigger deals and increase margins.
CPQ Software Sales Team User Adoption: 3 Ways to Show Your Team You Care
So, you’ve already gone a long way to winning the trust of your Sales Team by communicating that CPQ software will empower them to become speedier and more accurate quoters, subject matter experts and earning more commissions by leveraging more upsell and cross-sell opportunities. If any lingering doubts remain, finally win them over by including them in as many stages as possible in the design and implementation process for your company’s CPQ solution.
After all, no one knows your sales processes and what does and does not work like your Sales Team themselves.
Be sure that your salespeople feel empowered to speak as openly and honestly as they can while;
Involving your Sales Team while you’re doing your CPQ software implementation or running User Acceptance Testing (UAT). It’s critical to know your salespeople’s viewpoint of how the software looks, feels, and runs while still in demo mode. Use your team to help iron out any kinks in the software before you go live. It will be easier than trying to fix it later.
Getting the input of your salespeople that ARE NOT technology experts – As great and as important as your IT team are in implementing new technology, make sure that the technology makes sense and is user-friendly for all. Make it a point of involving some of your best salespeople who are not technology wizards in setting up your CPQ solution, run realistic demo scenarios like reducing a 15% across the board discount back to 10% and show them how their quotes will be faster to produce and look better and more professional for your clients.
Relating everything that CPQ Software can do back to your salespeople’s everyday tasks – Having your IT/Implementation Team sit in with your sales reps as they go through a regular working day can be a critical and invaluable experience. Not only will it assist in the Implementation Team setting up a CPQ software system that your sales reps will want to use, but any remaining resistance barriers to the technology’s adoption should be broken down by requesting further input from your salespeople into the CPQ implementation and testing process.
What Else Can Prevent Your Sales Team from Adopting CPQ?
If you have followed the steps above, you should be well on your way to winning the support of your salespeople in trusting and adopting your new CPQ software solution. In the unlikely event there is still some resistance from your Sales Team, it may be because;
‘The software has too many steps in the quoting procedure’– If your sales team find they must navigate through a multitude of screens and pages to generate a quote using your CPQ software, they may develop resistance and go back to their old quote generation method in Excel. This can usually be avoided by including your salespeople in the demo testing as mentioned above.
‘The workflow approvals are too laborious and complicated’ – Make sure the quote approvals process goes to the person at the appropriate level. If the quote approvals are going through to your VP of Sales or another C-Level or Executive Level manager, they may not have time to check their emails to enable fast approvals. Make sure the right person is approving quotes at the right level.
The CPQ Software is not adopted throughout the company – Once you have made the switch to CPQ Software, try to maintain and keep it that way throughout the company. If someone is still using your old Excel quote system, it may encourage others to revert to the old ways too. Everyday users rather than your ‘supposed change management experts’ will always drive CPQ software user adoption the fastest.
Great – I’ve Got the Sales Team On-Board – But Where Can I Get Help to Get CPQ Implemented?
So, it all sounds clear about how to get the support of your Sales Team but you’re still not sure your company has the resources or necessary expertise to put a CPQ software solution in place? A pricing software partner does these tasks 24/7/365 – it is quite simply what they do.
Every pricing software partner will give you different perspectives on different elements of your pricing and many pricing software users engage multiple strategic and implementation partners. They each supply a different skill set and bring their knowledge to bear to point your business in the right direction. In the case of CPQ software, you might want to consider a specialist partner in CPQ that can assist by designing, implementing, and managing the system (or at least to get you started).
If you are a company looking for CPQ software with a strong partnership focus across a range of industries and specialty areas of expertise, then you will want to learn more about the Pricefx Advantage Partner Network and one of the specialty CPQ-orientated partners, Canidium.
On the flip side, this article might have brought to light for you that CPQ software and pricing software are not the same thing. Learn more about the difference between the two in this handy article (click below);
Go-To-Market lead for the SAP CPQ and Pricefx practices ,
Bill Thane spent over thirty years as a sales and sales executive experiencing the pain and frustration of creating complex quotes with inferior tools. He has also served as a pre-sales consultant for a CPQ vendor as well as a CPQ implementation senior consultant. Bill has been involved in all phases of the sales and delivery process for both CRM and CPQ. At Canidium he is the Go-To-Market lead for the SAP CPQ and Pricefx practices. Canidium is a highly respected Gold PE Sell partner of SAP for CPQ, Agent Performance Management Enterprise and Commissions as well as an Pricefx implementation partner. Bill and his wife Maria reside in Tampa, Florida.