Whether you’re starting the process or planning to implement Salesforce CPQ technology, Cloudwerx’s Head of Revenue Cloud, Rui Fonseca and Prodly’s VP of Marketing Revenue Operations, Hayley Coxon recently collaborated on a joint webinar session for best practices and top tips for CPQ implementation. We’ve broken down the key takeaways from this info-packed session.
Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) sales software is a fast-growing digital transformation tool within the CRM/Salesforce landscape. Streamlining service and product configuration, quoting, purchasing, and sales approval processes across the board for businesses, CPQ saves time for both client and end user.
When starting the journey of CPQ implementation and migration into your new or existing Salesforce ecosystem, Rui and Hayley both agree that our ‘triangle of success’ (People, Process and Technology) should drive your project management style. From the beginning, the people in your team, and how they’re managed/deployed will determine the speed, timeframe, accuracy and overall success of the implementation project.
Choosing your team, skills division
Assess the existing structure and Salesforce environment. Depending on where the client is within its Salesforce lifecycle, and how mature their system is, understanding their level of knowledge will determine the team, skills and training you’ll need for the implementation of the CPQ platform.
Adoption and Change Management: Using ‘Super Users’
Adding ‘super users’ early to the process is useful for the implementation, transition and post-implementation phases. Having team members that are fluent with the platform to test functionality from the starting point to the roll-out phase can be a significant benefit to the overall success of the project.
Executive Sponsor: The Executive Sponsor is a key stakeholder that helps drive the project — this member of the project shares the vision and the core outcomes that the CPQ software will provide to the business. They also take an overarching role to ensure the project keeps moving on-time and within budget.
Sales Operations & Enablement: The Sales team is an integral part of the process for CPQ. These team members will ultimately be driving the project post-implementation so inclusion from the outset is imperative.
Product Experts: Key team members (SMEs) that have a great understanding of the overall business, its products, services and pricing structure.
IT: The technical team for the project, its build, and the ongoing maintenance of the platform.
End users for testing: The intended end user for the platform. These test users can be a set of everyday users mixed with ‘super users’ for pre and post-testing purposes.
TIP: Having an in-house certified or trained CPQ expert on the team to tap into is always a bonus.
You don’t need to be besties, but having aligned values is a good start when choosing a technology partner for CPQ implementation.
How to pick your implementation partner:
Capability: Choose a partner that has Salesforce Revenue Cloud credentials. Potentially a partner that has worked in similar industries, and has proven success stories that align with your business/project objectives.
Culture Fit: Picking a partner that has aligned values and similar working styles can be a plus for CPQ implementation. To paraphrase Rui, “you need to be speaking the same language to ensure a really good outcome”.
Adaptability: A partner that can be flexible to your business needs, technical experience level and internal capabilities is a must.
Depending on business goals and other requirements, a full CPQ implementation may take close to six months to complete in full. To get some quick wins on the board, Rui and Hayley suggest to plan out your implementation and prioritising your big pain points/MVP items to reap the rewards as you go. Then continue to expand — as the team becomes more confident with the platform, scale the intelligence, and add complexity to the process, and so on.
Mitigating Risk: Agile Release Path & Deploy Automation Process
Due to the size and input of the data that will feed into the CPQ system, one of the best practices that Hayley and Rui suggest is to adopt an Agile Development approach with Release Path and Deploy Automation processes. This style of implementation mitigates risk in terms of incorrect data inputs and errors occurring down the line, directly affecting the end user.
As the CPQ system is iterative, there are fundamental domains that need to be implemented in the correct succession before anything else. These are; Product Catalog, Configuration Rules and Constraints (Bundles) and Pricing Strategy. These fundamental domains of CPQ need to be introduced in this order before any other secondary domains to ensure project success.
Setting Up Core & Fundamental Domains: Tips & Best Practice
Once you’ve updated and implemented the core capabilities for CPQ, going ‘live’ is just the beginning. Due to the nature of the data and variability of the inputs (products, pricing, compliance), it’s imperative the system has a clear maintenance plan in the project pipeline to ensure the integrity of the information that it holds.
Keeping your CPQ data and process up-to-date to ensure product relevance, pricing accuracy and service integrity is one of the most important parts of the implementation. To achieve ongoing success with the new system, a ‘maintenance mode’ plan with your internal team or partner ensures your CPQ process will continue to deliver on its business objectives.
Another way to maintain the system’s integrity and mitigate risk long term is to add in Source Control as a crucial servicing step with your DevOps partner or internal IT team, this enables the system to be updated with new code or upgrades with consistency throughout the lifetime of the system.
Above all, the CPQ platform’s main purpose is to simplify and improve the sales and purchasing processes for both business and customer. This simple objective can be lost within the process of implementation due to the complex layers of data and software, but as we revisit the advice from Hayley and Rui, keep it as simple and effective as possible from the start, and expand when you can.