Making the decision to incorporate a configure, price, quote software setup into your business’s tech stack is no small undertaking, but one that must be done to stay competitive and flexible in the current market and beyond. Simply deciding that CPQ will be a benefit, though, is only one part of the process. From there, you’ll need to sort through the available options to find your best match, then actually go through the installation and deployment to get things up and running. If done well, this process can leave you and your business future-proofed, with the ability to adapt to market trends, increasingly complex product offerings, rep-less sales, and more.
Working with CPQ doesn’t have to be a stressful undertaking, though. If you can prime yourself as best as possible walking into the world of CPQ, you’ll have a far smoother ride throughout, and walk away with the strongest possible setup for both your buyers and administrators.
When it comes to actually selecting which CPQ to move forward with, there are quite a number of things to consider, from buyer personas to system constraints. While there is no silver bullet solution available, nearly any business can find a setup applicable to their unique offerings. The main blunders to avoid in this exploratory stage, as outlined in our 5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Selecting and Implementing CPQ blog, are:
- Overlooking Administrative Capabilities & Ongoing Maintenance
- Settling For a Subpar User Experience
- Not Considering Multi-Channel Revenue Streams
- Not Addressing the Inevitable Gaps
- Lifting & Shifting Legacy CPQ
Once these points have been worked through and your choice in software has been made, your focus can then turn to implementation and roll-out. Starting on a strong note is integral to the success of the overall shift.
So, to help you keep an even keel, we’ve compiled a list of best practices to keep your internal and external stability high along the way.
Generate Buy-In and Excitement
There’s nothing that can take the wind out of your sails like sharing a cheer-worthy new development with people who shrug, sigh, or roll their eyes in response. For many, it’s incredibly clear why moving to a CPQ-based experience benefits both business and buyer, and why it should be done as quickly as possible. But, there may be some who are less acquainted with the idea of CPQ itself, nervous about such a dramatic shift, or generally favorable to legacy systems. The best way to get ahead of such responses is to start generating teamwide buy-in and excitement for CPQ as early on as possible.
Dr. Kelly Otter, Dean of School of Continuing Studies at Georgetown University, and Dr. Joseph A. Griffin, PMP, Graduate Faculty, Northeastern University, wrote extensively on the relationship between stakeholder engagement and overall strategic success for Project Management Institute.
In their co-authored report, they note that change engagement “seeks to do more than merely gain acceptance to change; it seeks to engage stakeholders as change agents in an active, direct manner.”
When looking at those who would be considered a stakeholder in a CPQ implementation round, the term covers employees ranging from C-suite executives to individually contributing sales representatives, system administrators, business development representatives, data analytics and more.
To properly engage such a team, leading with a positive framing automatically sets the right tone. Highlighting all the lifts that will inevitably come from such a roll-out can help your team see the final vision and justify the underlying efforts.
And while data points and projections are great at generating buy-in, you’ll also want to be as honest and transparent as possible about the roll-out itself. The more information that can be provided without having to request it, the more confidence stakeholders will have in the planning and strategy supporting the move.
Even still, there will likely be concerns or callouts at the onset. One of the most common hesitations with new software implementation is the amount of time needed to make the shift.
In their own best practices guide, Simplus reminds us that “projects fail when teams are not adequately staffed with the necessary resources and the time to complete the activities required.”
There’s an easy prescription for such a worry: proper time management.
Reverse engineering a schedule to accommodate a desired launch, with considerations for as much time and support as needed, alleviate the concerns and allow key players to dive right on in, and trust the process.
Expect the Unexpected
Even the best laid plans and strategy are subject to external influence, and CPQ roll-outs are no exception. Rather than fear these moments, you can instead plan for them: expecting the unexpected, and leaving space for them.
It may sound vague in concept, but building open time into your implementation plan for unanticipated, pop-up occurrences is a must.
Simplus explains that CPQ software inherently contains “a level of complexity that can be hard for some companies to fathom until they are knee-deep in it…It is critical that the people involved in the project can alter business workflows to accommodate; otherwise, it will cause delays and impact project success.”
And, as the team works together to get through the hiccups and waves, expressing support and solidarity goes a long way. There is no way for anyone to coordinate a perfect roll-out, and acknowledging a learning curve for everybody involved can reduce the cumulative pressure.
In these moments, we can also find opportunities to celebrate successes and break-throughs, big and small. Truly celebrating the work that is put in to course-correct when needed returns agency back to the individuals, and keeps the overall operation chugging along smoothly.
Assess and Adapt
The moment in which you launch a CPQ deployment is an achievement in and of itself, but does not actually mark the end of the implementation and roll-out process. Just because the system is live and in action does not always mean the results will align with expectations. It is absolutely imperative that the team keep a close finger on the pulse of the system, ready and able to assess and adapt to what comes their way.
In the Dr.s’ report, they outline three main areas to consider when gathering feedback: efficiency, effectiveness, and impact.
Across these categories, both front- and back-end use cases can be considered. Are the sales teams becoming more efficient in their quoting process? Is the system pulling the right rules and restrictions into configuration? Are buyers responding to the updates, and finding more access to your catalog?
Taking the answers to those questions and comparing them back to the target goals for implementation can create a secondary path to troubleshoot, improve, or rework different parts of the system. And, through this all, remembering the words of Simplus – CPQ is a unique beast. But, one that can still be tamed.
Logik.io’s own Commerce Logic Engine can help you supercharge your CPQ offerings, and expand further into the world of eCommerce. To learn more about the ins and outs of our offerings, check out our Salesforce CPQ use cases or reach out to a member of our sales team for more information.