As technology has improved, there's been an explosion in what manufacturing businesses with the right tools can accomplish. One of the most vital tools in this equation, especially for businesses in the B2B space, is a proper CPQ solution. We'll go over why it's essential to implement a CPQ solution in your sales process. Then, we'll provide some guidance on finding the right solution and why not every CPQ will be effective for manufacturing businesses. Let's start at the beginning with the basics.
What Is a CPQ Solution?
A configure, price, quote (CPQ) solution is specialized software to help businesses match customers with the right products for their needs, apply applicable discounts, and deliver fast and accurate quotes. Let's break down each letter.
Configure: Especially in B2B sales (and certainly in manufacturing), customers tend to have very specific needs. Having a system that can configure your individual products, features, and options into the perfect solution for every customer is invaluable.
Price: B2B manufacturing usually deals with multiple orders, orders containing various products, or both. Offering bundle pricing, bulk discounts, and/or loyalty savings helps incentivize businesses to order more and use you for all their manufacturing. The right CPQ for manufacturing makes this quick and seamless.
Quote: As you'd imagine, providing a quote to a B2B customer for a bulk order of specifically configured products with several custom elements takes more work and calculation than your average standardized product quote. Manufacturing CPQ software can do it automatically with speed and accuracy.
Why the Right CPQ Solution is Crucial for Business Success
A successful business requires taking in more money than you put out. That's just business 101. However, what you may not know is that sales reps typically only spend around a third of their time actually selling. The other two-thirds is spent on administrative busywork.
Providing an accurate quote may sound easy. However, when you consider the amount of work and time that goes into it, you start to realize how complex it is and the odds of making a mistake.
Sales reps have to:
- Sift through massive spreadsheets to find pricing information.
- Factor in prices for all the individual products and features included in each configuration.
- Calculate the difference in cost for custom elements.
- Apply the applicable discounts.
- Talk to other departments to ensure the configuration is possible, available, legally sound, and priced correctly.
- Wait for approvals.
As you can imagine, this isn't the most lucrative use of time. If you're paying your sales team to mostly deal with spreadsheets, data entry, and proposals instead of making sales, you're losing money.
A CPQ system is automated, so the process is much faster and more streamlined, plus the quotes are much more accurate, and productivity is increased by nearly 50%.
Factors to Consider for Manufacturing CPQ Solutions
So, we've established what a CPQ is and why you need one. Now, the question is, how do you find the right one? Firstly, you'll want to make sure your CPQ is suitable for your manufacturing business. A CPQ solution meant for software will be tailored to the needs of non-physical products.
A manufacturing CPQ will be able to consider factors like inventory, materials, and shipping or integrate well with systems that do. CPQ tailored for software or other industries don't necessarily need any of those things. They will, however, need things you don't. So, it's important to make sure you don't assume all CPQs for manufacturing are equally helpful to every business.
Here are some other important factors to consider regarding a CPQ for manufacturing.
Complexity of Configurations
You want to find a CPQ solution capable of dealing with even your most complex configurations. Even if you only have basic configuration options right now, you want to be able to easily expand and scale in the future without needing to switch.
Ease of Implementation
Avoid any CPQ system that requires using a ton of custom coding to fit it to your needs. It should be rather simple to implement a CPQ solution and add your information without needing to alter a lot of code on the backend. Not only does it eat up time and money, but it can also eat up digital resources that lead to a loss of speed and performance.
Part of what makes a CPQ system so great is its positive effect on customer experience (CX). Customers spend less time going back and forth with sales reps and waiting for a quote to get what they want faster with less hassle.
However, if your CPQ solution doesn't have the high-performance tech needed to keep up fast speeds and a seamless process, your CX will suffer.
Ease of Integration
The ideal CPQ solution will easily integrate with other business systems and solutions. The more solutions you can easily and seamlessly integrate, the better it is for your business processes. Some integrations to look for include:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): An integrated CRM gives your sales team access to customer data to determine product recommendations, increasing conversions, and leading to fewer returns.
- Product Information Management (PIM): A PIM solution stores product information for easy access later.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): An integrated ERP brings everyone and everything together. Your information and integrations all connect at a single point giving every team company-wide access to the same accurate, up-to-date information, and communication options.
Ease of Maintenance
You want a powerful CPQ system that can handle intense complexity with ease. However, you also want it to be extremely simple to maintain without being resource-heavy. It is possible to have a simple and powerful system that doesn't overcomplicate things. Don't settle for less.
The last thing you need is to spend time setting up a different configuration solution for every channel because your first choice isn't cross-compatible. You want it to be universal and just as effective and intuitive when used by customers who prefer self-service as it is when used by your direct-selling team. This requires good UI and intuitive design, and a solution that can lend itself to any channel you sell your products.
How We Can Help
Think of Logik.io as the "C" of CPQ. Logik.io was designed by top veterans in the field with decades of experience. They designed Logik.io to easily handle complex configurations with simple implementation and easy maintenance. It's native to Salesforce, so it has powerful and simple tools baked right in. Plus, their integrations easily connect.
We've also partnered with Threekit to allow for added features and powerful visualizations to be at your fingertips. These three businesses are all made up of top experts in their respective fields that have each proven to be the best at what they do.
Check out Logik.io's configuration solution for Salesforce with Threekit-powered visuals to see what happens when the best come together to create amazing experiences.