Configure Price Quote (CPQ) tools are positioned to help you focus on what you are really selling.
Configure Price Quote (CPQ) tools help you focus on what you are really selling. With products and services that are highly configurable, or even engineered to order, it does happen that businesses lose sight of their core product or service and their primary objective. In a fast paced market it’s easy to chase demand and try be everything to everyone however, your business has grown to success by solving a core business or customer problem. CPQ systems with intelligent constraint rules helps all levels of your company stay focused.
Imagine the assembly line at a successful auto manufacturing plant. The line rolls by, and assorted models of automobiles pass through the various stations receiving seats, dashboards, windows, engines and other components.
You will see an almost astonishing amount of variability on the same line. Not only are different trim levels accommodated on one assembly line, so are different models. The entire process, the personnel and the plant itself are a tribute to timing and synchronisation.
However, in the case of most automobile assembly operations, there is one commonality; everything on that assembly line is indeed, an automobile. Highly variable? Yes. However, they are all automobiles.
Product configurators at the sales end of the process select high level choices such as sedans, coupes, convertibles or SUVs. Further into the process, the configurators spec out engines, trim levels and option packages. The selection menus in the product configurator don’t offer choices like “hull type” or “neck size”. All of the available choices are related to parts in an automobile.
It’s not so much that the processes involved couldn’t handle the variability; indeed, we are rapidly approaching a point where technologically this would be possible. The limiter is not capability, it is by intent. The company is an automobile manufacturer.
It would never occur to any of them or any of the managers or workers in the plant itself to deviate from that decision.
Why impose limits to your sales team with a product configurator?
Strategic teams pour over data and market research to make informed business decisions and set objectives for their companies. For some reason, these hard decision begin to lose effect within the selling process. Marketing puts together messaging and content to support the sale of the product. However sales, at times left out of this decision-making process, will go its own way and sell the product as they understand it.
Practically speaking, all sales reps can’t be present in those formative discussions, so the product limitation understanding has to be conveyed to them in another manner. Just as sales can’t be present in every pricing or financial decision making meeting. Rules and constraints around discounts and flexible pricing can also be built into product configurators. These rules actually give sales the freedom to confidently and clearly represent your business all awhile meeting customer needs.
This is where CPQ tools bring together product and sales in a very meaningful way.