Using CPQ software to accelerate the sales process
According to Forbes Advisor, customer service is the number one factor impacting customer loyalty, even above pricing. And in a time where customer expectations and service standards are increasing, their IT needs are only becoming more unique and complex. This can put sales teams in a bind, especially those still relying on bulky, outdated pricing spreadsheets and high-touch sales approval workflows. These days, your customers demand better.
Configure, Price, Quote software, or CPQ, changes how businesses sell by accomplishing previously manual and tedious tasks in a fraction of the time through automation. In fact, the simple adoption of quote and proposal templates has been reported to save sales reps up to two hours per quote. If CPQ software is one of the best investments MSPs can make to improve their sales operations and accelerate the quote-to-cash process, you can’t afford to opt out.
Let’s dive into the features and many benefits of CPQ software for MSPs looking to boost productivity and increase sales velocity, all while delivering an improved customer experience.
The fundamentals of CPQ
CPQ software is a solution that optimizes the configuration, pricing, and quoting processes through the standardization and automation of common administrative sales tasks and workflows. Features like custom templates, real-time pricing integrations, and online quote delivery can save your sales team hundreds of hours while delivering more personalized, custom quotes and proposals in a fraction of the time.
Best-in-class CPQ offerings combine this standard functionality with automated workflows that help expedite the sales process, from triggering sales notifications when a prospect interacts with a quote to online quote delivery with e-signature.
For example, research shows that companies using CPQ software freed up 65% of sales team members’ time by allowing instant access to vendor inventories. And time savings equals cost savings. By integrating CPQ into their tech stack, MSPs can more effectively manage pricing and service offerings, increase the speed and accuracy of quotes, and strengthen customer relationships.
How CPQ works
Here's a breakdown of the three main components of CPQ software:
- Configuration: CPQ software allows sales reps to define and customize product options, features, and services based on specific customer needs. In an MSP’s application, sales reps might use CPQ software to define service parameters such as bandwidth, storage, or security features. Quick and accurate quote configuration results in faster delivery times and happier customers.
- Pricing: When it comes to pricing, CPQ's strength is its ability to calculate costs accurately based on your configurations. CPQ software provides reps with centralized visibility into real-time pricing across distributors and vendors, making sure they can compare vendors side-by-side to find the best deal and most competitive pricing. Cloud-based pricing helps ensure information is up-to-date and can be accessed from anywhere, a must-have for remote teams.
- Quoting: Let’s face it—spreadsheets were not designed for quoting, and there are actually many hidden costs of quoting with spreadsheets. CPQ eliminates the need for manual and time-intensive data entry and reduces the risk of errors associated with improper version control or outdated pricing information. In addition, automated quote delivery and interactive quote functionality deliver a more personalized quoting experience in less time.
Tailoring each stage of the CPQ process makes your sales more efficient and customer-centric. By automating these critical areas, CPQ speeds up your response to market and customer needs and drives improved sales results.
Benefits of CPQ for MSPs
Statistics indicate the CPQ market is set to expand significantly, reaching a size of $7.3 billion by 2030 and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4% between 2022 and 2030.
By streamlining and simplifying time-consuming sales processes, CPQ software has become an indispensable solution for businesses looking to stay competitive and responsive to rising customer expectations. Here are just some of the benefits of CPQ for MSPs:
When sales reps engage with customers, their time is divided into two areas: the valuable time spent in genuinely addressing customer concerns and demonstrating solutions, and time spent on mundane and repetitive administrative tasks. CPQ software is designed to cut down the time your team spends on routine admin work by:
- Reducing wasted time involved with tedious data entry and manual quoting.
- Improving quote accuracy through real-time pricing visibility and third-party integrations.
- Automating workflows for expedited manager approval and quote delivery.
- Centralizing pricing and quoting into a single, cloud-based platform.
CPQ can play an even more significant role in streamlining sales operations when integrated with other software solutions, such as PSA software. For more information about the benefits of maximizing the value of CPQ, download our eBook, The Unparalleled Integration: ConnectWise PSA & ConnectWise CPQ.
Humans are bound to make mistakes, but even the smallest quoting discrepancy can cost you revenue—or worse—a customer. Introducing automation into the quoting process helps minimize errors, while advanced features like guided selling help proactively flag relevant products to match the customer’s needs.
CPQ software helps further improve quoting accuracy when integrated with your CRM or PSA solutions. For example, reps can tie quotes from your CPQ to real forecast data in your CRM or send proposal details from your CPQ directly to your PSA software for streamlined order fulfillment and invoicing. With enhanced visibility into your business operations, you can better enable your sales team.
Improved customer experience
At the end of the day, customers want speed, accuracy, and convenience. CPQ software provides customers with a faster, more accurate and personalized quote, while the convenience of online quote delivery and e-signature make it easy to approve from anywhere, with just a few clicks.
CPQ software also offers more customization, with features like interactive quote delivery which allows customers to update order quantities without taking up valuable sales rep time. Sales can also configure automated renewal reminders to ensure customers are not left hanging in between contracts.
How MSPs can integrate CPQ
Integrating CPQ software into your MSP systems can revolutionize your quoting process and streamline your operations. Here's a step-by-step guide to get you started:
- Assess your needs and goals: Begin by evaluating your current quoting process and identifying areas for improvement. Consider factors like quote accuracy, speed, and the overall customer experience.
- Choose the right CPQ solution: Evaluate various CPQ solutions to find one that aligns with your specific needs and budget. Consider factors like scalability, ease of use, and integration capabilities. Note that some solutions, like ConnectWise CPQ, are specifically designed to meet the needs of MSPs.
- Data migration and cleansing: Prepare your product and pricing data for import into the CPQ system. Ensure data accuracy and consistency to avoid errors and inconsistencies in quotes.
- Integration with MSP systems: Integrate the CPQ system with your existing MSP platforms, such as business intelligence dashboards. This integration enables seamless data exchange and automation of workflows.
- Training and adoption: Provide comprehensive training on the CPQ system to your sales and operations teams. Emphasize the benefits and features to encourage user adoption, stop quoting with tiresome spreadsheets, and maximize sales productivity.
Selecting the right CPQ tool
CPQ tools offer a powerful solution for streamlining quoting processes, boosting sales efficiency, and enhancing customer satisfaction. However, with numerous CPQ solutions available, selecting the right one is essential to maximize its benefits and ensure a smooth implementation.
Here are some factors to consider when selecting the right CPQ tool that aligns perfectly with your business needs:
- Scalability: Prioritize CPQ solutions that offer scalability as your business grows. For example, cloud-based platforms may be better suited to accommodate MSPs with an expanding product and services catalog or a remote/hybrid salesforce.
- Integration capabilities: Select a CPQ software that can seamlessly integrate with your existing CRM, PSA, ERP, and other relevant business systems. CPQ integration enables more sophisticated workflows and visibility across departments, including Sales, Fulfillment, and Accounting. The result is a more holistic view of both business operations and customer touchpoints.
- User-friendliness: Look for a CPQ platform that is user-friendly and intuitive, with dedicated onboarding training and support. Sales team adoption is critical, and the short-term learning curve will pay off in time savings and customer relationships long-term.
If you are ready to accelerate your sales process and transform your business operations, look no further than ConnectWise CPQ. Purpose-built for MSPs, ConnectWise CPQ can help get your sales team back to selling, saving precious time while driving growth and profitability.