CPQ implementation for your company? These steps will get you there!

A few months ago we announced the partnership between Leapforce and Elfsquad. Elfsquad creates CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) software for the manufacturing industry and Leapforce adequately employs this as a sales tool. Together, we offer the best software and a stainless implementation process.

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Have you missed this post? Then you might be thinking: what is CPQ, and how is it of use to me? This will be gone over in this blog. We will comprehensively describe how CPQ can save you a huge amount of time in composing complex quotations, and explain step by step why the implementation process actually was a breeze.

What is CPQ? 

CPQ software helps, putting it basically, with automatically generating quotations.This is necessary, especially for businesses or salesmen who sell a modularly constructed product (consisting of optional components). Manually composing said quotations costs a lot of time and money, and is incredibly sensitive to errors.

An example: production lines for sweets

Imagine, you create production lines for sweets. You sell these to factories producing different kinds of candy. Liquorice in every form, winegums, lollipops, marshmallows, and so forth.

Your machines can be employed for producing a different array of products, and are extremely flexible. Almost any kind of popular candy can be produced using the advanced production lines. This is nice, but it does make the sales process quite complicated.

A challenge for Sales

Sales employees usually go over every detail of both product and machine with their customers, so that the production lines can be wholly adjusted to the regarding factory. This is quite the process.

Next up, based on the wishes and possibilities the customer has, a custom quotation is drafted. Within this quotation an exact sum of what all these necessary components will cost is made. The best case scenario here is to create this quotation as fast as possible, since production must go on.

Unfortunately this can cause a few hiccups. Can you imagine the amount of product knowledge that is required to correctly compose a quotation in that regard? Especially with a complicated and flexible product such as a machine the complexity is massive. All of the components must be filed in the quotation correctly, otherwise trouble will rear its head in during production.

The solution: CPQ software

How nice would it be if a system existed that would prepare all possible components, prices, and specifications in advance? Where you could simply go through a selection menu and have your quotations made ready in mere minutes? Perhaps even including customer details, the date, and the salesman’s data?

This is exactly what CPQ software does.

By configuring all components, prices, and specifications in advance (for example: only one possible engine; or display 1 cannot be applied to machine 3) you prevent errors and lead time is shortened significantly.

Moreover, the CPQ configurator articulates all these possibilities in an understandable, accessible way. Should the sales employee choose ‘liquorice’, then automatically (what might be called) module 1 is selected. Should he or she choose ‘lollipops’, then hypothetical module 2 is selected. A different module 3 might exist, including both liquorice and lollipops. When working this way, the sales employee does not have to know by heart which module goes with what products, and faulty quotations are prevented.

CPQ implementation

Now you might be thinking: how do I enter all of those components, prices, prerequisites, and specifications into such a system? How do I ensure all of my employees can work with a CPQ tool? And will this actually work for my product?

These are justified questions, for a CPQ implementation is not simple. Even though implementation time is but a fraction of the time you save using a CPQ tool, planning and training is necessary.

Six steps

To make this process simple and streamlined, we have put down six clear steps on implementing CPQ. After following these, you can be sure that you will have a perfectly working CPQ system and notice that its implementation is actually not too bad.

Step 1: Evaluation

CPQ systems are foremostly suitable for manufacturers of machines, bodyworks, producers of production lines, producers of installations, and producers of other complex products.

During the first step in the implementation process we take a critical look at whether CPQ software can actually help in further development of your business. We request you to compose a list with requirements, and based on that determine what is- and is not achievable. This list can contain aspects like specific software functions or wishes concerning budget.

Are there any requirements that are not possible through CPQ? Do your wishes exceed the budget or do we know easier ways of quotation applicable to your situation? Then we will terminate the process, and prevent you from spending on something that will not eventually advance you.

Does the list of requirements determine that CPQ will indeed help you out? Then we zoom in on further details that can finalize our vision and plan. Examples are your possible use of CRM systems and data storage within your business. Your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems and CAD (Computer-Aided Design) systems, too, are inspected to determine if they can be integrated with the CPQ system.

For example, you might be using Exact Online. In that case, Elfsquad will have a standard link at the ready which will integrate all data from this system directly into the CPQ software. This can be integrated very easily, within a minute. All relevant details (articles, prices, etc.) will automatically flow from Exact to the CPQ configurator and back, and as a result you will no longer have to manually fill them into your CPQ system time upon time again. Additionally, when changes in things like pricing occur they will be directly updated in both CRM and CPQ. This prevents errors, and saves a lot of time and effort.

Step 2: Demo

Is CPQ indeed what you business needs? Then you would probably want to see the capability of the software in action.

Which is why the second step is demonstrating to you, either online or physically, what CPQ could mean for you. Using loaded data we will simulate a realistic situation for you wherein we can show you exactly what you can expect from the software

Which is why the second step is demonstrating to you, either online or physically, what CPQ could mean for you. Using loaded data we will simulate a realistic situation for you wherein we can show you exactly what you can expect from the software.

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Step 3: Workshop

After we have envisioned a general image of the possibilities during the demo, we will dive deeper into the CPQ possibilities for your business in a workshop.

We show you what we have in store, demonstrate the possibilities and make sure all of the (relevant for this situation) employees in your company are entirely up to date.

During the workshop both an engineer and a sales employee will be present, so that no question will remain unanswered.

At the end of the day we should have a good image of your wishes. We will know what the prices for the licences would be, and in turn will be able to make an estimate of the final price of the implementation itself.

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Step 4: Pilot phase 

During the pilot phase we start entering the products and data. Not all at once, of course; we begin by testing one product.

We enter every possible part and link additional systems (CRM, for example). Has everything been entered? Then the Elfsquad software starts rendering and the salespeople can start gaining knowledge and experience in practice.

On the basis of tests and feedback the software is completely finetuned, before the rest of the products are entered.

Step 5: Implementation phase

During the fifth step the real deal begins. We now enter the rest of the products, step for step, with the outcomes of the pilots in the back of our heads. Additionally, we implement the remaining features such as the amount of users and usage rights.

At the end of this phase the software is complete and ready for use. And to finalize the CPQ implementation wholly and successfully, we provide a comprehensive training for all sales employees.

Step 6: Scale-up phase

During the scale-up phase the configurator is fully operational. All of the products have been entered, the necessary links have been made and all software users are adequately trained.

However, the Elfsquad software offers more possibilities than just its basic functionalities. Some examples being:

  • Granting dealers entry to the system, so that they can sell your product through the configurator (with personal rights, prices, and possibly a margin of profit)
  • Configuring multiple languages (for dealers or salespeople in different countries)
  • Making the configurator directly available for the end customer by embedding it into your website
  • Creating sharp 3D models that present selected modules directly in the configurator

During the scale-up phase we keep regular contact and consider eventual extra functions. If wanted, the software is then expanded, including necessary training.

Easier than you thought

Using the six steps mentioned above we hope to easen up the implementation process. And if we are honest with you, we think it in fact does so quite well!

Together with Elfsquad, we are going through the steps with several businesses, and this is actually happening rather smoothly. The businesses do not have to worry about anything themselves. They get to observe a neat demo and can be ensured of getting as much guidance as they might need.

In shot: the process remains comprehensive, but that is absolutely not a reason to not give this a try. After all, many businesses have done so before you, and we have the knowledge and processes for a spotless implementation!

Interested? 

Does CPQ software sound like something through which your company could save time (and money)? Or do you have any other marketing- or software-related questions? Eequest an unobliged introductory meeting.

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