Smart move. Introducing a CPQ program can significantly benefit your business by simplifying processes and speeding sales cycles to generate more revenue.
But once you build the business case, select a solution and map out your implementation considerations, how do you actually get started?
It all begins with getting your CPQ roadmap in place. Setting this roadmap involves understanding your business and what you have in place today, as well as how you want everything to operate going forward. Along the way, there are several critical steps to take before you begin your journey:
First, you need to “pack your bags” by taking an inventory of what’s needed. This step of the CPQ journey involves making sure you clearly understand what your products are, how you sell those products, how you discount those products and what approvals are needed along the way. It also entails mapping out what you want your quote template to look like and what types of rules you want in place to guide sales reps through the CPQ process.
Second, you need to know exactly where you want to go. Specifically, having a strong foundation for what your end state should look like and a clear checklist for success is critical before you get started. If that vision, including what success looks like and steps to achieve it, is not clearly defined, then you need to take a step back and make those decisions before moving forward on anything else.
Next, you need to make sure you involve the right people from your organization from the very start. Having key stakeholders involved from the beginning is essential to making sure your vision for the end state and checklist for success accurately represent the organization’s needs. This involvement can also help secure and maintain buy-in for the new program.
Beyond your own team, it’s important to find a CPQ expert that can help guide you through the journey. The path to CPQ success can be tedious and treacherous. As a result, implementations are rarely successful without an expert partner to lead the way. Remember: The most successful CPQ programs are like icebergs, in that even though they appear quite simple, they are actually very complicated below the surface. This situation makes tapping a partner who understands the complexities of CPQ programs and the importance of investing time into building the backend right critical to long term success.
With your map, your crew and your guide in place, it’s finally time to get on the road. This step is where all of your pre-work will prove critical. If you have missed any of the previous steps or not completed them fully, it should be immediately obvious. And if you do find that you’ve missed something or assembled an incomplete team, then it’s important to go back and fix what’s missing before you get too far into your journey, since the further you go, the harder it will be to correct those missteps.
With the five steps listed here, you have everything in place to get started on a successful CPQ journey.
Next up: It’s time to actually take the journey, making stops at key points of interest like pricing, approvals and quote templates. Check back for Part II of this post to see exactly what those stops on your CPQ journey should entail.