How to: Prepare for CPQ Success

What can you expect after purchasing CPQ—and how can you get ready for what comes next? As you finalize and plan your investment in CPQ software, you’ll also want to start preparing for a successful implementation project.

A lot of work went into your decision to find a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solution. You did hours of discovery and learned the benefits of automating your sales cycle. Now that you’re committed to buying and in the final stages of an agreement, you are probably eager to get started.

In order to arm you with with the insights you’ll need for a seamless CPQ project, we have gathered tips and best practices from our Salesforce CPQ customer success team.

Here are 5 actions you can take now to prepare yourself for CPQ.

1. Admin Training

The first step towards getting a head start on your project is to purchase admin training. We have two class offerings, one for new Salesforce CPQ admins and one for advanced admins. Busy admins will find the help they need in the learning style they prefer with our flexible training delivery; we offer self-led, in-person, and virtual classes. We cover everything from installing CPQ and creating products to incorporating price and product rules that ensure data cleanliness while meeting business requirements.

Training provides a fundamental understanding of CPQ while it’s being implemented, so you have a seamless rollout when you go live. Not only will you get started off on the right foot, but our training subscriptions also give your admins access to both annual instructor-led courses and continuous self-led training—so they will always be in the know on our latest functionality.

2. Implementation Support

You’ll need more than just admin training if you really want to hit the ground running when your implementation begins. While Salesforce CPQ is an approachable tool that can easily be incorporated into your existing business, acquiring implementation support will help you navigate the finer points of the process. It’s important to understand not only how CPQ itself works, but how it will fit into the greater picture for your company. Designing and customizing an implementation of Salesforce CPQ that will meet your requirements and integrate with all of your other systems takes expertise.

Customers oftentimes worry that an implementation project will have to cost them tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. While some use cases have a more complex setup and require more work, Salesforce CPQ has a variety of certified partners that provide a wide array of budget-friendly options. The best way to make sure that you set up CPQ successfully and get all your questions answered along the way is to have the extra support.

The more affordable and hands-off implementation packages will provide you with a bucket of hours to use at your leisure—allowing you the freedom to work through your project the way you want, while still receiving guidance from an expert. All Salesforce CPQ customers fill out a services assessment with their account executive, which will help you determine the best type of support for your specific circumstances.

3. Review Your Processes

After considering admin training and implementation support, it’s time to review your own internal processes. For instance, a CPQ or Quote-to-Cash implementation requires a separate sandbox. This is your chance to ensure that you have the correct processes in place when it comes to managing your sandboxes and the way your production environment will get updated. Without a solid plan, your sandboxes can quickly become a mess.

Beyond the sandbox, you will also need to carefully assess your product catalog and pricing rules as early on as possible. If you have plans to alter SKUs in some way, how will that affect your CPQ? It’s important to review your product catalog before you get going on the project, so you can incorporate improvements you make into your initial implementation.

Pay close attention to your current pricing as well. There is no better time to review your old and potentially bloated pricing model than before you create your products for CPQ. If you want to fully leverage Salesforce CPQ for the purpose of making everyone’s lives easier, you need to untangle the unnecessary clutter as much as you can up front. Sit down with your subject matter experts and discuss the discount approval tree and approval matrix you will create. Visually outlining your approvals will help you understand how to build out your discounts and approvals when you begin implementing.

Next, turn your attention to your data. Implementing a new product that has a major effect on your business processes gives you the perfect opportunity to review the quality of your data and clean it up. You will also want to think about how and when you handle legacy data after CPQ has been implemented.

4. Training and Adoption

Now is the time to start thinking about how end users will experience your rollout of Salesforce CPQ. Once you understand what CPQ is and what your related business requirements are, spend some time making sure you know all the use cases for your company. What do you want to achieve? The training you receive will help you connect the dots and figure out how to meet your end goals. It will also be important for you to triage your use cases and prioritize which CPQ activities will have the biggest impact for your users.

Not everything has to be in the first rollout. You always have the opportunity to fine-tune the tool after your users begin interacting with it. Regardless of your rollout plan, you will need to think about how you are going to communicate it to your team and how you can get executive support behind the project.

The other piece that will really help drive adoption for your team is to take advantage of power users. These early adopters will be the first users you give your CPQ tool to; they will become advocates for your new processes and they will be able to help other members of your team work through any difficulties they may encounter during the learning curve.

5. Planning

Last but not least, look at your implementation project as a whole and make sure you have a plan of attack. Assemble a team to complete the project, paying extra attention to ensure you pick the right team members. Being careful and deliberate in your approach will immeasurably improve the efficiency of your project and its outcome. You need the right mix of business and technical skills to ensure that tasks are completed with minimum friction and maximum effectiveness.

Be realistic about your go-live date. It’s fine to take a phase approach, as long as you have a timeline you know you can stick to. Have an official project kickoff where you can review internal procedures and get your team on the same page. If you are able to get everyone to a mutual understanding, and if you take each of these five project areas into account, you will be well on your way to experiencing the maximum benefits of CPQ software and improving your entire quote to cash process.

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