CPQ is an acronym for Configure Price Quote.
A CPQ solution can reduce or eliminate many of the inefficiencies around the product and/or service quotation process. CPQ can make sure that the right combination of products is always quoted. The system can even suggest what complementary products should be included as options within a quote. This can shorten sales cycles.
The capabilities of this business solution category have evolved into functionality that goes beyond just quoting. In fact, the acronym could easily be expanded to CPQPCBC:
Some vendors have adopted the mantra Quote to Cash.
Configure Price Quote has always been the type of solution that many companies, large and small, could benefit from. However, until just a few years ago, CPQ was only available as an expensive standalone solution that was mainly affordable for large enterprises.
As with many business applications, the cloud has made it easier for new entrants into the CPQ space. This gives buyers both more options and easier to implement solutions.
Oracle CPQ Cloud
A well known legacy enterprise solution was Big Machines. Big Machines was later acquired by Oracle and rebranded Oracle CPQ Cloud.
Configure One is a popular standalone CPQ solution. Not all companies have a mainstream CRM or ERP system in place, so standalone offerings continue to be important. Configure One does integrate with popular CRM and ERP solutions.
Salesforce CPQ and Billing
SteelBrick was a CPQ vendor that decided to go all-in with Salesforce and build their solution natively on the Salesforce platform. This paid off for SteelBrick, as Salesforce acquired the company in 2015.
Apttus also built a solution on the Salesforce platform. Apttus was named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for “Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites.”
In the Microsoft Dynamics world, EndeavorCPQ offers an integrated solution. Endeavor is hosted on Microsoft Azure.
Experlogix provides a solution that integrates with a range of Microsoft Dynamics products.
While implementation cycles are shorter than they once were, implementing a solution can still be a significant project. Unlike with a typical CRM implementation, a lot of the CPQ functionality cannot be rolled out over the course of multiple phases. For example, it wouldn’t work very well to only enter half the products from your price book.
CPQ systems are often called upon to automate what were once highly manual processes. While inefficient, manual quoting with documents and spreadsheets provides almost infinite flexibility to a salesperson.
It’s therefore important that salespeople’s quotation efforts not become overly constrained by a more rigid framework.