B2B, short for business-to-business, are companies that sell complex products and services to other businesses and organizations. As such, they need to provide their sales teams with a fast, error-proof configuration, pricing, and quoting (CPQ) system.
Sales representatives must be able to quickly configure custom line items as well as find stock parts to create these quotes for customers. Salespeople who are able to create more quotes, more accurately and more professionally, produce more sales.
An automated, error-proof quoting system that new reps can use on Day 1 reduces sales training time and costs. And a solution that dynamically generates bills of materials (BOMs) and routings cuts production costs.
In the digital era, B2B companies also need to be able to seamlessly extend their product configuration and quoting systems to ecommerce platforms and solutions. They may need to display three-dimensional (3D) visualizations to bring products to life so a customer can see a proof of concept before closing the deal.
For B2B-focused businesses selling custom items, sales teams are confronted by challenges and obstacles that arise from antiquated legacy systems and manual configuration processes that rely on spreadsheets and institutional knowledge. All these lead to inefficient sales processes; moreover, stagnant, in-house quoting solutions may not evolve to support your company’s digital initiatives.
Businesses can address these challenges and problems by leveraging a CPQ solution. To optimize the positive impact of a CPQ and maximize businesses’ ROI, a CPQ should be deeply embedded and integrated with your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This centralizes customer and item data from both the CPQ and ERP.
A well-implemented CPQ gives reps a complete configuration, pricing and quoting toolkit that enables them to sell more effectively and become the driving force behind a company’s growth.
“NetSuite CPQ allows us to standardize complex part number creation, providing efficiency to our entire quote, order and production cycle.”
Ryan Thomas, General Manager, Depatie Fluid Power Company
What Is a CPQ?
A CPQ is a web-based cloud software solution that provides salespeople with a place where they can dynamically perform essential product configuration, pricing and quoting activities that traditionally would be performed manually.
These sales activities are all core to the B2B sales process. Automating them increases quote volume and quality while freeing salespeople to engage with customers and establish relationships. At its core, a great CPQ keeps salespeople doing what B2B sales managers want them doing: selling.
The Configurator: The Heart of CPQ
B2B sellers whose products are complex and customizable have an extra, and essential, task baked into their quoting and ordering processes: product configuration. A powerful yet easy to use configurator is at the heart of any CPQ solution—so much so that the term “configurator” is often used synonymously with “CPQ”.
A great configurator allows salespeople to customize complex products quickly by selecting from available attributes. From there, they can configure and price the product, and potentially discount it and add it to a quote or order. Pricing is dynamically populated by preconfigured business rules, which can be easily updated.
Configured items should be copyable, savable and accessible for later use. Kitting capabilities built into the configurator allow the business to define mixes of configured items and package them as a single piece for sale in box sets or gift packages.
Manufacturing Automation: Bill of Materials and Routing
B2B companies in the manufacturing sector have unique needs and requirements for their CPQ solutions, outside of sales support capabilities. A toolset that automates, supports and optimizes manufacturers’ production and assembly processes is mission-critical for them to compete.
A CPQ that specifically addresses manufacturers’ needs delivers a single, integrated cloud system that replaces the disconnected point products that are typically in use by manufacturers today.
When a CPQ can create an advanced bill of materials (BOM) and routings, manufacturers of all sizes can reduce operating costs and more efficiently manage their production and assembly processes. This saves the time and money previously spent double and triple checking and reworking orders.
Proposal Generation: Custom Branded Quotes
Optimizing the product configuration and quote creation processes is only part of the equation for B2B sales teams. Reps must be able to easily capture and deliver customer-specific quotes in professional, branded proposals to consistently win deals.
These proposals should draw accurate product and pricing information direct from the quote in the CPQ system, in real-time. That way, reps can give customers branded, error-free proposals immediately. When your company is the first to bid, you maximize win rates. A proposal-generation application that provides B2B sales organizations with dynamic document creation and management capabilities is an essential part of a CPQ solution that fully maximizes sales.
Connecting your proposal-generation system to the cloud allows you to support sales reps anywhere and allows them to search the estimate database by keyword, name, author or date to reference past deals or duplicate similar proposals for new quotes.
3D Visualization: Bring Products to Life
Almost 70% of online shoppers surveyed reported that images were as important as price when making buying decisions.
For B2B companies, particularly ones that sell custom, configurable products, providing 3D visualization capabilities within their CPQ solutions has quickly gone from nice-to-have new tech to table stakes.
A browser-based 3D visualization toolset combined with a CPQ configurator allows reps to generate interactive product visualizations on the fly. This empowers both salespeople and online buyers to review dynamic 3D-rendered images of the customized products they are buying or selling. That both enriches and informs the buying and selling experience, increasing customer lifetime value.
Ecommerce Integration: Extending CPQ to the Web Store
CPQ can be a game-changer for inside and outside sales reps, but companies can take it a step further by extending these product configuration capabilities to their ecommerce web stores.
From unique items that require full customization to adding personalization to standard products, CPQ makes your product details pages more interactive and engaging. Providing your shoppers with CPQ configuration, guided selling and 3D visualization that helps them find the precise product leads to improved conversion rates and higher average order values.
Turnkey ecommerce integrations allow companies to quickly implement CPQ solutions and accelerate their time to market. Without these integrations, systems may require significant development work to set up.
By integrating CPQ with ecommerce and your other back-office systems, like CRM, financials, inventory and order management, businesses can create truly engaging shopping experiences that drive sales and customer loyalty.
Guided Selling: Part Selection Made Easy
B2B sellers of custom, configurable products frequently also offer nonconfigurable stock items, like replacement parts and add-on products. Typically, these B2B companies stock a variety of parts that make up a vast catalog of items that reps must sift through to find what they are looking for. Salespeople need to be able to find these items quickly and easily add them to customers’ quotes and orders.
Guided selling provides a familiar ecommerce product-catalog-filtering experience that enables users to drill down into item attributes to quickly find the exact parts they are looking for. This eliminates the use of binders of SKU spreadsheets, or worse, a sales team that must individually memorize catalogs of part numbers to close business.
When a comprehensive CPQ solution is implemented as part of a single platform with ERP and CRM, sales teams become more efficient, close rates increase, more quotes are created and reps meet quotas more often.
NetSuite CPQ enables sales teams to quickly configure, price and quote complex products with complete accuracy and reliability—directly in NetSuite. The ability to create 3D product visualizations and automate the generation of sales proposals helps further enhance and accelerate the sales process. With configure, price and quote software that works seamlessly with NetSuite
ERP, CRM and ecommerce solutions using NetSuite pricing, inventory and profitability data and connected workflows, companies can automate the transition from sales to delivery, generating bills of materials (BOMs), routings and work orders.
B2B companies that sell complex products can increase sales and reduce costs with a comprehensive CPQ solution.
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