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Boost B2B Telecom Sales: Overcome CPQ Challenges & Sell More

Breaking down the elements and the use of CPQ, the general assumption is that it’s an easy tool allowing sales teams to configure products and services, input pricing and generate quotes. By automating manual tasks, reducing errors, and facilitating personalized quoting options, CPQ systems promise to revolutionize sales operations and drive revenue. 

Despite its efficiency enhancements, CPQ implementations can also bring complexities that pose significant challenges for businesses. Referred to by many sales operators as “headaches1, CPQ implementations require strategic planning to overcome hurdles and unlock their full potential.

Based on a recent survey CloudSense conducted of industry professionals, here are the key challenges businesses face with CPQ implementations.

Data accuracy in CPQ: How inaccurate information can hinder implementation

Data accuracy can be a difficult thing to attain when implementing CPQ, primarily due to the manual inputting of data and administrative tasks involved in generating pricing and quoting options. Errors in data entry often go unnoticed until documents are generated, making it challenging to identify and rectify mistakes. 

Since CPQ effectiveness hinges on the accuracy and quality of data, outdated, inaccurate or insufficient information regarding product details, customer data, and pricing rules can result in inaccurate configurations and quotes, leading to lower adoption rates2 and a lack of efficiency. 

Maintaining up-to-date, accurate and verifiable data is crucial3 especially when configuring products using data, as outdated information can jeopardize sales opportunities and damage consumer trust and business reputation. Without access to the necessary information, sales teams are unable to close deals successfully, setting them up for failure. 

Thus, the need to clean data, including removing duplicate data and enriching existing data, is essential to ensure a smooth CPQ implementation process and avoid potential setbacks.

Challenges of configuring complex products

Identified as the biggest concern by our survey respondents, configuring complex products can be challenging, particularly for businesses dealing with bundles and customized solutions. Whilst CPQ is designed to handle complexity at scale, the intricacies of certain products and services can pose difficulties4.

This complexity may arise from various factors, including diverse pricing rules, geographic variations, and intricate promotions5 that are challenging to automate effectively. Pricing proposals can quickly become convoluted, and overly complex product configurations can hinder the seamless use of a CPQ system. 

To address these challenges, it’s crucial to keep product configurations and pricing rules simple wherever possible. However, managing complex products within a CPQ system requires a deep understanding of all product features and the ability to configure rules to ensure validity and compliance with business requirements. This is made easier if an advanced product catalog engine is integrated into your CPQ.

Additionally, integrating CPQ with other systems, such as CRM, to access product data and pricing information can be challenging, particularly when dealing with complex structures and legacy systems. Ensuring that the system can efficiently handle large volumes of data and complex calculations is essential for a smooth implementation.

Equipping your sales team: The need for effective sales training

It can be challenging to ensure sales reps receive effective sales training when working with a CPQ, especially if the tool is complex and unintuitive6. If sales representatives are not adequately trained on how to use the tool, they may struggle with its complex functionalities. This lack of understanding can lead to errors in configuring products, pricing and quoting, impacting the accuracy and reliability of sales proposals.

Moreover, without proper training, sales teams end up missing out on opportunities to streamline processes, improve efficiency and enhance the sales experience for customers. Lack of training increases the reluctance of sales representatives to adopt new tech, as they view it as a time consuming chore, as opposed to a valuable asset.

Ineffective sales team training undermines the successful implementation of CPQ by impeding user proficiency, hindering adoption and limiting the tool’s ability to to drive sales, efficiency and effectiveness. 

It’s essential to provide ongoing training and support, including the development of a training plan. Users must be able to understand how to use CPQ effectively to maximize its potential in boosting efficiency, accuracy and revenue generation. Software is only as good as the people using it, highlighting the importance of effective training to maintain efficiency.

Launching B2B products and solutions faster with the right CPQ system

Launching new products can be a challenging task for CPQ users for various reasons. Firstly, the typical implementation time for CPQ systems ranges from 12 to 24 weeks7, causing delays in introducing new products to the market, yet alone introducing them quickly. Moreover, if sales reps encounter difficulties such as pricing errors, incorrect rules, or incompatible configurations when submitting quotes8, it indicates a performance issue with CPQ solutions, leading to further delays in launches.

When dealing with unique and complex product configurations and features, CPQ users can find it tough to customize. Configuring pricing rules for new products within the CPQ platform requires substantial time and resources. Additionally, ensuring that users are familiar with the configurations, features, and pricing structures of new products adds another layer of complexity and time consumption.

In some cases, organizations have stringent approval systems for new products, and integrating these approval processes into the CPQ system can exacerbate complexity and cause additional delays in product launches. Overall, launching new products within a CPQ environment requires careful planning, customization, and user training to mitigate challenges and ensure a smooth transition to market. 

CloudSense CPQ

Whilst CPQ implementations pose several challenges, leveraging a robust solution can mitigate these hurdles and unlock numerous benefits for businesses. With CloudSense’s CPQ solution, organizations can streamline complex configurations, automate pricing rules and enhance sales team efficiency. The platform’s flexibility and customization capabilities enables seamless adaptation to evolving business needs and product offerings. Sales teams are able to maximize productivity and drive revenue growth.

1; RevOps,2022, 2; eClouds, 2023, 3; Cincom, 4; eClouds, 2023, 5; eClouds, 2023, 6; eClouds, 2023, 7; LinkedIn, 2023, 8; ArganoKeste, 2022