Configuring product offers and delivering quotes is part of a sales rep’s job, but…it can take some time. Without standard templates to follow and pricing information spread across multiple documents or platforms, creating a quote is no easy task. Fortunately, Salesforce’s configure, price, quote (CPQ) software solves this problem.
Salesforce CPQ — part of the Salesforce Revenue Cloud — is one of the most recognizable names in the CPQ software market, and its product can greatly improve the speed and accuracy of quotes. But…it’s not always super intuitive, so some customers may need extensive support to set up and deploy Salesforce CPQ.
Well, that’s why we’re here! This post will take a look at exactly what Salesforce CPQ means, how it works, its key benefits and challenges, and how companies can ensure they’re getting the most from the platform.
What is CPQ?
CPQ stands for Configure, Price, and Quote. It refers to the configuring of products, determining accurate pricing for them, and generating quotes for prospects or customers.
Sales reps often use CPQ software to quickly generate error-free quotes based on a predefined set of rules. On the backend, a CPQ system contains every possible variation — discounts, service levels, and customization options — so sales reps can generate quotes in minutes or hours instead of days.
What is Salesforce CPQ?
In 2015, Salesforce acquired SteelBrick — a quote-to-cash software platform that enables automatic management of a business’s end-to-end processes. Salesforce built upon SteelBrick’s technology to develop Salesforce CPQ, which integrates seamlessly with Salesforce CRM.
It isn’t just a Salesforce quoting tool — with Salesforce CPQ, sales teams can view customer and prospect data, identify opportunities for upsells, and automate internal sign-offs on pricing.
What are the 3 functions of CPQ software:
Let’s look at the three functions of CPQ software:
The “C” component of CPQ software establishes a baseline for pricing customizations and packages. CPQ software contains all the information sales reps need to reliably and consistently produce automated quotes–no manual configuring required!
In CPQ, sales reps can select pricing for bundles, override the list price, and set account-specific pricing for products or product families. The range of options in pricing enables reps to find the best price for the customer while also ensuring a profitable deal.
A CPQ quote line editor is where reps can see the final quote and make any adjustments, which is really helpful for clients who want to know their various pricing options. Its quote approval feature ensures sales managers see all quotes before the client does.
How Salesforce CPQ Works
Now that we’ve covered the basics of CPQ software, let’s dive into Salesforce CPQ specifics! Salesforce CPQ can be hosted in the Sales Cloud platform and directly linked to your CRM and ERP platforms.
Configuration is the first step in Salesforce CPQ’s sales enablement three-step process. It involves making product combinations based on your product or service characteristics.
Salesforce CPQ helps businesses create a standardized process for configuring products, depending on whether they’re multidimensional products or product bundles. On the backend, you can determine how customers order your products by establishing constraints, or product rules.
Product rules could be limits on order quantity, size, discounts, product combinations, etc. For example, when configuring your product, you could offer a 30% discount on products ordered but limit this discount to a certain quantity.
In traditional CPQ, pricing happens after configuration. However, with Salesforce CPQ, pricing is automated and done in real-time. It helps you create a base model for pricing that automatically adjusts to user choices and various business scenarios.
It also includes advanced options for contract pricing, bulk pricing, one-off sales, recurrent purchases, subscription pricing, and other pricing models.
So, regardless of how your product offers are configured, pricing is always immediately available for customers.
As a result of product configuration and automated pricing, Salesforce CPQ has a streamlined quoting process. After considering all configured product rules and pricing possibilities, Salesforce automatically generates a personalized, high-quality quote document.
You can customize the quotes even more by using predefined elements such as terms and conditions, payment schedules, order completion time, other input requirements from the customer, etc. Once done, send your customized quote via email!
Salesforce CPQ Features to Know
Salesforce CPQ offers a range of dynamic features. They include:
Product Bundles & Product Rules
Product bundles are customizable product groups sold together to meet complex customer needs. With Salesforce CPQ, sales reps can build four categories of product bundles: configurable, static, nested, and dynamic:
- Configurable bundles allow multiple product configuration options. For example, if your product bundle contains a smartphone and wireless earbuds, customers can choose the model and color of each item separately.
- Static bundles have pre-packaged options that customers can’t configure themselves.
- Nested bundles are integrated into other product bundles to present complex configurable bundles in an organized manner.
- Dynamic bundles contain optional products that customers can add or remove from a configured bundle.
You can add or remove options in a product bundle using predetermined product rules, ensuring customers order only compatible bundles.
After creating product bundles on Salesforce CPQ, you can assign configured attributes to those products by determining your product’s features. For example, attributes you could assign to a laptop include color, processor, storage, and internal memory.
You can then apply the configuration options to multiple product bundle fields.
With Salesforce CPQ, you can automate the process of pricing and terminating subscription products. The platform lets you offer two subscription pricing methods: a fixed price or a percent of total pricing, both with multiple renewal options.
Price Rules & Discounts
If your product prices change in response to the prices of other products on your quote, the Salesforce CPQ price rule feature enables you to automate price changes and update quotes.
You can configure quotes to integrate price rules and discounts based on three conditions: field value, static value, or summary variable. The price is then automatically updated when your product price rules meet the set conditions.
Contract Amendments & Renewals
Regardless of your contract amendment model, Salesforce CPQ adapts to your model and lets you add or remove products and product quantities from your contracts. This means you can immediately generate new contracts after customers have added new products or changed quoted products.
For renewals, you can set contracts to renew before or after their end dates automatically.
Price optimization determines how customers react to your configured price rules and product bundle prices.
Salesforce CPQ offers pricing guidance and CRM analytics that generate recommendations for prices and discounts based on historical pricing patterns. This means you can always offer prices that work for your customers.
Guided selling helps sales reps build a sales process that connects prospects or customers with the best product or service suitable for their needs. Salesforce CPQ enables users to develop a personalized guided selling tool, especially for three product categories: beauty, technical, and seasonal purchases.
Using the guided selling feature, you can establish and monitor key product performance metrics, educate customers by contextualizing purchases, and cross-sell products, driving increased AOV.
This feature enables you to create and send quotes from automatic quote records. Quote documents are generated as PDFs by default; however, you can customize settings to include Microsoft Word doc format.
After generating the quote, you can preview it, add other documents, or save and email the quote to your customer.
Quote Line Groups
Quote line groups provide information on how lines on quote documentation are organized and grouped. Salesforce CPQ quote line feature allows users to customize and manage these groups so that only relevant information is shown on the quote.
Benefits of CPQ in Salesforce
So why is Salesforce CPQ so popular despite its complexity? The answer is that once it’s fully deployed, it offers many benefits for both sales teams and sales managers.
Businesses that use CPQ software reduce their sales cycle by 28%. Salesforce CPQ helps sales reps maximize their time by automating sales processes like product pricing, quote generation, and contract creation. This platform automates many day-to-day tasks that distract salespeople from their main goals. Salespeople often say they wish they had “more hours in a day,” Salesforce CPQ answers that call by handling time-consuming administrative functions.
Sales reps can shorten the sales pipeline stage, increase productivity, and focus more on adding revenue to the company's bottom line.
Improved quote efficiency and accuracy
Another time-consuming task for sales reps is preparing quotes. Traditionally, they’ve had to spend time researching product pricing, revising quotes based on prospect feedback, and attempting to price out unexpected customization requests. Salesforce CPQ streamlines this entire process, fully integrating with Salesforce CRM and pulling together the data sales reps need to produce a quote.
With Salesforce CPQ, sales reps can generate quotes from their phones while in the field, quickly explain how different features affect pricing, and revise quotes in just a few minutes.
Enables customer-centric sales processes
Customers respond positively when product and service offers are tailored to their needs. There's a 66% chance a customer will switch brands if they feel they’re just being treated as a number.
Salesforce CPQ eliminates generalized quotes from your sales processes by allowing you to design personalized offers and quotes that can be adjusted in real-time based on your customer's pain points and preferences.
The CPQ platform isn’t just for quote generation — it also lets sales reps view prospect and customer data throughout the process, ensuring quotes match their needs. With these insights, there’s no risk of sales reps producing a quote for features that a prospect doesn’t want and can’t afford.
Better control & visibility for sales leaders
When price information and customer data are spread across multiple platforms and spreadsheets, sales reps may scramble to pull together accurate quotes promptly, which increases the risk of error.
Sales leaders must track multiple customer data, product bundles, pricing, subscriptions, and contracts. Salesforce CPQ offers a single, organized interface, ensuring greater control over the quote process.
Salesforce CPQ integrates all relevant data into a single centralized interface, making it easy for sales leaders to access and control all aspects of their sales processes at a glance.
Increased revenue & profitability
The advantages Salesforce CPQ brings to a sales team — efficiency, transparency, and accuracy — all contribute to revenue growth. Sales reps can easily find the information they need to close deals, offer upsells, and ensure their offer is a perfect fit for customers. This leads to revenue enablement and profitability for your business.
50% of buyers will choose the vendor that responds faster. With Salesforce CPQ automating and optimizing sales processes you normally spend a lot of time on, you can respond faster to customers. This translates to closing more deals–and ultimately more profit.
Salesforce CPQ Challenges
Are you ready to try Salesforce CPQ? If so, set aside time for some sales team training. Just take a look at what this Salesforce CPQ customer said:
“CPQ is hard to maneuver through. I feel like I’m constantly running into roadblocks where the next click or next step is not obvious. It’s complicated and requires a steep learning curve that I’m not confident all of my coworkers have even become familiar with over the past 6 months.” [G2.com]
Like many feature-rich software platforms, Salesforce CPQ is not intuitive. Busy sales teams may have difficulty finding time to learn how to use it, and company-wide platform adoption could be a challenge. Even with Salesforce support, Salesforce CPQ implementation can span several fiscal quarters.
The solution? Just-in-time learning. Spekit’s just-in-time learning platform will help you integrate bite-sized courses about the Salesforce CPQ platform into your sales team’s daily workflows. Spekit’s contextual training provides personalized courses that will simplify the understanding and adoption of Salesforce CPQ, and your employees can quickly find answers to pressing questions using Spekit’s sidebar chrome plug-in.
Here are a few reasons why Salesforce CPQ can benefit from just-in-time content in bite-sized learning opportunities.
1. Salesforce CPQ needs accurate data.
Salesforce CPQ is a powerful tool, but if you don’t have a clear process for maintaining accurate data, your sales team may unintentionally send proposals to your clients that don’t reflect savings or over-promise by sharing an expired promotion.
You can use Spekit in your Salesforce CPQ workflow to optimize your sales methodology, remind product, sales, and marketing teams about the need for data accuracy, and make it a part of their thought process and behavior flow through in-app content.
2. Salesforce CPQ comes with a steep learning curve.
Going from a manual CPQ process to Salesforce CPQ isn’t immediately intuitive. Although your teams may have worked in spreadsheets or filled in templates manually, transitioning to CPQ software will significantly impact their workflows.
Change management is an essential part of new tool and process adoption. Spekit’s micro-learning platform integrates directly into Salesforce CPQ’s workflows and offers a plethora of features to help your teams successfully adopt this powerful CPQ software, including:
- Spotlights: In-app notifications for announcements, process rollouts, and new features.
- Speks: Help iconsthat automatically attach to any field object, picklist value, or keyword in Salesforce CPQ to reveal guidance. Speks are contextual learning prompts that help employees learn new processes directly within their workflows.
- Flows: In-app step-by-step instructions. Flows guide users through processes and are especially useful for communicating change and visual process changes.
- The Dock: Contextual, collapsible sidebar follows users navigating Salesforce CPQ. This feature makes your teams more self-sufficient by allowing them to search for what they need and when and how they need it.
3. Salesforce CPQ isn’t used to its full potential.
Salesforce CPQ comes with features that can remind your teams about new products and promotions. Spekit lets you take these reminders further with in-app content in Salesforce CPQ.
Let’s say a new product is released. You can set up a Spotlight and share content where your teams already are.
For example, you can include links, videos, PDFs, and other content to educate your teams about a new product.
Moreover, since people don’t all like to consume information the same way, you can use Spekit to create and share content for multiple learning styles, ensuring that the information you want to get across gets seen, consumed, and remembered.
More about Salesforce CPQ
Let’s look at Salesforce CPQ's available pricing options, CPQ specialist credentials and templates:
Salesforce CPQ pricing
Salesforce CPQ offers two pricing options:
Revenue Optimization Pricing
- CPQ: $75/user/mo
- CPQ Plus: $150/user/mo
- Billing Growth/Plus: Contact Salesforce to request a quote
- Subscription management: Contact Salesforce to request a quote
- CPQ for Partner Communities: $25/user/mo
- CPQ for Customer Communities: $15/user/mo
- Contract: $50/user/mo
Salesforce CPQ certifications
Salesforce CPQ offers a certified CPQ Specialist credential for sales representatives who want to prove their technical skills and knowledge in building and integrating quoting workflows on the Salesforce CPQ platform. This certification demonstrates the ability to build product bundle configurations, contract renewals and amendments, pricing, and output documents.
It’s important to have experience with:
- Generating contract renewal and amendment quotes
- Configuring product bundles
- Building solutions to support business sales processes
- Writing formulas for price rules
The examination can be taken at a physical testing center or online via an e-LMS. It costs $200 (plus applicable taxes) and has a retake fee of $100.
Salesforce CPQ templates
With Salesforce CPQ’s templates, you can build preset layouts for documents, meaning you can control the formatting and organization of your quote documents. The template contains customizable sections like signature fields, terms and conditions, and line items. It lets you add as many sections as needed and reuse sections across various templates.
Drive Salesforce CPQ adoption with Spekit
Sometimes, a third-party solution is the best way to improve onboarding and continuous training for a complex software platform. Spekit simplifies Salesforce CPQ training and adoption, with interactive, iterative training modules that users can access anytime.
Instead of sitting through days of training (and immediately forgetting what they’ve learned), sales reps can start using Salesforce CPQ and learn organically as they work. Spekit tracks user progress, so managers can make sure teams are learning how to use the platform. And faster onboarding means a more immediate ROI.
Find out how Spekit helps sales teams cut training and ramp-up time in half.