Clueless About CPQ?

By Lucy Mazalon

CPQ ImageConfigure Price Quote (CPQ) is a hot topic in the world of Cloud Computing and Salesforce Ecosystem. CPQ rapidly became a saturated space with a fierce competitive landscape, simply because a CPQ solution can revolutionize a sales cycle. This article will cover what CPQ is, its advantages and whether you require one, leading on to the value of keeping CPQ on the Salesforce Platform.

What is CPQ?

Essentially, CPQ does what it says on the tin – it Configures, Prices and Quotes. A CPQ comes into play once you have established an opportunity, or even just interest – from this point, you want to lead your prospect through the Sales cycle as effectively and efficiently as possible.  CPQ walks your Sales users through the process of creating complex quote by providing only relevant products, the correct pricing, offers available, upsell opportunities and more. Giving your users and management piece of mind that all quotes going out the door are correct, accurate and up to date.

The Advantages of CPQ

When reading the below, imagine creating a quote for your customer through Amazon.com. You login, search for your products and add it to a cart. Amazon will let you know if there are any offers with the product you have selected, suggest products other customers have purchased and also products that work well with those selected.

Sell More

Time to quote is a huge bottleneck in organisations. Automation speeds up the process, for instance, having quote templates and easily accessible data. It’s undeniable that speed wins deals; you are most likely to go with the vendor that presents a quote first. Speed is the ultimate competitive advantage.

As it’s unrealistic to expect salespeople to know every ongoing promotion; CPQ can automate this for you with various workflow rules. Recommendation rules open the salesperson up to increase their total quote value by recommending up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Alerts can be determined by the type of customer, meaning they are more likely to purchase.

Sell Smarter: Guided Selling

CPQ enables your Sales users create more complex quotes in a timely fashion by taking advantage of guided selling. Validation rules validate relevant products for selection, instead of giving the user the entire product catalogue to choose from. Complementary products are filtered; for instance, if an Apple Mac laptop is selected as the main product, CPQ could remove all of the windows upgrades and accessories, as these are no longer relevant.

Management can rest assured that outgoing quotes have the correcting pricing, product combinations, description and are within discounting limits.

Standardized & Global

Depending on whether you use a quote template, and depending on whether this template is stored locally on users machines or in a central repository. You have the risk of different/out of date templates going to customers. By utilizing a centralized CPQ solution you make sure that all users, no matter where they are in the world are using the templates, price books and standards that you have defined.

Do you require a CPQ?

Every case for CPQ diagnosis is different, with a number of factors affecting the need for CPQ. Typically firms with a Sales team of more than 100 would seek a CPQ solution, but this is a crude indication with many solutions in the marketplace catering to smaller firms.

As a rule of thumb, if 25% of a salesperson’s day is spent creating quotes and proposals, then there is a serious problem. Salespeople are talented employees, their time should not be spent repetitively inputting simple data, navigating hundreds of inaccurate spreadsheets – all in all, not doing what they were hired to do! Let’s have a look at a couple of examples below and have a guess which one could require a CPQ solution.

lawnmowerLucy’s Lawnmowers sell a variety of different styles of Lawnmower that are distributed around the UK. They have around 10 models that are all pre assembled by Lucy’s employees and then delivered built and ready to go by various couriers. Quoting is pretty simple and does not take too much time as all that is required is a model number and quantity. 



Dave’s Dump Trucks build custom dump trucks to order for various clients around the UK. The dump trucks can be built for various purposes, have different sized engines, tyres and hulls. The trucks have many dependencies, for example if a certain hull is purchased, a certain sized engine will be required to power it. Quoting is a long and vital stage for Dave, and if a Sales person sends out a quote for a machine that cannot be put together, this causes delays and upsets the customer.

CPQ on the Salesforce1 Platform

Companies will chose to keep their CRM and CPQ together as the CPQ process is enhanced with access to customer credentials and past purchase history. With Salesforce, you can reap the benefits of an integrated system, particularly with employees having access to up-to-date information.

The Salesforce Partner Ecosystem offers a wealth of CPQ Apps that suit different business needs; from out-of-the-box products with basic quoting functionality, to complex enterprise solutions requiring full scoping. Even searching ‘CPQ’ on the AppExchange brings up 51 results – there certainly is enough to choose from!

Apttus: 100% Native CPQ

Apttus offers a CPQ solution that is 100% native to the Salesforce Platform; what this means is that the solution operates solely on the Platform. For the Admin? Gone are the troubles of data migration, upgrades and IT disruption. And for the User? Siloed workflows and repetitive logging in are a thing of the past, working efficiently with one familiar UI – keep everything on one Platform, why overcomplicate it?

The Apttus footprint is one to be noted in the Ecosystem. As a Quote-To-Cash company, Apttus goes beyond CPQ, also offering Contract Lifecycle Management and Revenue Management suites, alongside additional technologies to enhance the sales cycle. Apttus customers are promised a ‘roadmap’, detailing a longer term strategy that Apttus will help deliver. Follow the link to a comprehensive guide for a deeper discovery into CPQ values, courtesy of Apttus: Guide to CPQ

The Author

Lucy Mazalon

Lucy is the Operations Director at Salesforce Ben. She is a 10x certified Marketing Champion and founder of The DRIP.


    Bill Powell
    February 03, 2017 2:27 pm
    Great article. I'm just starting out with CPQ and this details well what needs a CPQ, and what probably doesnt. With that said, it would be a great benefit to understand when you need a CPQ partner and when you can learn/implement on the job. Products that are pre-made in a bundle, such as engine > doors > tires into a dump truck bundle (as in your article), work great in a CPQ since they are tangible products, more than likely CPQ can be developed and implemented in house. When you get into more difficult CPQ use cases like selling only 1 product with 2,000 configurations (like mine, we manufacture architectural glass), it can get much much more difficult and truly requires a CPQ consulting partner. Great article!
    Ben McCarthy
    February 05, 2017 1:04 pm
    Hi Bill, completely agree. I'll make a note of that about a potential post. I know a few people who have bought expensive CPQ softwares when they could have achieved a similar result with a few custom fields and then using Conga Composer to generate the quote!
    July 09, 2017 2:17 am
    How to get an instance for trial of cpq . We all know that there is a Dev instance of Salesforce but we do not have a free cpq - Salesforce in app exchange for free .
    Adrian Villar
    July 05, 2018 1:27 pm
    Sujay, you may get an a free cpq from here : https://login.salesforce.com/packaging/installPackage.apexp?p0=04tA0000000WZvmIAG" target="_blank Regards,

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