Products like medical devices or manufacturing equipment are often highly configurable. That variability makes the sales process tricky for both the buyer and the seller: custom products can’t be visualized, adjustable pricing complicates financial reporting, and complex billing requirements may discourage customers.
No matter how stellar your sales reps are, failing to deliver product information quickly and accurately can cost leads and longtime customers. The good news is that several integrations for Salesforce’s Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) platform can simplify a complicated process.
Here are three types of CPQ integrations that help sales reps transform leads into ongoing relationships, and provide better visibility for finance teams along the way.
1: Visual Configurators
Visual Configurators allow customers to see products in real-time.
Product visualizations in B2B sales are hard to come by. If there is one, it’s a static, 2D photo that likely doesn’t display all the customer’s configurations. This limits customer’s trust, especially when the product is a big-ticket item such as a medical device or white-labelled software program.
Even when there are product images involved, they come after months of negotiations, prototyping, and custom configurations. Sales reps are heavily reliant on engineering teams to draw up product models, which takes time.
CPQ’s visual configurator integrations speed up the cycle and give sales reps more autonomy by turning complicated, customizable customer inputs into realistic visuals and accurate 3D models.
For example, CPQ’s integration with Threekit provides a visual configurator that allows customers to see images and interactive models of made-to-order and configure-to-order products. These visualizations boost their confidence earlier in the customer journey.
2: Accounting Platform Integration
Accounting platform integrations inform smarter business decisions.
In many organizations, finance decision-makers don’t have access to sales metrics, leaving them to act on rough, and likely inaccurate, revenue estimates. It’s difficult to run a tight ship when you don’t have a clear view of your sales pipeline.
Through AppExchange, Salesforce’s cloud computing store, users can adopt independent software vendor (ISV) platforms that improve sales visibility and automate reports on quotes, orders, invoices, and payments to help sales teams pull quick insights. Some popular integrations on AppExchange are FinancialForce and QuickBooks.
Source: Accounting Seed
These platforms can distribute revenue transactions over financial periods, which makes revenue recognition a lot easier. Salesforce users can also pass order information and quote details directly to back-office finance leaders.
3: Automated Billing
Automated billing sustains customer relationships.
Customer retention is just as important as customer acquisition for a company’s bottom line. CPQ’s pricing models can make managing customer renewals smoother for Salesforce users.
CPQ’s add-on billing platform lets users launch products with one-time, subscription, or usage-based pricing options. Sales reps can establish the billing timeline at the time of the sale, and CPQ will automate invoices.
In order to retain customers, you need subscription or usage-based pricing models. The challenge is cataloguing billing and securing renewals. It’s easy for customers to forget to renew on their own, regardless of their satisfaction with the product or service.
CPQ’s pricing system helps users track customer lifecycles to stay ahead of contract expirations and reach out to customers proactively. Automated billing also puts customers’ assets in view in one central place, which eliminates the need to cross-reference platforms in order to take inventory on a single customer.
Summary: Connect Touchpoints Throughout Your Customer Lifecycle
In the past, Salesforce users limited software resources to assist them with product quoting and configuration, which prevented them from accurately reporting to finance teams. That slowed down the sales process and ultimately limited their revenue streams (and growth).
These three types of Salesforce CPQ tools are transforming the landscape of B2B sales. Customers expect the “Amazon effect” even in industries with complex products, such as manufacturing or healthcare. They’ll turn to vendors who can offer accurate product visuals, immediate quoting, and simplified billing systems.
When a smooth sales experience brings in more customers and improves customer retention, finance leaders can leverage their sales insights to continue driving business forward.