That means companies will have their choice of the CPQ software they use. As you go through the selection process, you’ll want to keep in mind the top trends in CPQ software for 2020 and look for products that offer or will offer these advanced capabilities, including advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and extending CPQ outside of engineering and into CRM.
Advanced Analytics in CPQ software
Right now, CPQ systems can provide analytics related to sales conversions and how many quotes turn into sales orders. Most built-in analytics will also help companies identify which product options, features, and services customers are most interested in.
But CPQ systems have a lot of data in them, as they continue to evolve, they’ll also be able to access analytics that will help upsell the customers and achieve a higher average order price. Companies will also be able to use this data to identify gaps in their business processes, such as the time it takes a deal to be approved. More tools are also incorporating predictive analytics, especially in larger systems from companies like Oracle. These CPQ systems also tend to have more mature sales-related reporting.
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While predictive analytics is certainly a small piece of it, more CPQ systems, including newer entrants to the market, will also include AI features for things like guided selling. This creates a set of questions that sales representatives answer about customers, like their company size or industry.
Then, the sales representative is “guided” to the best product or products for the customer and can help them also select the right options and accessories for the products. It’s based on business rules and logic, and it helps speed up the sales process and simplify it for the sales team, particularly for companies that have a large product selection that spans a lot of different industries.
AI will also help with decision making and price optimization.
It can help users develop pricing models and likely outcomes based on different configurations and products, as well as analyze historic price patterns and sell points. This is especially useful for identifying promotions that worked best with new customers, for example.
Extending CPQ Outside of Engineering and Sales
As guided selling becomes more commonplace, companies will start to see more of CPQ outside of engineering. Sales will be able to quickly configure packages for customers, and one big trend in CPQ software will be creating a self-service portal for customers to make their own choices, based on the guided selling rules and business logic.
For example, a customer may be trying to choose a metalworking fluid. The guided selling tool in the customer portal would ask them to choose their industry from a drop-down menu. When they select “Aerospace,” they would then be asked questions about the types of material they’re using in the metalworking application, such as an alloy, and what type of metalworking application they’re doing, like grinding or tapping. This type of tool would then present options for them, and it would be up to the customer to choose from one of a handful of options that are ideal for this industry and application.
Ultimately, CPQ software is changing to meet the new needs of organizations in the digital age.
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- Check out this archived blog post for additional insight: