Visual CPQ: Giving Customers What They Want

There is a meme going around showing a boardroom of folks saying “Digital transformation is years away. I don’t see our company having to change anytime soon.” Outside the window is a wrecking ball with COVID-19 stamped on the side.

So many of us have been caught flatfooted, thinking that there was more time to enact the changes penciled in on our roadmaps. Tools and processes that would make doing business with us easier. Make doing business easier.

These roadmaps often include CPQ. That acronym sits on a lot of SWOT analyses and issues lists, often without real alignment and understanding inside the organization.

The takeaway

Visual CPQ – Configure. Price. Quote.

Companies on average see a 7% increase in close rates, a 12% increase in profit per deal, a 13% decrease in order/project errors. One company saw their sales and marketing print spend decrease by 50% in the first year, and customer satisfaction scores increase by 15%.

Home Depot CPQ

What’s a visual CPQ?

CPQ stands for Configure, Price, and Quote, and can be smaller than a breadbox or bigger than a bread factory depending on the company and products. And that’s one of the reasons why CPQ initiatives often get stalled out in the planning phase and never completed.

For the sake of talking about CPQ in the customer buying experience, let’s define it as: The ability for customers to configure your product based on their requirements.

Whether that’s building a car with all the upgrade options, buying the right casement window for your house, specifying an industrial tunnel washer, or configuring the micro-layers of the glass on the latest smartphone for manufacturing.

The demands of more informed customers combined with the current constraints of talking to them have made CPQs even more critical. It’s also an opportunity. Visual CPQs that leverage 3D models and product visualizations have even greater ROI.

Our clients on average see a 7% increase in close rates, a 12% increase in profit per deal, a 13% decrease in order/project errors. One client saw their sales and marketing print spend decrease by 50% in the first year, and customer satisfaction scores increase by 15%.

What is a Visual CPQ

What does it look like?

An effective solution functions as an experience and not just an order taker. 

There are multiple goals for effective CPQ solutions. Here are just a few: product orders/reorders, upsell/cross-sell, acceleration of the sales cycle, the accuracy of ERP and manufacturing forecasting, business and market intelligence, customer education, standardization of sales and pricing, sales training. 

In addition to accurate specifications and product information, CPQs that result in purchases include product comparisons, specification explanations, and visualizations. These are the things that differentiate you from the competition. Customers often buy because it’s an exceptional experience. 

Best in class CPQ experiences provide:

  • Expert Guidance – Help customers quickly understand the value of the product and what solution it provides.
  • Configuration Confidence – Inspire confidence that the recommended solution is the right one. 
  • Personalization & Customization – Start with products and configurations based on customer profiles and preferences.
  • Actionable Results – Generate shareable specifications or BOM ready for purchase or order fulfillment.

Generating leads & accelerating the sales cycle

Lead generation is another goal and one that lends itself to piloting and quick feedback.

Start with a key product or product line and build a dynamic visual CPQ experience for lead generation quickly. 

Existing CAD files can be transformed into interactive 3D models to excite prospects and demonstrate value and innovation. Configuration can be presented as an elegant and simple experience. Results can be saved, shared, and/or sent for purchase and fulfillment. Embedding the CPQ on your website and apps, and leveraging it on social channels, can expand adoption and open it up to be used by sales reps and dealers. 

3M Max Designs CPQ

We’re all being forced to change more quickly than we expected or wanted. We have to evolve how we sell and do business. That wrecking ball outside the window is not going away.

When a sales rep or a dealer could sit with the customer and gather requirements, the tool and processes didn’t need to work as hard. So what if the configuration was full of jargon or clunky? So what if all the product specs weren’t included or out of date? So what if it didn’t integrate with the ERP or allow for purchase directly from the configuration? The sales rep or dealer could manage through the experience and explain away deficiencies or gaps.

Some of the things on our digital transformation checklists would have helped with these transitions. We’re finding that visual CPQ is one of the solutions our clients are finding most effective – from lead generation to remote sales enablement to purchase and reorder. It’s also what customers have been wanting for a long time.