So You Want to Implement Salesforce CPQ? Vol. 1

There are plenty of online resources out there to teach someone the basics of this crazy tool. If you haven’t figured out, this site is spending more time on advanced topics and process versus simple use cases. But I couldn’t find many articles that describe “Why?” and “What Should I do First?”

Since I work for a Salesforce Partner, I participate in quite a few sales cycles. I also hear of lots partners offering CPQ implementation services. Let me try to offer some advice:

It’s Not Supposed to Be Easy

I’m always a bit surprised when I hear about CPQ projects that are set up in just a few days or was done “quickly”. CPQ has a fairly deep and wide feature set. If you were set up that fast, did you really need this software? I ask this question because it takes time to build:

  • Product Catalog
  • Search Filters or Guided Selling to keep expired and non-applicable products from selection
  • Product Rules to automatically add, remove and suggest products
  • Price Rules to set complicated pricing, dynamic content for your output documents, and setting fields that summarize data
  • Output documents with conditional sections, graphics, and maybe using e-signature
  • Setting up some kind of Approval for all these quotes
  • Creating Orders and Contracts automatically
  • Managing Amendments
  • And then ensuring that your product catalog will support upgrades, changes and business process updates

Just those items above point to a project that will take time to:

  • Understand the current landscape and appreciate the future
  • Appreciate the process your users are experiencing and are changes necessary
  • Plan your build and discuss ways to make it easier for users
  • Do some work and collect feedback on what has been built, then adjust

This SHOULD be a lot of work. Because unlike many projects, a quoting project involves so many different groups of people to be successful. And to be honest, I know that there are other steps above that some projects require.

Please Plan Accordingly

But ultimately I want you to appreciate that a highly successful project requires lots of preparation. And so I want to arm you with some questions to consider BEFORE taking on a project with Salesforce CPQ. I will try to break this down into some categories and hopefully I have some time to update this page routinely.

Sales Cloud

Is your Sales Cloud well designed and built or are you expecting major changes soon?
Can’t tell you how many times we used to build CPQ and then find out a few weeks into a project and discover that Sales Cloud required MAJOR work. Process changes, Process Builders are a mess, APEX is a mess, user usage is at an all-time low and want to invite CPQ to encourage usage. Oh honey — that’s not the answer.

Please fix your house or wait for a partner like us to come in and TELL YOU that we cannot do this project until Sales Cloud is cleaned up.

Do you have a well-defined process for how and when quotes should be created?

I love customers who assume that as soon as an Opportunity is created, a Quote is needed and then the process blows up. Understand that a Quote is not an Opportunity and they are NOT interchangeable nor are they vice versa. Appreciate when an Opportunity and when a Quote should happen. They have different lifecycles.

Are you considering multi-currency or using Advanced Currency Management?

If you are using Advanced Currency Management (ACM) already then you know that it works well on the Opportunity object and basically no where else (Give it to me. C’mon. It makes the rest of the story sound better). But understanding WHERE your statistics are coming from and their accuracy is important. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about with ACM then stop here and do some research. Hopefully this solution of Sales Cloud and CPQ will be around for years and your decisions today affect those times.

Holy Moly — This is a Big Topic

Realized that this is a big topic and will take several posts.. Stay tuned but if you feel you are getting out of your depth a bit, contact me and let’s talk some more!

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