Using CPQ in a Partner Community

Customers of Salesforce CPQ are hearing a lot of play about Revenue Cloud and all the pieces that encompass it. One of those tools is Partner Community or what us mere mortals would call a “portal”… (one of these days we will stop with jargon but that’s not happening today..)

This article is NOT about how to implement a community. That’s another topic that will take s-e-v-e-r-a-l posts. Instead, let me talk about some hints and tricks about enabling CPQ within a community.

Need Another License

You need a particular license from Salesforce to allow a partner community user’s access. From the last time I did it, the license gives you a large number of CPQ perm set licenses that you can apply to your partner users. As an admin you will still need a way of aligning those perm sets with licenses so you may want to look at automating that functionality (again — go online and search.. Probably lot’s of good ideas out there)

Understand Your Users

In terms of usage within CPQ. Understand that most partner users are not actively using CPQ every day so there needs to be a lot of “guardrails” installed within CPQ to make this work for those users. This means your product rules become more important to help guide users to proper configuration. For bundles – guardrails truly applies because they need to be simple and all the help options applied.Y our Calculator screen is probably going to need a dramatic clean-up in terms of what fields are shown and accessible.

Whatever you think is simple in terms of an interface probably needs to be simplified even more. This creates a moment to examine how you are pricing or managing your quoting experience for all users and not just partners. I see alot of complicated implementations due to lots of needs and sometimes it needs a massive redo. (Did emphasize this enough???)

We’ve seen Customers choose to use a separate pricebook or search filters for partners to keep the product selection simpler.

Consider Security Access

Finally, consider that the partner profile will need access to any fields and custom objects that are used for CPQ. There are some objects that require read-only or edit and it may seem extreme. Understand what allowing CPQ to these users means to your security makeup. Permission Group Sets makes life way way easier to deploy changes.

Summary

So the overarching theme is “Simplify”. It is because most of my portal implementations just didn’t go well since my customer wanted all users to have the same complicated internal experience. That is going to make for a terrible experience. But it can be amazing when it works well.

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