Global Salesforce native Quote-to-Cash leader CloudSense has issued a stark warning that the Aberdeen Group’s latest CPQ research fails to fully advise businesses on how to sell more effectively.
The findings, in the “Configure Price Quote: Better, Faster Sales Deals Enabled” report from Aberdeen’s Peter Ostrow position investment in CPQ platforms as a key driver for improved sales effectiveness. While certainly true, especially if businesses are stepping up from spreadsheets or pieces of paper, it is a mantra that has been repeated for the last five years and business requirements have moved on as customer demands change.
CloudSense CEO Richard Britton is clear that CPQ platforms are a good place to start. But the rapid evolution of the global marketplace means that businesses will only truly succeed if they move beyond CPQ and into a fully managed sales life cycle that connects all channels, including digital, into the sales process.
“While the report validates our views on the importance of CPQ as a foundation for Quote-to-Cash, successful companies working with multiple products and across multiple sales channels are looking for a Quote-to-Cash journey which can go beyond the standard functionality of configure price quote then forget,” Britton explains. “configuring software has been evolving since the 1980’s and while there is no doubt that investment in CPQ will improve sales effectiveness for companies relying on spreadsheets or paper, the sales effectiveness landscape is changing so quickly that most solutions are no longer fit for purpose. So for us, Aberdeen’s latest findings are too narrow – we know from our customers that to achieve real sales process efficiency, much more is required.”
“The leading companies focus on making the customer journey easy and intuitive, with a holistic approach to the systems they use for sales and order fulfilment. Centring sales channels around an agile catalog makes it easy to offer what customers want to buy. Online web shops, Sales teams, customer service agents and field based sales need different user interfaces but point solutions and silos are short term strategies that will continue to limit company performance. For the customer the journey only starts with the sale. The best companies continue the easy and intuitive customer journey into quick and transparent fulfilment, followed by informed and empowered customer service. A complete Quote-to-Cash platform that includes CPQ, enables companies to go beyond just the challenges of an individual sales person to addressing the challenges of all your customers.”
Ostrow’s Aberdeen report pinpoints the growing momentum for CPQ platforms, particularly in top performing business sales organisations, and highlights that these businesses are seeing higher lead conversion than those yet to embrace CPQ technologies. When the report compared the year-on-year change of customer renewal rate, those using CPQ reported a 3.9% increase compared to -0.6% from all others.
But Britton is in no doubt that the organisations that will really thrive are those that take that further step: “Of course businesses need CPQ, and the Aberdeen report clearly maps out the benefits it can bring, even if it doesn’t truly contrast the paper-based business against the true innovators that we see in our own customers. But going beyond CPQ is the crucial next step in the journey to not just sales effectiveness but customer effectiveness. We have seen time and time again that even those companies that have built up a substantial record of success are overtaken by competitors that are now able to do it better.“
“Going beyond CPQ provides companies with measurable improvements in sales, reduced administration time and fewer order errors. It also enables companies to launch new products and prices fast that maximise the sales order value through easier up- and cross-selling and bundling of different products and services.”
CloudSense is experiencing strong global growth for its Salesforce-native Quote-to-Cash platforms across the telecoms, media, utilities, data centers and other industries where sales are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Recent new customers include UK telecoms giants EE and O2, US data center leaders Coresite and energy supplier EDF Luminus to name just a few.