February 7, 2017
If you’re in a B2B environment, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the changing behaviors of your customers in recent years. As a result, technologies have shifted their focus to get closer to the customer and I'm not talking about just CRM or SFA. With a flurry of acquisitions and new entrants to the CPQ market popping up regularly, we decided to tighten the aperture and evaluate the top 11 CPQ vendors in The Forrester Wave™: Configure-Price-Quote Solutions, Q1 2017. These vendors do the most to address the rising, empowered B2B buyer. Below are some of the key findings from the report:
Customer and buyer experiences become a priority. CPQ is not about engineers. It’s not even about sellers anymore. CPQ is about the customer, and in this case that means both the end buyer of your products and the customers of your technology (indirect channels selling on your behalf) expect easy and effective interactions. CPQ is now a key enabler to delivering a high quality customer experience.
CPQ has no channel limitations. CPQ is not, I repeat, is not a back office solution anymore. It’s long addressed the needs of front line sales reps, and now it extends its functionality to all available channels. This means companies can extend the same business rules and logic to indirect channels (i.e. partners, dealers, distributors, etc.), customer service reps, eCommerce sites, and even emerging channels like IoT devices.
Intelligent recommendations start to become reality. 2016 brought with it a tremendous amount of hype around artificial intelligence, but one of the limiting factors in sales is the volume and quality of data. CPQ, with the volume and cleanliness of its data, will be one of the first sales technologies do deliver valuable recommendations. Vendors are already providing dynamic pricing and product recommendations today.
For more on CPQ, CRM, and sales technologies, make sure to subscribe to my research and follow me on Twitter. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Are you using or planning to use CPQ? How do you see it changing the way you sell?