Chapter 1: Getting Started with Salesforce CPQ Implementation
In this chapter, we will learn what Salesforce CPQ is, as well as begin to identify situations and business needs that can be aided by Salesforce CPQ. Typically, sales personnel spend a lot of time creating quotes, calculating prices, seeking approvals, and working through multiple legacy systems. These legacy tools may not be up to date and so are inaccurate, leading to delays in closing deals as well as impacting customer satisfaction. Salesforce CPQ helps to automate and streamline sales processes and create quotes quickly and efficiently, resulting in increased business revenue, the ability to forecast efficiently, and increased customer satisfaction.
In this chapter, we will cover the following topics:
- The relationship between the sales process and cloud computing
- Understanding the quote-to-cash process
- Introducing Salesforce CPQ
- Salesforce CPQ advantages
- Salesforce CPQ versus Industries CPQ
- Installing Salesforce CPQ
By the end of this chapter, you will be able to install Salesforce CPQ either in a Salesforce test environment or in a production environment. You will also understand when your business needs Salesforce CPQ. With the examples provided in the upcoming chapters in this book, you will learn how to configure, test, and automate Salesforce CPQ.
The relationship between the sales process and cloud computing
In the past, the sales process was done manually. Sales representatives used printed catalogs and assembled quotes by hand. These quotes would then be physically delivered to customers. Changes to a quote or fixing errors in either the product or pricing meant the quote process had to be started again.
Before cloud computing, closing deals included business cards and manual processing. Over the decades, though, the sales process changed along with the advent of technology, and businesses started using automation as a result.
A business that hosts everything in-house is called an on-premises model. The on-premises model of using software also has its own challenges in the form of a lack of flexibility and agility for the sales rep. When data is disconnected, sales reps struggle to keep up with demand. Without the sales process being automated, businesses would face longer sales cycles, resulting in revenue loss.
The limitations that businesses face with an on-premises model were tackled by the introduction of cloud computing. Cloud computing has taken the world of software by storm and the sales process has not been left out, consequently getting a boost in the form of automation with speed, enhanced security, ease of use, centralized reporting, and an efficient sales process.
Salesforce is one of the leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) vendors, having realized the limitations of the traditional on-premises model, leading the transformation of the sales process through their cloud computing software.
With the evolution of cloud computing, the Salesforce sales process has also benefitted. We'll explore the quote-to-cash process in detail in the next section.
Understanding the quote-to-cash process
The sales process is key for any business to be successful. Although this seems pretty simple, right from leads entering the system, generating opportunities, quotes, shipping the products or services, and invoicing the customer, this process can become complex as your business grows. The quote-to-cash process refers to the sales process right from opportunity creation to the invoice being paid by the customer.
In any business, once the marketing team completes the lead generation process, the potential leads will be handed over to the sales team. This marks the entry point of the quote-to-cash process for the sales team. The first step in the quote-to-cash process is creating an opportunity to deliver a quote to a customer. Here is a look at the high-level quote to cash process (this is a generic sales process and this can be tweaked as per the customers' business needs):
- Opportunities are pending sales. You can create an opportunity in your system when the customer is interested in your business's products and services. In Salesforce, an opportunity can be created for an existing account or by converting a qualifying lead.
- Using CPQ software, you can start configuring the products and services, create product bundles, and automate product selection.
- The price is calculated automatically, and relevant discounts can be applied.
- You can then present the quote to the customer. Multiple quotes can be generated to adjust products and prices as per the needs of the customer and the terms and conditions.
- Once a quote is finalized and necessary approvals are completed, an order can be generated.
- Based on your business model and the type of product you are selling, subscriptions and contracts can be created. For example, if there is a one-time purchase such as hardware for the products and services you are selling, there won't be a need for a subscription. If you have a warranty associated with a product, then you need to create a subscription associated with the product.
- Once the customer agrees to place an order, it can be generated, and goods and services are shipped to the customer.
Shipping and invoicing is not a pure CPQ process. Salesforce Billing can be used as an add-on to CPQ and helps customers to have an end-to-end solution on a single platform.
- Finally, an invoice will be created, and the customer is ready to make a payment. Once the customer pays, billing and payments can be processed for the order.
In the upcoming chapters, you will learn in detail how to configure and implement Salesforce CPQ to automate this process. You will also see how renewals can be combined with cross-selling and upselling to increase revenue and continue selling to new and existing customers.
From the preceding brief description, you will realize the important role that the quote-to-cash process plays, from quote creation to payments for your products and services.
When the quote-to-cash process is part of an integrated system, it will result in the following:
- Revenue growth for the business
- Speed and accuracy in the sales cycle using automation
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Improved overall productivity and accuracy
- Profitability for the business
All technical references in this book will be with respect to Salesforce only. You will be advised otherwise if a non-Salesforce-related topic is being discussed.
Introducing Salesforce CPQ
CPQ is cloud-based Salesforce software standing for Configure, Price, Quote. This tool can be used to create a structured and scalable sales process for your company and can provide your customers with accurate pricing for your business's products and services.
Salesforce CPQ was originally called SteelBrick, which was a managed package. CPQ uses most of the standard Salesforce objects, including opportunities, products, and price books. Here are some of the key concepts of the Salesforce business process that will help us have a better understanding of CPQ:
- Opportunities are potential revenue-generating deals for your business. Opportunities go through different stages before the deal is either Closed Won or Closed Lost.
- Accounts are companies that you are doing business with, and Contacts are the people who work for them, while Leads are potential customers that may be people or companies. In B2B business scenarios, leads convert into a business account, contact, or opportunity. For B2C business scenarios, leads convert into a personal account and opportunity.
- Products and services are the items that your company sells. Each of these products can exist in single or multiple price books based on your business model. A price book contains the prices related to these products and services. We will explore these concepts further in Chapter 3, Configuring CPQ Products, and Chapter 4, Configuring CPQ Pricing.
When a CPQ package is installed, custom objects, including subscriptions and quote lines, are added, which extends the native functionality of Salesforce Sales Cloud.
In this section, we are going to dive into CPQ as a concept. This will help us to understand how accurately you can configure products and combine the right products into a single bundle or separately. You can also apply discounts and complex pricing to your products to generate a quote for your customer.
Let's start by exploring C for Configure.
You need to first Configure the product your company is going to sell to its customers. Typically, CPQ is used when the product configuration is more complex than what standard Salesforce can support. When there is a need for product bundling, validations, automatic pricing, and discount calculations, standard Salesforce requires heavy customizations that are hard to maintain. In addition, a simple error in adding a product can delay the sales process. If an error occurs, the rep will need to start the quote all over again and add the right products.
Using Salesforce CPQ, product configuration becomes simple and easy. This configuration can be achieved by answering a few questions related to what the customer wants to buy, including the type of product, quantity, and configuration. When these questions are answered, the related products will be displayed. Using out-of-the-box CPQ configurations products can be bundled together with related products or services, and reps can add the configuration with a few clicks. Bundles can also be configured based on a customer's specific needs.
For example, if your company is selling laptops, the rep does not need to remember the configuration of the laptop and the prerequisites.
Product managers can bundle the following:
- The hardware (laptop), power cables, mouse, and keyboard can all be bundled together
- The warranty, which will be a subscription product based on the customer selection
The rep can then add the configured bundles in one click. When the company has customers across different regions, based on the locations you are selling in, bundles can be adjusted accordingly.
For example, a laptop bundle sold in the US will include a US power cord and a US keyboard. The same bundle, when sold in EMEA, will contain a UK power cord and a UK keyboard.
Product configuration can also provide soft alerts or hard errors. When the rep is configuring and they forget to add an optional component, the system generates a soft alert: Do you need to add a mouse pad? The CPQ can force hard errors on the product configuration when the rep forgets to add a mandatory product such as the power cord.
Automations such as bundling accessories according to the geography and providing alerts if a mandatory component is missed while configuring the products can be configured in a timely manner with Salesforce CPQ. Using CPQ, sales reps will always generate error-free quotes and make the sales process a better customer experience.
In Figure 1.2, a sales rep can use previously created bundles with all the relevant products to create a quote. With one click, the bundle can be added to the quote, and all the products in the bundle will be added automatically.
In the Product Selection page, both standalone products and bundles can be selected as required.
Reps do not have to burden themselves with memorizing the Price of products or referring to a third-party tool or a pricing catalog. They also do not need to waste time on spreadsheets and calculators for complex discount calculations. In addition, they do not need to refer to any additional details to provide extra discounts.
All the pricing logic and discounts can be configured in CPQ, which does all the complex math for you. As a result, reps can stop worrying about the calculations and concentrate on each customer's needs.
If the rep wants to apply discounts or make changes to any of the quantities, the quote can be updated in a matter of a few seconds with the click of a button. With prices changing dynamically for any business, CPQ can automatically pull the active price from the Salesforce price book.
A price book is similar to a catalog with the list of products and services that your company is selling, and the corresponding price associated with them. Salesforce provides two types of price books:
- Standard price book: This contains a list of all the products and services that your company is selling and their default standard prices. A Salesforce admin needs to create a price book entry whenever a new product is created. Also, if the product needs to be sold in multiple countries with different currencies, a price book entry is required for each currency.
- Custom price book: This contains all of, or a subset of, the products from the standard price book with custom prices called list prices. Custom price books are created to offer products at different prices based on region, market segment, or specific customers. For example, we can have one price book for all the products sold in the Americas and another for selling the same products in Asia or Europe.
CPQ allows different pricing methods based upon the type of product. Using the number of units purchased and the discounts applied by the rep, the quote's total price is automatically calculated by the CPQ engine.
When a sales rep is negotiating an opportunity, there can be multiple quotes. However, there can be only one quote that is marked as primary. A primary quote is a quote that will most likely be accepted by the customer, and this gets converted to an order. At any time, all the quote lines from the primary quote are synced to the opportunity.
It is now time to generate a Quote for the previously created product(s). Out of the box, Salesforce CPQ supports generating doc and PDF versions of a quote using a pre-built template. This quote template can also have the company logo embedded to create a professional quote. Dynamic quote templates can be used to change the quote's terms and conditions. We can also dynamically add sections to a quote. This can be integrated with e-signature software (for example, DocuSign) to send the quote to the customer in a matter of minutes and close deals faster.
Shorter sales cycles and more accurate data result in greater customer satisfaction day by day.
What does a quote template contain?
A quote template is a PDF document that contains the products and services that you are selling. It contains the prices associated with these products, including the discounts and the totals. It also includes the terms and conditions specific to your business.
To generate a PDF quote, navigate to a Salesforce org, App Launcher Opportunity Quote Generate Document.
The quote template can be emailed directly to the customer. A sample CPQ PDF quote has been generated next using out-of-the-box Salesforce CPQ functionality:
CPQ high-level object flow
While there are many aspects of Salesforce CPQ, the main objects are products, pricebooks, accounts, opportunities, opportunity products, quotes, quote lines, orders, and contracts. The following diagram shows a high-level CPQ object model:
Opportunity is created from an account. Once the products are added to the quote and the quote is made primary, quote line products sync to opportunity products. An order can be created from an opportunity or quote. Based on the products added to the quote, contracts and subscriptions can be created either from an opportunity or an order. We will learn about object relationships and the data flow in Chapter 9, The CPQ Data Model and Migration Concepts.
Salesforce CPQ Return on Investment Calculator
The decision to implement Salesforce CPQ for your business can be methodically calculated by using the Return on Investment (ROI) calculator, provided by Salesforce. This tool asks you to answer a set of questions that will help you make an informed decision. The questionnaire includes basic questions about your business, such as the number of invoices raised, the number of quotes generated, the number of sales reps, the hourly rates of sales reps, the gross profit margin of your products, and the annual revenue of your business.
The results of the ROI calculator will provide insights into your business regarding increased sales productivity, a reduction in invoicing costs, an increased win rate, and improvements in cash flow, to name a few. These indicators will help you make informed decisions for your business to be successful.
Here is the link for the Salesforce CPQ ROI: https://www.cpqbillingcalculator.com.
Salesforce CPQ advantages
Out-of-the-box Salesforce may not always support all your business needs. Sales reps sometimes struggle to sell complex products with their associated pricing. They resort to the manual generation of quotes to be sent to the customer. Generating quotes that are accurate is one of the biggest challenges that companies face. When the sales process is dependent on accurate data that the rep does not have access to or the quote does not reflect the products and services being sold to the customer, the following may occur:
- A disconnected sales process: When the data used by the sales rep during the sales process is disconnected, it is hard for the sales rep to refer to isolated product catalogs and price catalogs. This sales process will have data discrepancies when the information is stored locally if the source changes, (Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word is referred to as the local copy). Referring to product codes or product names that have changed may result in the pricing not being accurate during the sales process.
- Revenue impact and quote correction: Generating quotes with information that does not reflect accurate pricing of products impacts revenue for the business. Furthermore, retracting such quotes could result in a longer deal closure and a loss of revenue as well.
- Approval and bad customer experience: Sales reps need to chase approvers manually for updated quotes, resulting in potential delays for the customer to receive these quotes. The sales organization may also see a bad customer experience when quotes are retracted, or when quote information needs to be corrected.
- Sales forecast and lack of visibility: The sales org will struggle to forecast the buying habits of the customer accurately and to keep optimal product inventory, resulting in revenue loss for the business.
- A solution that is not scalable: When customized solutions are implemented, the sales process is not scalable. Data will reside in silos and will depend on individuals for access and the retrieval of information.
To address the aforementioned shortcomings and to give more flexibility to the sales organization, Salesforce CPQ is the way forward.
- A predefined process: The disconnected sales process discussed in the previous section can be addressed using Salesforce CPQ. Salesforce CPQ helps you close complex deals quickly. Sales reps can use CPQ to apply discounts, automate product configurations, and create quotes. Salesforce CPQ serves as an internal e-commerce platform. Sales reps can add, modify, and delete items from the cart. The Salesforce CPQ configuration can help sales reps tailor product configuration. It will also act as a guard rail in providing the right products to the right customers.
- Quote change and approval: When the customer requests a change, the sales rep can generate quotes with the company branding and update and/or modify the quotes. Negotiations with the customer become easy for the sales rep, as multiple quotes can be created within a short time. With automation in place using Salesforce CPQ, approvals happen when the criteria are met. Changes to existing contracts that are to be shared with customers can be made easily with add-ons or amendments. Sales reps can generate quotes in Microsoft Word or PDF and can also share them with customers.
- Pricing: Pricing is part of the integrated system and sales reps do not need to refer to a third-party system. They can automatically apply discounts based on volume or customer tiers (for example, premium customers). Sales reps will be provided with proactive suggestions by the CPQ engine, which looks at the buying patterns of customers. These can be added to the cart and quotes will be updated accordingly.
- Customer visibility and customer satisfaction: The sales organization gets a 360-degree view of the customer and works on improvements if gaps are identified. By integrating third-party tools such as DocuSign, deals can be closed faster for better customer satisfaction. Salesforce CPQ is often referred to as the heart of the sales process, ensuring that business rules and technical rules are enforced in every transaction that goes through the system.
In the next section, we will look at Industries CPQ and when it can be used.
Salesforce CPQ versus Industries CPQ
Apart from Salesforce CPQ, the other CPQ used for specific business needs is Industries CPQ. Industries CPQ, formerly known as Vlocity, was acquired by Salesforce in 2020, and it is built on the force.com platform. The solutions that Industries CPQ provides are for specific industries that include telecoms, health, insurance, media, and entertainment. Industries CPQ requires a typically extensive programming effort and is not a direct competitor to CPQ. They serve different needs entirely, even though the end result is generating a quote. Industries CPQ helps companies with complex business models overcome the challenges that are unique to their industries.
Industries CPQ with Salesforce Service Cloud helps companies deliver a personalized solution. For example, in the insurance industry, combining Salesforce Service Cloud's omnichannel capabilities with Industries CPQ helps deliver a personalized and seamless retail experience. For the media and entertainment industry, Industries CPQ can provide a complete industry solution across subscriber and advertising sales life cycles for both B2B and B2C customers. Pre-built modules can be downloaded, deployed, and integrated, with Salesforce removing the burden on the business to come up with new solutions.
In Chapter 11, Understanding Industries CPQ, we'll cover more use cases and Industries CPQ tools and features.
Installing Salesforce CPQ
Before the full implementation is deployed in the production environment, all the required configurations can be done in a test environment. The advantage of using a test environment is that deploying these configurations into production following thorough testing and approval by the business will leave little room for error. All use cases in this book will be demonstrated in a developer org using Salesforce Lightning. Let's get started.
You can skip the installation if you just need to practice CPQ configurations. Salesforce provides a pre-installed CPQ developer org for 90 days. You can get a free training org here: https://developer.salesforce.com/promotions/orgs/cpqtrails.
Before installing Salesforce CPQ, you will need to create a developer org. The developer org comes with sample data for all the Salesforce standard objects. To create a developer org, sign up here: https://developer.salesforce.com/signup. You can then verify your account via email and set up a password.
Salesforce CPQ is a managed package and it needs to be separately installed on any Salesforce org.
Once you have created a developer org, you are ready to install Salesforce CPQ. The following steps can be followed to install CPQ in any Salesforce org:
- Log in to the Salesforce org where the CPQ package needs to be installed.
- If email deliverability is not enabled, you will not receive any email notifications. These could include notifications for the package installation status, for example, completed or failed. Before installing, make sure the email deliverability option is enabled for all users. Navigate to Setup Email Administration Deliverability Access level All email Save.
- To install Salesforce CPQ, go to https://install.steelbrick.com.
- The latest version of the CPQ package is found under the Package Installation Links tab. The current Salesforce CPQ is Spring '22 at the time of writing this book.
- In the Package Installation Links tab, under INSTALLATION LINKS, there are two options: Production and Sandbox.
- Click on the Production link to install in the production instance and click on the Sandbox link to install in the sandbox instance.
- To install the CPQ package in the developer org, click on the Production link under INSTALLATION LINKS. This will prompt the Salesforce login screen.
- Log in to the Salesforce org by providing your credentials.
- After logging in, you will be taken to the Installation screen (Upgrade Salesforce CPQ). Click on Install for All Users and then click Install.
- From here, click Approve Third-Party Access and then click Continue.
- The installation will begin, and it will take few minutes to complete. If the installation of the app takes longer, a notification will be sent to the registered email, once the installation is complete. You can close the Upgrade Salesforce CPQ installation window or leave it as is.
- Verify the installed package by logging in to your developer org or the org where you have installed the CPQ package. Navigate to Set up Installed packages Salesforce CPQ.
- After the package is verified, a new calculation service needs to be authorized in the CPQ package settings before configuring the CPQ automation. To do this, navigate to the Set up Installed packages Salesforce CPQ Configure Pricing and Calculation tab, and then click Authorize New Calculation Service. An Authorize new calculation service message will be displayed until the configuration is selected and completed, as shown here:
Great work! In this chapter, you gained an understanding of the stages through which a quote that is generated by the sales rep gets converted to cash. You also learned about situations where Salesforce CPQ has not been implemented and the difficulties that sales reps undergo with a sales system that does not support closing deals on time and with accuracy.
We have covered in detail what Salesforce CPQ offers to the sales organization in particular, and to your business in general. We also covered the individual components of Configure, Price, and Quote, its meaning, and how it fits into the sales process. We covered the advantages and the ROI for your business organization when CPQ is implemented. We also outlined the steps that are necessary for installing the Salesforce CPQ package. You will be able to utilize the full potential of quote-to-cash automation in the following chapters.
In the next chapter, we will cover how to configure opportunities and quotes, and how to automate approvals.