5 Ways To Create Greater Customer Engagement With CPQ

The future of complex selling is being defined by emerging trends in Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) today. Real-time integration that gets customers the data they need, when and where they need it are the most powerful catalysts driving this change. Real-time integration is also driving greater customer intelligence and insights. These and other insights are from The Forrester Wave™: Configure-Price-Quote Solutions, Q1 2017 by John Bruno February 7, 2017 (17 pp., PDF). Forrester’s’ latest CPQ market analysis illustrates how the future of CPQ is being defined by real-time integration and customer intelligence today. Presented below are 5 ways any company can create greater customer engagement with CPQ.

  • Purpose-optimized integration that scales business logic, pricing, product availability, production, fulfillment and services data between ERP and CRM systems is a leading indicator of CPQ’s future growth.
  • Best-in-class CPQ strategies today capitalize on Salesforce’s known user interface and usability to increase adoption, strengthened by business logic, pricing and production data from SAP ERP systems.
  • Enabling real-time integration between Salesforce and SAP systems creates entirely new opportunities for greater customer engagement while eliminating errors caused by swivel-chair

Real-Time Integration Is Opening Up New Opportunities For Customer Engagement

The key to accelerating sales cycles is having the flexibility of configuring, pricing and quoting exactly what a customer wants, anywhere, anytime on any device. Sales teams whose CPQ systems are built on real-time SAP to Salesforce integration can sell faster than competitors and scale across more channels easily. And they can get more done using the familiar Salesforce interface that simplifies quoting, pricing, configuring and getting a quote out faster than competitors. Combining selling speed, scale and app simplicity opens up the following opportunities for greater customer engagement with CPQ:

  1. Remove the roadblocks of having to rely on physical, bulk and batch movement of data and create quotes in real-time instead. Slowness and lack of response are the most formidable competitors any sales team faces on a daily basis. Deals are lost when quotes take weeks to get done, and won when sales teams can respond in real-time. It’s often the first sales rep to provide a complete quote that wins deals. Real-time integration between SAP and Salesforce is a must-have to accelerate sales cycles and defeat one of the toughest internal competitors any company has, which is slow and incomplete responses on quotes.
  2. Improve quote and order accuracy, product quality and on-time delivery performance by resolving to get free of all swivel chair integration. Getting beyond manual integration and having ERP and CRM system integrated with real-time links drastically improves customer engagement. Taking this step is one of the best decisions one of the world’s leading producers of specialty trucks ever did. Before doing this, every order was reworked on average six times, and product quality was below standard. With real-time integration, order accuracy skyrocketed and product quality improved by 65% in 90 days. Customer satisfaction increased, as did sales.
  3. Being able to deliver the same intelligent, contextually relevant buying experience to customers regardless of the channel they choose to purchase According to recent industry estimates, 82% of B2B purchases are researched on mobile devices before a purchase is ever made. And the figure is higher for B2C customers, approach 93%. The world is multichannel today, and the sooner companies realize this and redefine their ERP, CRM, and sales automation, e-commerce and analytics systems to this reality, the more sales they’ll achieve. Customer expectations of being able to use any channel, anytime and have the same excellent experience are the new normal. Only by having real-time integration between these enterprise systems, specifically SAL and Salesforce, will any company hope to stay relevant to customers over the long-term.
  4. Provide support and service answers to customers whenever and wherever they need them, regardless of device or location. All customers, from the most demanding Business-to-Business (B2B) accounts to the many Business-to-Consumer (B2C) sales made on Amazon each day, expect 24/7 access to support, service and returns information. There’s an always-on expectation everyone has today. With real-time SAP to Salesforce integration, any company can be responsive and provide exactly what customers want, when they want it. To neglect this aspect of being completely committed to responsiveness is to leave future sales to competitors for the taking.
  5. Relying on real-time integration to gain entirely new insights into future customer goals, preferences, needs, and wants. Real-time integration is creating entirely new opportunities to learn what customers want before they specifically ask for it. By having real-time integration between SAP, Salesforce, e-commerce and sales automation systems, predictive analytics and machine learning are being used to predict which customers will buy when and why. Real-time integration becomes the enabler or greater customer intelligence. The bottom line is that the vision of a 360-degree view of the customer is finally achievable, due to the advances in purpose-optimized integration strategies that rely on service-oriented frameworks that can flex to business model needs.

About the Author:

I am a Forbes contributing columnist, industry analyst and blogger, and serve as Director, Global Cloud Product Management at Ingram Cloud. Previous positions include product marketing at iBASEt, Plex Systems, senior analyst at AMR Research (now Gartner), marketing and business development at Cincom Systems, Ingram Micro, a SaaS start-up and at hardware companies.

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