Some professional services firms are challenged to maintain a top-quality experience for customers and sales representatives involved in generating or receiving pricing and quotations for service plans and renewals. Today, we provide an overview of how Salesforce CPQ can enhance this aspect of professional services sales. Sikich consultants can configure the Salesforce environment to deliver the unique experience quality you want to provide as pricing and quoting workflows become more timely and efficient.
What gets in the way of service sales?
In many companies, professional services firms included, sales reps spend approximately 34 percent of their time actively selling to prospects. The remainder of their workdays is absorbed by ancillary tasks, such as developing quotes and proposals and obtaining approvals for them. When professional services businesses grow and need to manage more customer renewals add-on sales, or subscription programs, sales teams may be overwhelmed by those increasing parts of their workloads that aren’t actual sales activities.
Some firms provide their reps with quote configurator software to help them streamline pricing and quoting workflows. Doing so can make part of the process easier but may require looking up customer and service information in other systems and accurately entering it into the configurator software. Some configurator products allow routing a quote or proposal to an approver, but many don’t. Once the rep has forwarded a quote to a customer, follow-up steps and customer responses will usually need to be recorded in another software tool. Similarly, when customer contracts are up for renewal, a CRM system or sales software may flag this as an action for sales reps, but renewal quotes will still need to be created in the configurator software.
Clients and professionals look for a higher standard
Traditionally, professional services firms have often been successful in spite of inefficient sales processes and inaccurate quotes. Customers and prospects were used to a certain level of communications churn until they had a reliable, approved quote. To reach their revenue goals, companies increased their staffing, experimented with different hiring and training practices for sales professionals, or gave additional or higher discounts to customers in the hope of building volume.
However, customers are not as accepting of a less-than-great sales experience as they maybe once were. If they rely on consistently high-quality services once they accept a service firm’s quote, stumbles and delays upfront can seemingly foreshadow further problems during the engagement. They might prefer to reassess their options. And, when professional services companies are challenged to recruit and retain seasoned, effective sales talent, professional reps may well prefer a work environment where they can feel empowered and don’t need to struggle with disparate tools and cumbersome processes that can get in the way of sales success and customer satisfaction.
Smooth, simple, consistent process for configuring, pricing, and quoting
One way for professional services firms to resolve their quoting and proposal quandary is Configure, Price, Quote Software by Salesforce, also known as Salesforce CPQ. As Salesforce CPQ resides within the Salesforce Revenue Cloud, it feeds off existing customer data and service-related information on the Salesforce platform. Sales reps can quickly configure service offerings, price them, and expedite a quote—without using any other software tools or asking for assistance. Within Salesforce CPQ, they can update quotes, extend permitted discounts, obtain approvals, and update opportunities in automated workflows.
Professional services companies can apply their own business rules when they set up Salesforce CPQ, making sure that pricing, service deliverables, contract terms, and other details are accurate and complete without forcing sales reps to second-guess themselves or go through a distracting validation process.
In the Sikich experience, professional services businesses can achieve remarkable results with Salesforce CPQ. Our clients realize changes similar to the findings of Salesforce customer research, for example:
- 80 percent faster quote delivery
- 95 percent reduction in approval time
- 10 times faster quote generation
- 50 percent cut in quote-to-cash time
- 38 percent improvement in pricing accuracy
- 30 percent faster ramp-up to productivity for new reps
Foreshadowing an excellent customer experience
Once Sikich consultants or your internal Salesforce experts have configured Salesforce CPQ, you can make it easier for sales reps to succeed. With automated cross-sell recommendations, pre-established discounts and incentives, and fast approvals, they can keep their attention on engaging with customers instead of the supporting processes. Already at this early stage, customers can experience the responsive, value-driven character of the services provider they consider for a new contract or a renewed commitment. Both sales reps and customers can use any mobile or fixed device they prefer to connect through the cloud to exchange proposal documents and provide feedback on them.
Timely renewals instead of customers at risk
For many professional services companies, capitalizing on customer renewals can be an important channel for creating revenue and retaining loyal customers. When their renewals process is inefficient or tardy, both revenue and customer relationships can be at risk. Salesforce CPQ provides automatic, timely reminders when contracts come up for renewal, allowing reps to ensure the continuity of the customer engagement and offer any additional subscription or other services that might be of interest. Sikich can also configure Salesforce to allow clients to complete their own renewals. If they pause a self-service renewal, the system allows them to pick up where they left off, so they don’t have to retrace their steps.
Bridges across teams and technologies
Given that Salesforce CPQ is part of the Salesforce Revenue Cloud, professional services firms can manage the entire customer lifecycle, including billing, within the same software environment. They can recognize revenue accurately and in a timely manner. We often perform integrations to extend the platform even more. For example, integrating Salesforce with a company’s ERP system can help an organization manage the prices of service offerings based on financial data in ERP. Information from the ERP software can also make it possible to offer sales reps a complete catalog of services and products in Salesforce CPQ, including bundled solutions. In addition, we often integrate Salesforce with Conga software to help our clients simplify and automate the creation, delivery, and lifecycle management of quotes and contracts. Frequently, we also integrate the widely used DocuSign software with Salesforce CPQ to streamline the interactions around quotes and proposals.
The Next Step for Digital Transformation in Professional Services
Sikich is a certified Salesforce partner and has both the resources and the knowledge to help your organization implement the best tools to improve and transform your business. Interested in learning more about Salesforce CPQ? Please, contact us at any time!