5 Ways Salesforce CPQ Helps Manufacturing Firms Close Deals Faster

Chances are, your sales process is nothing like a restaurant’s. There, they have a pre-set menu, limited ability to customize,

5 min. read

Chances are, your sales process is nothing like a restaurant’s. There, they have a pre-set menu, limited ability to customize, fixed pricing — everything is built for the quickest possible transaction at a single point of sale.

But the realities of your manufacturing business make your sales cycle completely different from a cut-and-dried model. Whether you’re managing a massive product catalog, hundreds of customization options of a base model, intricate discounting logic or all the above, these complexities make it difficult to manage your quoting process. And that’s especially true if you don’t have the right technology.

That’s where Salesforce CPQ can provide a world of difference. It’s specifically built to help manufacturing firms like yours manage complex quoting and pricing rules all in one system. Here are 5 specific ways it helps manufacturers close deals faster.

5 Benefits Salesforce CPQ Provides Manufacturing Firms

1. The ability to customize complex product bundles and packages

If your products are made-to-order, then you’ll love the flexibility of Salesforce CPQ’s bundling and product validation logic. Because you can set up all of your available product features as bundle components, so whenever a rep is constructing a quote, all of the available customization options appear on one, easy-to-navigate screen.

For example, let’s look at an auto manufacturer. They could set up CPQ so that, once the rep selects the base model of vehicle, the correct options for engine models, color packages, wheels and add-on features appear. What’s more, the system can auto-select default choices at each step, allowing reps to navigate these screens much more quickly, because clicks are only required when deviating from the standard model.

Finally, you can also control that flexibility, to keep your reps from selling a package that you can’t actually produce. To stick with the car example, that could mean that specified luxury features must come with others (walnut trim with leather seats, for example). Or, for pickup trucks, you could lock down which sizes of pickup bed can come with which cab sizes. These features keep your engineering and quality assurance teams happy — because they’re not being asked to create physically-impossible products — while giving your reps the functionality they need to quote quickly.


2. A method for organizing large catalogs

On the flip side, companies with extensive product catalogs can use Salesforce CPQ’s dynamic bundling and filtering logic to maintain their massive array of product options with little back-end legwork. To stick with the car example, let’s say that whenever a rep builds a quote involving a standard sedan, they need to select a color and finish for the exterior. With dynamic bundling and filtering, once your team adds a new option to that list of colors in the back-end, it automatically appears as a choice in any product-specific bundles that reference that list. This functionality can save your admin team days of effort every year reconfiguring your whole catalog every time you add a new option.

Fair warning, though: You can’t constrain these types of dynamic bundles as much as standard CPQ bundles. So, choosing this option means sacrificing some of the validations I described above for ease of maintenance. We recommend working with a CPQ expert when getting started to figure out which approach is right for your business.

3. Multi-layered discounting logic

These complex quoting features allow you to accurately price based on all of the product options selected in the bundle. But that just returns the list price, and we all know that you rarely sell anything at list price. From there, you may need to factor in volume discounts, distributor discounts, discretionary discounts, you name it.

And Salesforce CPQ offers the ability to do so. We’ve discussed Salesforce CPQ discounting functionality in a previous blog, but here it’s worth reemphasizing that CPQ gives reps the ability to use multiple tiers of discounts. It also lets you control the order of these discounts, set limits to discretionary discounts and apply all of these discounts to a contracted price. So, no matter which way you slice it, Salesforce CPQ gives your manufacturing firm the flexibility to price however your business needs to, letting you price competitively while still protecting your margins.

4. Customer access to all of the above through portals or communities

Every Salesforce CPQ feature I’ve described has the power to save your sales reps hours of time each week. And CPQ even lets manufacturers take this functionality to the next level by exposing quoting pages to customers and partners through a branded website, portal or community. Imagine all the tools we described above at the fingertips of your customers or distributors, allowing them to create their own quotes with all of your pricing and engineering standards built in. From there, they press one button, and the quote is sent to the correct teams — an internal sales rep, quality assurance, order fulfillment, whomever.

Think about how much time that could save for your business. Pairing CPQ with a Salesforce Partner Community can enable your resellers and distributors to re-order products without unnecessary back-and-forth. Or using it with a Salesforce Customer Community lets your end customers order products themselves, shortening your sales cycle drastically. The best use case for Salesforce CPQ — whether it’s in the hands of your internal reps, independent vendors or customers — depends on the needs of your business. But no matter how you use it, it can deliver its functionality wherever, whenever you need it in your ecosystem.

5. Advanced approval processes to get every quote signed off quickly

Finally, as we mentioned in a previous blog about CPQ add-ons, advanced approvals in CPQ allows your team to route quotes to the right parties quickly for sign-off. Whether the quote comes from an internal rep or an external party, like a distributor or vendor, you can involve multiple teams — engineering, QA, finance, sales management, etc. — in the quoting process. So, instead of passing a single Word document back and forth between every team, these approvals turn Salesforce into a collaborative workspace where everyone can come to an agreement about the specifications involved in a quote.

And with advanced approvals’ complex routing logic, you can reduce the time it takes to get a quote through multiple teams. You can send the same quote to two separate teams at the same time (engineering and finance, for example). And, if a quote gets rejected at any step of the process, it can skip directly to its previous step upon resubmittal. No need to get approval from people who’ve already signed off on it!

So it’s no wonder that so many manufacturers are turning to Salesforce CPQ to shorten their sales cycles and improve quoting accuracy. Have questions about what CPQ could do for your manufacturing firm? Drop up a line — we can put you in touch with one of our CPQ experts.