Salesforce is the first ever cloud-based SaaS company, established in February 1999.
It is the world’s leading CRM software, with greater market share than its biggest competitors - combined.
And Salesforce CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) is one of the leading CPQ systems today, used by thousands of businesses worldwide.
Yet despite its popularity, no software is ever perfect. Salesforce CPQ is not without its challenges - which its users may point out.
A recurring theme amongst Salesforce CPQ users has been the CRM’s interface, with feedback suggesting the UX is restrictive and missing tools available in other software. Excel spreadsheets are the standard for managing high volumes of data quickly, and something familiar to most business professionals. Salesforce CPQ does not have many of the tools that have been built into spreadsheets over the last 4 decades. Instead, it has a flat grid view that is limited to record-by-record editing by navigating back and forth through multiple windows manually.
It begs the question - is Salesforce CPQ a good product or not?
To better understand this, let’s contrast what Salesforce CPQ is built for with the diverse needs of its users.
Salesforce CPQ: Streamlining the Quoting Experience
For many businesses, complex quoting involves many stakeholders, lengthy reviews, and collaboration. Sales teams often have little autonomy and quotes can take weeks or even months to build, putting pressure on conversion rates and subsequent revenue.
Why Salesforce CPQ works
Salesforce CPQ is largely built to provide guardrails to the quoting process, so that sales professionals can build their quotes within an accepted framework and get them to prospects faster. For many, the platform delivers on the value promised and makes quoting easier and faster for users.
Broadly, here are a few ways that Salesforce CPQ streamlines quoting.
User rules and restrictions
Salesforce admins establish security levels that determine each user’s access and ability to manage data. Validation rules prevent data changes from specific sets of users.
Complex pricing structures
For companies that offer a wide range of products and services with complex pricing configurations, Salesforce CPQ automates and simplifies the pricing process, improving efficiency and accuracy.
Scenario testing and optimization
Salesforce CPQ allows users to consider numerous possible pricing scenarios, to build something optimal for the business and the prospect, quickly.
Customized product offerings
Some businesses need to configure products and services to meet specific customer requirements, which Salesforce CPQ may also support.
Now where does Salesforce CPQ challenge its users? Most often for quoting involving high volumes, multiple dimensions, and/or services that are not standardized.
When Salesforce CPQ can fall short
For different quoting needs, Salesforce CPQ presents a number of limitations:
High-volume quoting efficiency
With high-volume quoting, working with hundreds or thousands of records is painful. The interface requires record-by-record edits. Nothing can be done in bulk. What could take minutes in an Excel spreadsheet can take hours or days in Salesforce CPQ.
Then there’s the issue of performance. The Salesforce CPQ engine slows down significantly, or altogether crashes, when dealing with hundreds and hundreds of quote lines. The exact upper limit of what the system can handle is not clear either, so users often get stopped in their tracks unexpectedly.
Support for quoting with multiple dimensions in Salesforce CPQ is simplistic. Each dimension is treated as an individual quote line, forcing users to manage hundreds (or thousands) of quote lines unnecessarily.
As well, a modest quote with dozens of dimensions can quickly result in a high number of individual quote lines that slows Salesforce CPQ down, or even cause a timeout error.
Professional services quoting
Lastly, quoting for something like professional services is almost impossible with Salesforce CPQ. Ironically, the organizations helping businesses implement Salesforce CPQ are often unable to use it themselves due to the complexities of services quoting.
The variability in needs from one quote to the other in professional services is so high that they often cannot be standardized. As a result, Salesforce CPQ as a professional services quoting solution is rarely a viable option.
Overcoming Salesforce CPQ shortfalls
Depending on his/her/their needs, each Salesforce CPQ user’s experience can range from great to poor (or entirely non-viable).
However, Salesforce has developed a vast ecosystem of applications built to enhance its overall capabilities. This includes tools to elevate the CPQ experience.
When the inability to manage hundreds of quote lines is the issue, or a lack of customizability, there is now an answer.
Valorx Fusion grants Salesforce CPQ users exactly what they’re looking for - the fast, familiar usability of Excel spreadsheets for Salesforce. Fusion users can integrate their existing spreadsheets with Salesforce, enabling them to directly work with live CRM data with all the tools available from their spreadsheets.
That means they can edit Salesforce records in bulk, apply countless custom dimensions to their quotes (without adding quote lines), use conditional formatting, use pivot tables, apply formulas, and so much more.
Fusion achieves all this while maintaining the necessary guardrails. All the permissions and data access controls Salesforce administrators have established for its users, are automatically carried over by Fusion when integrating with spreadsheets.
As a tool available in the AppExchange, you can also rest assured that Salesforce’s standards for customer security are maintained by Fusion as well.
So is Salesforce CPQ a good tool? At Valorx, we believe it can add a lot of value for many businesses. It’s for this reason why we’ve built Fusion to augment Salesforce CPQ’s capabilities, enabling us to deliver, in partnership with Salesforce, more value to many more businesses.
So before you take to Reddit, to vent about the latest Salesforce CPQ issues, learn a bit more about how Fusion can help. We’ve created a Salesforce CPQ guide that describes how you can optimize Salesforce CPQ with minimal change management.
Check out The Complete Guide to Optimizing Salesforce CPQ. Download it below.Get the Guide