How Effective are Digital CPQ Solutions for The Sales Pipeline?

Customers want self service, remote interaction and salespeople want to be empowered to convert prospects at speed and scale to help their organisation compete in a digital economy. CPQ was designed for all this. Businesses are poised to benefit significantly from introducing CPQ to their technology mix.

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  • The challenge for businesses in the region lies not in finding opportunities, but working fast enough to be able to capitalise on all. 

    In a bid to streamline sales cycles to seize the advantage, sales leaders are expectedly turning to tech. And among the solutions on offer, one stands apart as being especially relevant and advantageous — Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ). 

    This powerful, streamlined formalisation of the sales pipeline is particularly useful when an enterprise’s offerings are complex and configurable. If, as expected, Middle East sales teams adopt digital CPQ platforms in the coming months, we can expect to see all the right metrics — efficiency, productivity, customer satisfaction — travel upwards.

    CPQ offers the flexibility to individualise customisable offerings for each customer, independent of scale. Onboard pricing tools account for volume discounts, promotions, and other deals based on business rules that tie configuration to cost, allowing profitability and competitiveness to walk hand in hand. All of this happens quickly, accurately, and with a professional polish. How? Let’s examine three ways CPQ solutions reinvent the sales process.

    The AI factor

    These days, wherever you go in the region, you cannot turn your head a smidge sideways without seeing someone experimenting with artificial intelligence (AI). AI and machine learning are also transforming CPQ solutions, which include mechanisms for providing feedback to improve models’ performance.

    AI and ML use cases in CPQ can be seen everywhere from online shopping pages to brick-and-mortar outlets. Smart technologies can get involved in the analysis of customer data and preferences for the purposes of purchase recommendations — not just for individual products but for customisation options. Pricing, of course, mirrors chosen options but also reflects market conditions, past consumer behaviour, and the goals of the business, all in real time.

    As many of us have seen, AI is now able to turn its hand to poetry; the task of generating professional and personalised quotations is therefore no stretch. Quotes include everything a customer could think of asking — discounts, Ts & Cs, and more, as well as upsell opportunities, auto-generated sales drawings, and CAD files. Conversion rates and loyalty can go through the roof. This generative AI knows what questions to ask and when. It knows how to convert a prospect into a loyal customer.

    Remote and mobile sales

    Self-service and remote sales are no longer just for minor purchases. A global report by McKinsey showed 70% of B2B decision-makers were open to remote procurement deals valued at US$50,000 and 27% said they would spend more than US$500,000. CPQ solutions vendors have taken note and are increasingly introducing support for travelling or remote salespeople.

    These vendors are also updating the demo experience (more on that in a moment) and revamping mobile accessibility options to allow hybrid teams to work in or out of the office.

    The benefits of remote operations such as these are well known — reduced costs in terms of travel and operations; greater scalability and flexibility, especially when it comes to accessing new customer and labour markets; and because the customer prefers these types of interaction, satisfaction and loyalty soar as well.

    Also Read: Competing On Experience Is The End Game

    Immersive customer experiences

    I promised more on the new and improved demo experience delivered by modern CPQ solutions. So here it is: augmented reality (AR). AR overlays digital information onto our physical world, like a Minecraft landscape stretching across the living room or a car engine sitting on the kitchen table. Apple, Meta, Google, Sony, Qualcomm, and uncountable others are all working on AR. In the UAE alone, the AR market is expected to top US$88 million this year and continue growing healthily for the foreseeable future.

    The applications branch education, healthcare, gaming, and retail. And, of course, CPQ, which can use AR to present products to remote customers in new and engaging ways. This is not just good for checking out the aesthetics of, say, furniture or clothing. Interaction is also possible through AR, so customers can see how a solid product would look and feel when changing features — functional or aesthetic — and also see how different configurations affect price.

    AR in CPQ allows customers to get to grips with a product or service more deeply and intuitively, in many instances, than if they had attended a demo in a showroom. This leads to greater confidence and trust in the offering and accelerates the sales cycle. It also reduces returns rates and the occurrence of other post-sales hiccups.

    Additionally, AR reduces the time needed to generate a quote because self service allows quotes to be generated almost in real time, right before the browsing customer’s eyes. It also reduces the costs associated with physical samples and prototypes and frees up the resources normally expended on on-site demonstrations. The end result of AR is increases in sales revenue and profitability and more effective upselling and cross-selling.

    Shaping the future

    The region’s businesses are poised to benefit significantly from introducing CPQ to their technology mixes. In the UAE — a nation known for shaping the future — CPQ will be the latest example of emerging technology adopted to take advantage of a trend. Customers want self-service. They want remote interaction. Employees want to work remotely and more effectively. Salespeople want to be empowered to convert prospects at speed and scale to help their organisation compete in a digital economy. CPQ was designed for all this.  


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