Best Practices

Salesforce CPQ: The Toughest Salesforce Implementation

Salesforce CPQ: The Toughest Salesforce Implementation
Max Maeder
Salesforce CPQ: The Toughest Salesforce Implementation

55% of Rev Ops leaders in our network say that Salesforce CPQ takes the cake in terms of being the toughest Salesforce product to implement and deploy.

I think the challenge with CPQ stems from how deeply intertwined the tool is with the overall Go to Market strategy, front-office processes (Sales), and back-office processes (Finance, Billing).

CPQ is one of the only products that demands all your business areas get together and settle on how to move forward.

High-growth, SaaS startups are constantly evolving, so pricing rules, product bundles, approval processes, and renewal strategies change regularly (especially when new Rev Ops Leaders enter the company).

Problems arise when startups try to customize and automate every workflow the tool touches on day 1.

When a single variable changes, it has a huge downstream impact on how the tool is configured.

Instead, an organization should identify the essential requirements upfront, configure the tool to meet those needs, and take an iterative approach to building out the platform and extending it to other areas of the business.

So, how do you maximize your CPQ's ROI?

👉 Ongoing support

👉 Consistent auditing

👉 Mapping your configuration to your Sales and Billing methodology

👉 Deep integrations

Why is Salesforce CPQ so hard to implement and manage?

There are a variety of factors that make Salesforce CPQ an incredibly complex tool to manage.

#1 It's not a native Salesforce product

For starters, it isn't a 'native' Salesforce product offering.

It's a managed package (built on Salesforce) that was brought into the fold when they acquired SteelBrick in 2016.

While they have spent years integrating it more seamlessly with the core product offering, it has a long way to go and it means changes to the tool are cumbersome.

#2 Business processes must be well-defined

Effectively using Salesforce CPQ requires incredibly well-established business processes before the tool is actually implemented.

Companies that lack a clear methodology in any aspect of their pricing, quoting / Deal Desk, Finance, or Billing workflows will hit issues with CPQ.

#3 Everything is connected

The logic you set up in CPQ needs to be crystal clear.

Conflicting rules in how you set up product bundles, apply discounts, or create pricing rules will create massive downstream headaches.

As a business evolves, these variables inevitably change - and it's a huge lift to adapt your CPQ and Billing tools on an ongoing basis.

How to successfully deploy CPQ?

For these reasons, a phased approach is the most effective way to deploy Salesforce CPQ. Trying to customize and automate every workflow the tool touches on day one is how you hit challenges over time.

Instead, an organization should identify the core requirements upfront, configure the tool to meet those needs, and take an incremental approach to build out the platform and extend its use.

This requires ongoing CPQ support and consistent audits of how the tool is configured and mapped to your Sales and Billing methodology.

And doing it this way requires dedicated resources and a model very similar to Elastic's.

How Elastic Manages CPQ

25% of Elastic's Salesforce team is dedicated to CPQ 👇

Elastic is an enterprise SaaS vendor operating in 30 countries.

👥 1,000+ Salesforce users

🛠 Sales Cloud; Service Cloud; CPQ Cloud; Gainsight; FinancialForce PSA, Netsuite, Xactly

An internal Salesforce team of ~25 people:

• 7 Salesforce Administrators

• 5 Salesforce Developers

• 2 Salesforce Architects

• 8 Salesforce Business Analysts

• 1 CRM Product Owner

Plus, seven on Leadership:

• Director, Enterprise Applications

• Head of CRM Strategy & Engineering

• Director, CRM Applications

• Director, Salesforce Architecture

• Sr. Manager, Biz Tech

• Director, Biz Tech Enablement

• Sr. Manager, Biz Tech Enablement

And 25% of the core Salesforce team (6/25 people) SPECIALIZES in CPQ:

👉 1 out of 2 Architects

👉 3 out of 7 Administrators

👉 2 out of 8 Business Analysts

Elastic's Center of Excellence is the perfect example of a company that understands the difficulties around CPQ and the potential ROI if you resource your team appropriately. 

Need CPQ help?

If you need help with your CPQ instance, don't hesitate to schedule a strategy call with us. FoundHQ has hundreds of experienced, pre-vetted CPQ Consultants who've worked with companies like Google, Stripe, and more ready to jump in and help your team. 

Other Resources on CPQ

We recently interviewed Max Rudman, Founder of SteelBrick and CEO at Prodly, on all things CPQ:

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