How to Choose the Best Salesforce CPQ Implementation Partner (for Your Business)
If you are:
- Considering a Salesforce CPQ implementation because your team is struggling with orders and pricing
- In the process of a CPQ implementation and need support that’ll ensure you configure it exactly right to set your team up for success
- Rethinking and optimizing your existing Salesforce CPQ implementation because it hasn’t solved your original issues or still requires your team to perform more manual work than necessary
Then, this guide will help you select the best CPQ partner for your business — step-by-step. We’ll also share a list of questions that you can use to vet potential CPQ partners.
Step 1. Define your needs
Before you begin evaluating potential Salesforce CPQ implementation partners, it’s crucial to define the key issues you aim to solve as well as the potential benefits of CPQ, and its effectiveness in resolving those issues.
CPQ can resolve some issues such as:
- Time inefficiencies
- Cumbersome approval processes
- Quote inaccuracies and inconsistencies
- Data management and quality issues
- Difficulties creating custom quotes
- Revenue reporting limitations and inaccuracies
The next step is to consider the type and level of Salesforce CPQ implementation support you need:
- Are you looking for a full service, end-to-end team of experts to lead, implement, and support your Salesforce CPQ implementation on an on-going basis?
- Will you rely on in-house CPQ experts but still want the support of a trusted partner to stretch your team’s capacity and help manage the workload?
- Would you prefer to partner with a Salesforce CPQ implementation agency that will lead the charge while also leaning on your in-house resources to reduce third-party costs?
By understanding your implementation resource strategy ahead of time, you’ll be better positioned to identify the best Salesforce CPQ implementation or optimization partner for your organization.
Step 2. Consider your options
Do you prefer to work with a larger firm or a smaller firm that specializes in SaaS? Although this question isn’t simple or straightforward to answer as it may sound, the answer could be a catalyst to narrowing down your search significantly.
Larger firms typically have more people-power than smaller, specialist firms. It’s also fair to say that some may lean on one-size-fits-all solutions — and that could be precisely what your organization needs.
But if your organization requires customizations, tailor-made solutions, or some adaptive integrations, a more specialist, boutique firm is likely better-positioned to provide the agile solutions required to address your unique needs. This is because CPQ customization varies considerably based on how you bundle products, renew and upsell contracts, add or change product classifications, and finally, how you update pricing.
For example, OpFocus specializes in solving the complex quote and pricing issues and recurring revenue challenges SaaS businesses face. This narrow and deep focus on SaaS has enabled us to experience an extensive array of unique problems and needs. It’s also allowed us to acquire the expertise needed to tackle specialist SaaS CPQ implementations with confidence — and in a way that more general firms can’t.
Step 3. Vet potential partners
Now that you’ve identified potential Salesforce CPQ partners, it’s time to evaluate their past performance, expertise, and capabilities thoroughly — and whether they’ve helped solve issues like yours, at businesses like yours.
Perhaps the first step in evaluating past performance is to dig deep into their CPQ case studies, paying close attention to their results and their testimonials. Look for a firm with a long track record of successful and hassle-free CPQ implementations.
The evaluation doesn’t stop here. It’s important to go one step further and evaluate the professionals working at each firm. Look at their experience, their career tracks, and how they can bring different perspectives to your team — and don’t hesitate to ask for references.
Reliable and effective CPQ consultants should not only have the experience and expertise needed to manage successful CPQ implementations, but they should also have the relevant Salesforce education and qualifications to back it up.
For example, our amazing Aline Nouh is a Senior Salesforce CPQ Consultant at OpFocus and has an impressive amount of specialist qualifications, including:
- Salesforce Certified Administrator
- Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist
- Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant
- Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant
- Conga Certified Administrator
- Conga Certified Composer
Be sure to partner with Salesforce-Certified CPQ Specialists, as Salesforce Administrators alone are unlikely to have the expertise needed to deal with Salesforce CPQ configuration, tools, rules, and governance.
5 Essential questions to vet potential Salesforce CPQ consultants
It’s time to begin talks with your preferred CPQ partners.
Here’s a handy list of CPQ questions to ask potential partners — we hope these questions help guide your decision and set the stage for a successful CPQ implementation:
1. “Do you only implement new Salesforce CPQ instances, or do you also optimize existing ones?”
Even if you need a net new Salesforce CPQ implementation, it’s wise to choose a firm with extensive experience optimizing existing implementations. These firms will have a deeper understanding of how to implement CPQ to empower your growth in the long term. Plus, their expertise in fixing and optimizing CPQ issues will guide them to implement CPQ in a way that avoids common pitfalls.
2. “Is CPQ right for my team? Is now the right time for us to implement CPQ?”
A promising partner should enthusiastically lead an open and honest discussion about whether CPQ is the right fit for your team — this is a good signal that the Salesforce CPQ consultants have your best interests in mind.
3. “What experience do you have implementing CPQ with businesses like ours? What specific challenges did you encounter, and how did you overcome them?”
By asking CPQ consultants about their past successes and challenges, you’ll have more information to gauge the depth of their experience and how it applies to your business’s situation.
4. “What challenges do you anticipate we’ll encounter? What opportunities can you help us capitalize on?”
Whether sourcing data from multiple disjointed systems and spreadsheets or tackling complex calculations to address discounts, bulk pricing, and renewals, look for a consultant who demonstrates a deep understanding of your unique challenges and knows how to solve them.
Similarly, whether it’s cutting quoting time or accelerating renewals, a seasoned CPQ consultant should also be able to pinpoint the most exciting opportunities that CPQ will enable your business to unlock — and also know how to achieve them.
5. “What’s your average length of partnership with clients? What’s a reasonable timeline my team should expect?”
These questions will allow the firm to demonstrate their experience and confidence in their understanding of your business’s situation, challenges, and opportunities — as well as give you a realistic view of your timeline, expenses, and when you can expect to see a return on your CPQ investment.
10 Essential questions every Salesforce CPQ consultant should ask you
When you speak with potential Salesforce CPQ consultants, there are questions they should ask that indicate they’re considering your entire business from beginning to end. These questions will specifically involve how orders and renewals should behave in the future.
Likely, some project requirements won’t align with CPQ best practices, so it’s essential to work with a CPQ consultant experienced enough to help guide you when your requirements and your desired outcomes aren’t aligned.
To help you understand what to look for in these conversations, here’s a list of the types of questions that seasoned Salesforce CPQ consultants will bring up during your discovery call:
- What is your defined business process?
- What are your business rules for amendments?
- How do you want to handle renewal pricing?
- What are your business rules for renewals?
- What are your business requirements for renewal uplifts?
- How do you plan to manage your existing client base?
- Do you have any custom pricing models?
- How does your team define products?
- Can you provide a comprehensive list of products?
- How do you want to sell and manage products in the future?
Signs your consultant is not digging deep enough
While it’s common for CPQ consultants to build the environment with a “net new business first” model, it’s best for the consultant to have a full understanding of the downstream processes for amendments and renewals first. Consider it a red flag if a CPQ consultant suggests dealing with amendments and renewals in a future phase.
Successful CPQ implementations are set up for the long-term and take into account the next renewal — and the five subsequent ones. So, you may want to ensure that your CPQ consultant is considering the future by discussing how proposed approaches to your requirements will hold up for 3, 4, or 5 renewal cycles.
Checklist: How to select a Salesforce CPQ partner
In summary, here is a five-step checklist to use when choosing a Salesforce CPQ partner:
- Define your needs: What challenges and opportunities do you see? What type of partner relationship would you like?
- Consider your options: Would you prefer a larger firm or a more specialist, boutique firm?
- Vet potential partners: Do the firms you’re considering have a strong history of successful CPQ implementations and optimizations? Do the Salesforce CPQ consultants on the team have the experience and qualifications necessary?
- Ask the consultants the questions outlined above: Do their answers showcase their knowledge of the platform and commitment to making it work for your team? Have they provided case studies or project examples of a relevant company or use case?
- Consider whether the consultants asked the questions outlined above: Do they give you confidence they’re thinking about your long-term renewal process? Are they asking questions that go beyond the immediate project, and are they considering the subsequent 3-to-5 renewal cycles?
Choosing the right Salesforce CPQ partner for your business
If you’d like to learn how OpFocus can help you unlock the power of CPQ for your business, we created a guide on What to Expect During an OpFocus Salesforce CPQ Implementation.
Alternatively, book a no-obligation consultation with our CPQ team today.