What to expect during an OpFocus Salesforce CPQ implementation?

You’re ready to begin a Salesforce CPQ implementation to optimize and standardize your sales process. You understand the costs of a Salesforce CPQ implementation, but you’re still unsure what to expect during the engagement. You want to learn more about the involvement of your team and expectations to have for the project before you begin.

With over 50 successful CPQ engagements under our belt since 2015, our team at OpFocus is familiar with the entire process of a Salesforce CPQ implementation. We know what can happen if an organization begins an engagement before they’re ready because they don’t know what to expect. 

We put together this outline of what to expect for a Salesforce CPQ implementation, the duration, and your team’s involvement. Then you’ll know everything you need to begin your Salesforce CPQ implementation.

OpFocus Salesforce CPQ Implementation Phases

We broke up a Salesforce CPQ implementation into six standard stages that last over 6-8 months. Each stage has three areas to note: the stage name, the time, and the involvement we estimate from your team members.

Stage Name: Pre-work

  • Time: 2 weeks
  • Team Members: all relevant stakeholders
  • Involvement: complete information templates and share stakeholder availability
Take the steps to learn what to expect during a Salesforce CPQ implementation

Pre-work begins with an introductory meeting to assess initial stakeholders and assign templates for your team to complete. These templates include current products, pricing, approval process, and a spreadsheet that marks how to identify and organize products and bundles.

This first stage is a chance for your organization to define your processes, set project goals, and set your change management.

You’ll typically have two weeks to complete pre-work before we kick off the project. You also will use this time to ensure stakeholders are available for the next stage. You’ll need the following expertise from your organization present during the engagement:

  • A pricing/product expert 
  • A CFO or member from your finance/accounting team
  • An Operations Manager
  • An executive sponsor
  • A high-level sales leader (VP or Director)
  • A Customer Success Manager
  • At least one sales user 

When you prepare stakeholders for the discovery stage, make sure each member is available when necessary for each of the following stages below.

Stage Name: Discovery

  • Time: 1-2 weeks
  • Team Members: all stakeholders
  • Involvement: 5-10 calls with all relevant stakeholders, about 8 hrs in total

Discovery calls for a Salesforce CPQ implementation are when the magic happens. These calls will include our CPQ engagement team and the members of your team that you chose above. Each call covers a discussion on a topic of your CPQ solution such as your:

Calculating the cost of a Salesforce CPQ implementation
  • Products
  • Pricing and discounting
  • Bundling
  • Business rules
  • Approval process
  • Amendment process and rules
  • Renewal process and rules
  • Quote documents and order forms

Our experts plan for between five to ten of these calls, spending 8 hours typically. We use this time to understand your systems and processes to implement the best CPQ solution for you. 

The discovery and design stage is typically one of the shortest stages for a Salesforce CPQ implementation. We use this time to accurately assess and log all available information to deliver you the best possible CPQ solution.

Stage Name: Build and Unit Tests

  • Time: 2-3 months
  • Team Members: all stakeholders
  • Involvement: availability for communication and validation on progression build by topics

Once discovery is complete and we gather all the information we need, we’ll begin build and unit testing. This stage requires involvement from relevant stakeholders for check-ins to review topics and progression of the build by topics we cover in discovery.

The tests sometimes include other members of your team not originally part of previous sessions to validate the process. We want to make sure the final solution works for your organization as a whole, not just a select few. Our experts have experience in various techniques and methodologies to build a future-proof CPQ solution for your organization.

Stage Name: User-Acceptance Tests

  • Time: 3 weeks*
  • Team Members:  all stakeholders
  • Involvement: power user will lead pilot group replicating the full transactional lifecycle of 3-5 contracts

Now for the final stage of testing—user acceptance testing (UAT). We always want a CPQ solution to improve and optimize the workflow for the sales and finance team end users. That’s why we ask you to bring on that power user from sales that we met with earlier to lead the pilot group. They can help with building internal buy-in and break-testing.

The goal of user acceptance testing is a full end-to-end test of the system, ending with signoff by all of your stakeholders. This signoff represents that your team feels the system is configured as desired and supports all identified use cases. 

Though we will provide guidance on writing these use cases and test scripts, your team will ultimately know the business best. That is why your team will be responsible for identifying, documenting, and testing all required test cases. Doing so ensures your system supports all required scenarios to minimize disruption at deployment.

*The duration of UAT varies depending on the complexity of your processes and products as well as the availability of your test users. Typically, we anticipate a 3-week duration. We can allocate more time depending on your stakeholders’ requirements. It’s also important to note that you’ll require a Salesforce Sandbox for UAT

Stage Name: Admin Knowledge Transfer and Deployment

  • Time: 2 weeks
  • Team Members: all stakeholders from the discovery stage
  • Involvement: One 2-4 hour call for admin knowledge transfer + time to approve the deployment
Launching a Salesforce CPQ implementation to accelerate revenue growth

The final stage of a Salesforce CPQ implementation is admin knowledge transfer and deployment. This stage helps you get your team online and ready for action.

Prior to deployment, your admin must complete training on Salesforce and Salesforce CPQ. We only provide a review of the system configuration and transfer knowledge to your Admin, usually taking 2-4hrs. 

It is your responsibility to have your admin complete the training prior to a knowledge transfer. The knowledge transfer only serves to help the admin support the system after go-live.

Once the knowledge transfer is complete with your admin, we will deploy the CPQ configuration from the sandbox for UAT to the production environment. The deployment includes the deployment and migration of any custom metadata, configuration data, layouts, permissions, and license agreements.

We will perform initial testing to validate the deployment and then ask your stakeholders to test and validate system performance before they sign off on the deployment. Once this is complete, you’re ready to start optimizing the sales process.

Why does a Salesforce CPQ implementation take so long?

We know that 4-6 months can initially sound intimidating, and we understand you may have some apprehension about that. Be aware that the duration of a Salesforce CPQ implementation can vary considerably based on factors such as the following:

  • Additional time to gather and document system requirements.
  • Change requests that require additional configuration or re-configuration.
  • Availability of client resources.

That variance is why we strongly recommend engaging with your key stakeholders early to gather, document, and get consent on requirements prior to kickoff.

Let us assure you, even with longer durations, this time is valuable to ensure the result is at the level of excellence you deserve. You may hear of CPQ implementation partners claiming they can do this work in less time or with fewer resources. There are no moments in a CPQ implementation that you want to cut corners on if you’re going to do the process right, the first time.

If you need an immediate solution but recognize more work can come down the road, you do still have options. In some cases, a CPQ project can be split into multiple phases to get you up and running sooner. We can work with you to define those phases and ensure key components are included in the initial phase.

Ready to optimize your sales process with Saleforce CPQ?

Now you have all of the knowledge necessary to begin a Salesforce CPQ implementation. The final step is to discuss your needs with an expert who can guide you on the right path to start a CPQ engagement. Connect with a member of our Salesforce CPQ Advisors for a call to discuss your Salesforce CPQ implementation today! 

Brian Waterson

about the author

Brian Waterson

As Senior Director of Operations, Brian’s job is to ensure that his colleagues in Marketing, Sales, Delivery, and Finance have the systems, tools, and processes they need to excel in their daily work. For him, the role is most rewarding when he is enabling the rest of the company to do their job even better. 

His Salesforce career spans about a decade, split almost equally between client-facing consulting work and internal system administration and product ownership. Like many people, Brian fell into Salesforce work accidentally and was quickly hooked. Some of you may remember him from his previous days at OpFocus in 2013-2017 where he worked with many fantastic clients.

Brian holds a BA in International Relations from Boston University and a MA in International Conflict Studies from King’s College London.

For Brain, one of his favorite Salesforce features is Analytics CRM (formerly TableauCRM / Einstein Analytics / Wave.) Compared to standard Salesforce dashboards, he feels it provides much more flexibility when visualizing and joining data. It has been great to introduce it into the OpFocus product mix!

We often forget that it is now Salesforce, but he is also a huge fan of Slack. Brian is excited to see how Salesforce better integrates the two platforms in future releases.