Salesforce Industries CPQ offers several advantages over competing CPQ solutions, including a sharp focus on specific verticals. Yannick van Eldik notes that, in practice, there are a variety of motivations for choosing Salesforce Industries CPQ.

Wondering how long a CPQ Implementation takes? Then read our blog, "How long does a CPQ implementation take?" or "Troubleshooting product visibility in CPQ Cart. For more information.

What is distinctive about Salesforce Industries CPQ?

"Salesforce Industries focuses on specific verticals: Communications, Media & Entertainment, Energy & Utilities, Insurance, Healthcare and Government. So with this, you can be sure that the processes match the market in which you operate. That sharp focus is a major advantage over a solution that CPQ offers across the board. There are packages for the different verticals: these give you a smooth start as an organization and ensure that you can work the right way faster. Another important feature is the fact that Salesforce Industries was developed on the Salesforce platform and connects seamlessly to it. So you don't need separate links with that."

Speaking of the Salesforce connection, what does the interplay between Salesforce and Salesforce Industries CPQ look like?

"First of all, we see the connection at the technical level: Salesforce Industries CPQ is built on the Salesforce foundation. At its core, that already ensures close integration with the Salesforce platform. Beyond the technological integration, there is also a logical sequence within the entire process. You use Salesforce for support in the sales process, including managing contacts, opportunities and the status of important deals. In addition, Salesforce helps with sales automation and pipeline management. Salesforce Industries continues to expand these functionalities, including opportunities. In addition, Salesforce Industries CPQ allows you to quickly issue, manage and streamline this process of quotations. So the components work together seamlessly, and that provides all the functionality you need within the process."

"I personally expect that the integration will also be further strengthened at the functional level in the coming years."

What else can we expect in the future?

"Salesforce Industries CPQ is part of the Salesforce organization. That gives you as a user the opportunity to also use all the peripheral Salesforce features. Think of broad support capabilities and a wide network of partners. In the future, Salesforce will focus more on industry-specific knowledge and techniques. I personally expect that the integration will also be further strengthened at the functional level in the coming years. This will give you, as a user, ready-made connections and the ability to quickly use other tools and modules, such as connections to Slack (which is part of Salesforce) and SAP. That provides great flexibility and convenience."

How can you best get started with a Salesforce Industries CPQ journey?

"You can start a Salesforce Industries CPQ project in several ways. Salesforce itself runs several CPQ projects in-house and you can run the project with a Salesforce Industries partner. Such a party has all the relevant knowledge to align the CPQ solution with business processes. However, when choosing a suitable partner, don't rush into this (see also this article). When discussing the desired license structure, keep in mind that this is an investment for several years. Make sure you have made a complete inventory of the requirements, so that together with the account manager you can find a form that suits the organization."

The implementation is complete and Salesforce Industries CPQ has found its place in the organization. To what extent can you then make your own changes to Salesforce Industries CPQ?

"There are plenty of opportunities in that area: it's about finding the right balance. An important starting point is to enable the organization to work independently as much as possible. For more radical issues - such as adding or modifying complex product combinations - it may be wise to bring in a specialist. For this, it is important that you continuously have a good picture of the capabilities within your own organization, so that you can also see for which areas external expertise is needed. For this we work with a CaseNine map: a map that shows the architecture. Then we jointly tick off which parts are not relevant to the organization. The result: a clear picture of the current status. After this, we can plot the skills of the organization on the required architecture and it becomes clear what will be internal and external. Moreover, the map gives a clear overview of the dependencies of the components."

Want to learn more about the real-world benefits of a CPQ solution? Read more background information here.

In conversation with: Joris Bruijn, DevOps Manager at CaseNine

CaseNine uses a Shared DevOps structure. What does this setup entail and what benefits does it offer you as a customer? Joris Bruijn, Lead Developer within CaseNine's DevOps team, explains it briefly and powerfully.

What are the key features of Shared DevOps?

"Where previously as a customer you were assigned one permanent developer for a development project, in a Shared DevOps setup you get a pool of 5 developers, for example, which can be alternated between. In fact, this gives you access to 5 FTE developers. Within this pool, there is the flexibility to switch developers. Moreover, a project team can dynamically estimate and adjust hours: this also provides additional flexibility during the development process. "

What advantages does this offer?

"Scalability is an important advantage: you can grow relatively easily if the project calls for it. The other way around is also possible: in quiet times you can scale back. Of course, you need a familiarisation period per developer: in this respect Shared DevOps does not differ from a traditional set-up. What is distinctive is that at CaseNine we take care of the necessary training period. So as a customer, you don't have to worry about onboarding. With Shared DevOps, as a customer you also benefit from continuity during the development process and you have more knowledge at your disposal: the knowledge pool is larger. To ensure continuity, we make sure that a regular developer is always up to date with the overall project status: what is going on at the customer and which stories are currently being worked on. We also often have a colleague working in the background: again, for the sake of continuity."

What do developers notice about this setup?

"For developers, Shared DevOps offers much more variety. After all, you can work on different projects. You work in a dynamic team that is well attuned to each other and helps each other well. Moreover, there is a large degree of transparency: such an open structure is obviously important for Shared DevOps to function optimally. Each team member has his or her own responsibility. At CaseNine, the development team consists of a combination of junior, medior and senior developers. This creates an environment where you can develop yourself and learn from others. In addition, each developer attends Salesforce training, so everyone has in-depth and up-to-date knowledge."

Salesforce Sales Cloud has long been the CRM System of choice for sales teams looking for easy-to-use, customizable CRM software. However, Salesforce Sales Cloud doesn't offer much in the way of Quote-to-Cash (QTC) automation. For that, you need Salesforce Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ.).

What is Salesforce CPQ?

Your business is starting to grow and your top salespeople are selling great. They have generated many leads at an event and some are already even converting.

But now what?

The next logical step is to make an offer, but making offers can be time-consuming. Studies show that today's salespeople spend only 34% of their time actually selling. The rest is a lot of administrative work: quoting, data entry and closing. This keeps your salespeople away from customers, often preventing them from achieving annual sales goals.

As a result, sales managers look for IT solutions to save time. The more time they spend on administration, the less time they have to generate new leads.

This is where CPQ solutions come in handy.

CPQ, or Configure, Price, Quote, is software that helps companies create accurate quotes. It provides a streamlined process. Salesforce CPQ is a powerful sales tool that helps sales teams streamline the entire process. QTC process, from proposal generation to contract management. However, Salesforce CPQ is not for everyone and can be costly to purchase and implement in an organization. There are a few situations where an organization may not need or be able to justify it.

Why you might not need Salesforce CPQ.

Your company offers only a few standard products

CPQ is best for companies with hundreds and thousands of products and services. If you only have a few products in your catalog, you really don't need a CPQ solution. Generating quotes for a few standard items is generally pretty fast.

Products require no configuration

It's right there in the name. Configure-Price-Quality. If a company keeps it simple, CPQ does not add value and is difficult to justify the cost. CPQ technology excels at complicated configurations and pricing structures, like selecting options for a car or computer. Selling generators with many different fuel and power options? CPQ is perfect for that. But if you only sell one standard generator, for example, and the customer only has to choose between a black or yellow frame color? Then you probably don't need CPQ.

You don't have to make quick offers

Suppose you are working in an industry where the sales team does not need to produce quotations quickly. Then you don't need a CPQ solution. Salesforce CPQ helps generate quotes from a large number of options in a fraction of the time a human can with fewer errors.

Budget is tight

CPQ technology can save a lot of time and money, but it also costs money to license and implement. There is no guaranteed ROI just by integrating Salesforce CPQ. If your budget doesn't allow you to comfortably pay the monthly/annual service fees, you may want to go in a different direction. While hiring a company like CaseNine to create a CPQ solution can save your company a lot of headaches and money in the long run, it's going to take time and effort up front to get started.

You like a hands-on approach

Salesforce CPQ automates so many parts of the quoting process as you implement it. If smaller organizations really want to keep all control in-house, verify, double-check, and then re-verify before sending the quote, then a CPQ solution may not be a right match. Efficiency and accuracy are the secret nicknames of CPQ software.

You are not yet using Salesforce Sales Cloud

While this may seem obvious but if you as a company are not already using Salesforce CRM, you need to purchase it first in order for CPQ to run as well as possible A good consideration is to look at Salesforce Industries. These products offer Salesforce CRM and CPQ in one solution for specific industries.

Multiple industries under one roof

Industries CPQ has tight vertical industries that makes setup a bit easier. However, if your organization serves a wide range of industries, such as healthcare and energy, Industries CPQ is not the right software solution.

You don't keep change

When Salesforce CPQ is integrated into a sales process, an organization must be prepared to change some internal processes. For example, if Bert in the sales department has been using the same system for 18 years, you might get backlash if you tell him it's time for an update. CPQ solutions are there to make quotation processes more efficient and accurate. Often that means a company needs to review and change its current methods and processes that have been implemented over time.

Not for everyone

Whether or not you should invest in Salesforce CPQ for your business is an important decision. It's going to cost you money upfront and ongoing to license the software. Setting up the software for your organization and turning it into a solution for sales teams also costs money. Then you have to train your people to use it properly and harness its true power. When implemented correctly, though, it can be really valuable and add value to organizations. For example, with clients we see conversions and sales go up, as well as repeat customers. It just takes a significant investment to get there.

Success of a CPQ implementation

Several elements affect the ultimate success of a CPQ implementation. In conversation with Maudy van Eldik about the 10 common pitfalls in CPQ projects. Good news: you can avoid them relatively easily.

1. Failure to establish clear and measurable CPQ goals and KPIs

"Avoid not properly defining as an organization what you want to achieve with the CPQ implementation. It's about optimizing your quotation and sales processes by removing 'waste.' In doing so, make sure you have clear and measurable objectives. These depend on the organization. Examples of KPIs are 'increasing the success rate for sales opportunities from 40% to 50%' or 'reducing the lead time for issuing a quotation from one week to two working days'. An additional advantage of clear and measurable CPQ goals and KPIs is the ability to make timely adjustments in the process."

2. Paying insufficient attention to proper preparation

"Availability of stakeholders within the process is important from the very beginning. A CPQ implementation involves various roles, such as product owners, sales colleagues, developers and IT architects. Administrators, integration and solution architects are also involved. The knowledge of colleagues - for example, on sales processes - must end up in the systems. Good preparation has a great impact on the success of the CPQ implementation. Finally, also don't forget to involve the future end users in the process from the beginning. That way you ensure the right level of involvement."

"Good preparation has a major impact on the success of CPQ implementation."

3. Failure to properly manage change and expectations in CPQ implementation

"As already briefly addressed in the previous pitfall, the success of the CPQ implementation is also determined by end-user involvement. You create support by involving that group at an early stage as well. Also strive to have part of the team consist of experts who are also responsible for maintenance and management of the CPQ environment after implementation."

4. Wanting to do everything at once

"In a CPQ implementation, avoid doing everything at once. Focus on getting one flow running smoothly. If that one is in order, then you can expand. A phased rollout also gives you an overview and avoids unnecessary risks that occur when you 'change the engine on the fly.

5. Expecting technology to solve everything

"Keep in mind that a CPQ solution is a toolbox, but not a turnkey solution. Each organization has its own environment and processes. In addition, there is often legacy in the organization. It is important to take these variables into account. A successful CPQ implementation brings everything together and takes into account the organization's environment and systems."

"A successful CPQ implementation brings everything together and takes into account the organization's environment and systems."

6. Rebuilding the same system

"Change requires effort from all involved. There is a risk that the organization ends up building the same system that they initially wanted to part with. Fortunately, you can significantly reduce that risk by first outlining the ideal scenario in terms of the desired objective. For example, optimal flexibility, increased turnover or reduced quotation lead time. In doing so, don't be limited by current working methods and take the end user as your starting point."

7. Unconsidered choice between standard solutions and customization in CPQ implementation

"It is important to test the extent to which the existing landscape of processes can be captured in CPQ and whether this requires customization. To answer this question, first make sure you have the right understanding. A chain landscape map can help with this. This tool gives you insight into existing processes and landscapes. Moreover, the map ensures a high level of involvement: you produce the KLP with the entire team and thus gain joint insight into the chain of quotation and order processes."

8. Not providing space for POCs and an MVP.

"The starting point is to get the organization used to the new way of working quickly. Making the first version available is a requirement for this. With a Proof-of-Concept (POC) you can test whether the direction taken is correct. POCs can be large or small: they give a good picture and allow you to make timely adjustments. With a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) you provide a first concrete form of the product. An MVP shows the rest of the organization what is being worked on and helps create trust."

9. Insufficient research on the right supplier

"Realize well that in most cases a CPQ project is a business-critical process. This works its way into choosing the right vendor. Choose a proven solution, find out which customers are already using the solution and ask which organizations the supplier has experience with. Continuity plays an important role: after all, this is a long-term investment. Things like annual sales, number of employees and growth are good indicators."

10. Too little attention to the human factor in CPQ implementation

"Ultimately, people make the difference in the success and success of CPQ implementation. Gather the right people around you, both within the organization and outside. When it comes to the supplier: choose a party that has the knowledge at both a global and local level. That way you ensure a team you can actually build on and trust."

In conversation with: Maudy van Eldik, founder and CEO CaseNine

All projects provided by CaseNine use the CaseNine Method. What does that method entail and why do organizations benefit from it? Maudy van Eldik explains what to expect. "A project is only successful when the end user not only gets excited, but also really uses the solution."

For several years, all CaseNine implementation projects have used the CaseNine Method. What does the method entail?

"In everything we do and make, we apply an important principle: we do everything for the end user. That very characteristic distinguishes the way we work. Often - especially in development environments - people think primarily from technology. With the CaseNine Method, we think precisely from the end user's point of view. This has far-reaching implications: both our methodology and culture are based on this. I myself still like to be seen as an end user. A project is successful when the end user becomes enthusiastic ánd really uses the solution."

What does the CaseNine Method look like during a project?

"The Method consists of several components that are deployed during the process. An implementation path uses a combination of practical tips and tricks and software. These are housed in a library. For the customer, this means, among other things, that a project can be started up faster. That aspect makes for happy end users. After all, the manual work has already been completed. At the start of an implementation project, the standard CaseNine Method is used, but we adapt it based on the customer situation."

Did you know that the method is based on 2 pillars. First is the premise of "Happy Employees, Happy Customers. In addition, the CaseNine Method strives to remove the technical barriers within implementations of CRM and CPQ.

How did the CaseNine Method come about and how distinctive is it?

"The Method was created based on previous projects. That approach creates an interesting dynamic: with each project, the CaseNine Method is further refined and improved. That process has been going on for about three to four years now. As for distinctiveness: in practice, projects are mainly based on the Salesforce implementation methodology. The Method therefore distinguishes itself primarily in the area of the specific add-ons, from which you as an organization benefit directly."

"The implementation of CRM and CPQ solutions is becoming increasingly complex."

Why is this approach particularly relevant in these times?

"We cannot ignore it: the implementation of CRM and CPQ solutions is becoming increasingly complex. We also share this observation with research firm Gartner. With the CaseNine Method, we are responding precisely to this development. The results are well reflected in practice, for example at ENGIE Netherlands. Read the article here.

What further developments can we expect?

"We are currently in the process of further improving and expanding the best practices within the CaseNine Method. This is an ongoing process. Later this year it will also become possible for organizations to purchase the library of the CaseNine Method. Implementation Consultants and engineers can then make direct use of this. Of course, we also provide the associated training."

Take the following steps

Contact Maudy van Eldik for more information about the method.
Discover all the ins and outs of the CaseNine Method in this video.


Shorter lead times, better overview, smoother response to changing market conditions: there are a variety of reasons why organizations increasingly recognize the importance of a well thought-out CPQ implementation. In conversation with Theodoor van Donge, who, as Lead Software Engineer at CaseNine, closely follows developments. "Whatever you do, always let the process be the starting point."

Why does a thoughtful CPQ implementation matter especially in this day and age?

"CPQ is about streamlining complex quotation processes and thereby, among other things, creating more overview and strengthening the organization's competitive position. This is more important than ever in 2022, especially if you take a look at the current situation at many organizations. The preparation of quotations is often still done manually. For example, complex - and therefore error-prone - Excel files are used to make calculations. We also often see that quotations are still prepared 'manually' in Word. Quotations are often printed on paper or scanned for further processing. Such processes are relatively slow. This way of working, combined with the high speed at which many markets are developing, is no longer appropriate. Organizations are finding that they can no longer afford it, and rightly so."

What trends and developments do you see in the area of quoting?

"We see many markets changing rapidly. A good example is the energy market, one of the pillars we focus on with CaseNine. This market - and many similar markets - especially in recent years has been characterized by new and innovative product forms, which follow each other in rapid succession. This is not surprising: the competition does not sit still and margins are constantly under pressure. In the energy market, for example, we are increasingly seeing innovative product forms where energy is charged on an hourly basis. Such developments place new demands on the quotation process. We also see an increased need for more flexible contract forms, for example with the aim of providing the end customer with a suitable proposal more quickly."

To what extent does a CPQ solution support changing requirements and market conditions?

"These very developments underscore the importance of a CPQ solution. After all, there is a need to reduce the amount of manual work within the process. It is also important to minimize the risk of errors."

Did you know.
A chain landscape map (KLP) acts as an effective capstone for establishing the product roadmap and creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The KLP is created with the full team of colleagues who understand the process chain.

What can organizations expect at the start of a CPQ process?

"Prior to a CPQ implementation, an analysis phase is the starting point. In this phase, we meet with the relevant stakeholders at the client and map out the current situation. Among other things, we look at the products and the structure of the portfolio. Are product bundles being used, what characteristics do the products and services have? But also: what pricing methods are used and how is the margin determined in practice? My advice in this is to involve all relevant stakeholders within the organization in this phase, so that the knowledge is complete. This helps later in the implementation process and ensures that the system fits well with existing systems. At the same time, this ensures a high level of involvement of the employees within the organization. Always let the process be the starting point here: based on this, you can tailor the CPQ solution to the needs of the organization as well as possible. The secret of a successful CPQ solution consists of a combination of a stable basis supplemented with the necessary 'customization' applicable to the specific organization. Every environment is different and in practice often has legacy components that you simply must take into account. By taking the process as the basis, you ensure overview and the necessary buy-in from employees."

As an organization, are you considering initiating a Salesforce Industries CPQ journey? A thorough, internal business case is an important component in the preparation. Maudy van Eldik provides valuable guidance on how to optimally set up this phase. "Pre-optimizing the business processes provides a good foundation for the final business case."

In an ideal situation, which individuals are part of the team working on the business case?

"A clear division of roles helps in preparing the business case. In practice, it works well when the organization designates a main person responsible for this phase. This is often the same person who also deals with the overall quotation process. This can be the sales manager, for example. In addition to the division of roles, involving the right colleagues is also important. Make sure there is a good reflection of technical colleagues and colleagues responsible for the business. In doing so, you ensure a situation in which all the necessary information to complete the case is available within the team. Besides paying attention to team composition, optimizing the business processes is important: the very outcome of these is the foundation for producing the business case."

How much time should be allocated for this phase?

"The time it takes to make your own business case is highly dependent on the organization. However, there are factors that generally contribute to a smooth turnaround. The aforementioned team composition reduces the chance of delay. In practice, we see that such a case can be made within a month. It also helps if the urgency is felt by the organization."

What concerns are important?

"Make sure you get all departments on board in the process. In practice, the IT department deserves attention and it is important to remove any uncertainties or resistance there. Four main issues often emerge during this dialogue, which are easy to explain from an IT standpoint. First, there may be questions surrounding data security: does the new system meet the organization's security standards? The solution provider can play a major role in clearing up any ambiguity. Second, the IT department may argue that the solution creates an additional workload. In practice, however, the opposite happens: the new solution will actually reduce the pressure on the IT department. After all, steps in the process are simplified and are less prone to errors. This has a positive impact on support requests to the IT department. In addition, the number of linked applications can often be reduced and you have to expect fewer requests for change or improvement of legacy systems in the new situation."

What other two aspects are often important to the IT department?

"A lack of financial resources can also be brought in as a discussion point. You overcome this by including IT costs - such as licenses and costs for hardware or cloud storage - in the business case. Also, actively involve the IT department in preparing the IT costs. Moreover, it makes sense to have the efficiency benefits from the business case flow back to the IT department as well. The fourth and final aspect concerns unfamiliarity with the new technology and in some cases the impression that it makes the current job redundant. You can overcome this by working with DevOps teams and making sure IT is part of that team. Putting forward a training plan and budget for the IT department often gives the conversation a positive slant. From CaseNine, we can support the creation of a solid training plan."

Are organizations on their own when creating a business case?

"When you take care of optimizing business processes, making a business case is a logical next step that is easy for the organization to oversee. Of course, we can provide support from CaseNine. This can be done using relevant tooling, but also by sharing experiences with similar cases. The final difference per organization is mainly in the product combinations. In addition to the Salesforce Industries CPQ vendor, a party like Gartner can also be involved. They can support as an independent party in setting up the business case."

Want to learn more about the real-world benefits of a CPQ solution? Read more background information here.

Want to get more out of your CPQ implementation and ensure that employees receive optimal training? Recently CaseNine Academy was launched: tailor-made trainings aimed at the specific implementation within the organization. Yannick van Eldik, co-founder of CaseNine, talks about the added value. "Organizations finally get the opportunity to have more control over the entire platform."

Participant response:
"The practical assignment was nicely conceived, ties in with what is already implemented with us and gave me a better understanding of what can be done. Nicely done!"

Recently, the CaseNine Academy was introduced. What does the CaseNine Academy entail?

"In recent months, we have achieved several milestones at CaseNine. One important one is the implementation of Salesforce Industries Energy and Utilities Cloud (formerly Vlocity) at one of our customers, a large energy supplier. The implementation went live early this year. The customer already had a Continuous Improvement Team in place: a CV team. That group consists of employees who are responsible for the entire Salesforce platform. It is important that the CV team receives good training. Only then will you ensure that you get the most out of the CPQ implementation and that the organization can work as independently as possible. The latter is nice: as an organization you keep control and it is clear which parts are done in-house or by an external partner. To make this possible, we introduced CaseNine Academy this year."

As an organization, what can you expect from CaseNine Academy regarding CPQ?

"CaseNine Academy offers several training courses in the field of CPQ. The courses themselves are provided by our Lead Developers. This offers several advantages: the information is not only of a high level, but also comes from first-hand experience. Moreover, the Lead Developers are aware of the latest developments and know the customer's situation in detail. This allows them to respond well to the current situation and make use of relevant issues. This is a tailor-made training curriculum, where you, as an organization, indicate which components you want to follow."

"As an organization, you specify which components you want to follow," he said.

What are the main goals of such training?

"The course targets members of the in-house development team and has three main goals. First, the Academy helps everyone gain sufficient basic knowledge of Salesforce Industries. Based on both theory and implementation, employees can then make their own design choices and work independently on user-stories. CaseNine Academy thus ensures that organizations get a better grip on the platform and can maintain it as independently as possible. For the management layer, the training also has an important feature: the curriculum is plotted on the solution architecture. If certain components are not followed, then it is immediately clear for which components (for example, Pricing) there remains a dependence on external parties. Based on this insight, the organization can make the right strategic decisions."

What sets CaseNine Academy apart?

"Unique to CaseNine Academy is the content of the training plan. There is classroom training for general topics, based on Salesforce Industries' training material. However, that is supplemented by customized training material specifically for implementation at the organization itself. So the training finally becomes relevant to the customer situation, which is unique in the market. To give an example: for the training at an energy supplier we worked with the assignment to develop a new energy proposition. We always discuss such a business case in advance with the client.

How does this connect to CPQ?

We measure progress by plotting the curriculum topics on the solution (component) architecture. This allows you to see immediately what the knowledge level is and what knowledge is still missing for total management of the CPQ solution. At each start of the track, we make a detailed assessment of the current knowledge level together. At the completion of a track, the progress report is updated."

"CaseNine Academy's trainings are based on actual implementation and the platform used, rather than on a general case study."

As an organization, how can you take the first steps toward CaseNine Academy?

"In a conversation, we always first go through the wishes and ambitions of both the organization and the members of the in-house team. We put together the curriculum based on the actual CPQ implementation and work with a layering of topics: from basic knowledge to more advanced topics and then break it down into profiles: for example, an 'Admin Track' and a 'Developer Track'. CaseNine Academy thus offers the necessary flexibility and is tailored to the situation at the organization."

The average turnaround time for a module at CaseNine Academy depends on which module you choose, but is always tailored to your organization's schedule.


As an organization, have you made the decision to embark on a CPQ journey? Ensure proper preparation and a successful CPQ implementation. In conversation with Yannick van Eldik, co-founder of CaseNine, about the steps an organization can take to be prepared. "Spend enough time defining measurable goals."

What are important reasons to consider a CPQ solution?

"The ultimate reasons for a CPQ pathway vary by organization. Looking at the energy market, for example, it is striking that there are different drivers for a CPQ trajectory. Energy is a relatively traditional market, which has begun a transformation especially in recent years. Among other things, there is a strong need for sustainability, energy is being used in other ways and energy consumption is rising. Precisely these developments require product innovations and a flexible attitude on the part of the supplier. It is important that the sales processes also remain aligned with the delivery processes. CPQ supports in optimizing sales processes and enables that flexible attitude. For example, by helping organizations offer new product combinations or by working with rates that fluctuate on an hourly basis."

What steps do you take in preparation for a CPQ implementation?

"Spend sufficient time defining measurable goals for your CPQ implementation. These can be diverse goals, which also depend on the organization embarking on the process. Think of concrete goals such as 'Reduce the time it takes to deliver a quotation by 30%' or 'With the current team, deliver 50% more quotations within the same time.' Setting these goals is a joint task, involving various roles in the organization. You can set these goals during internal sessions. We often recommend here as a starting point a session in which you are not limited by budget and timelines. Not infrequently we find that these sessions can have different outcomes and provide the necessary - healthy - discussions. For optimal results, make sure you have a good composition of participants. The team consists of colleagues who are responsible for the sales process, but also of users who turn the knobs on a daily basis. From CaseNine we can support with putting together the ideal group."

 What resources can provide further guidance?

"The outcome of the aforementioned sessions is a detailed overview that groups the topics. The next step consists of setting up a chain landscape map, KLP for short. In this overview you include the delineated processes with all components: users, internal and external systems and required actions. The chain landscape map shows the ideal situation and makes each step of the process transparent. Avoid rebuilding the current system and really start from the optimal situation. A KLP has another important feature: hang it up and make sure it is visible to the organization. All colleagues can look at it and see how the final processes take shape. A KLP is a living document: in practice, the overview can be supplemented on the basis of new insights."

Work toward one or more POCs at the earliest possible stage: that way you can test whether the process is correct, including from a user perspective.

As an organization, how do you know you are on the right track?

"Based on the KLP, you can - again with the same team - jointly define and write out stories. Work towards one or more POCs at the earliest possible stage: this way you can test whether the process is correct, also from a user perspective. An MVP also helps with this testing and also enables you to demonstrate to the rest of the organization that the process is correct. In practice, an MVP is also a powerful tool for creating support and enthusiasm."

Do you have any further tips for organizations at the beginning of a CPQ implementation?

"The right basic attitude is fundamental to smooth preparation. Realize that a CPQ solution is not an off-the-shelf product. It simplifies and speeds up processes, but it does require the necessary customization to best fit the specific needs of the organization. In this you are not alone as an organization: also in this we can contribute from CaseNine."