Did your organization opt for a CPQ process? Ensure good preparation and successful implementation. An interview with Yannick van Eldik, co-founder of CaseNine, about the steps an organization can take to be well prepared. “Spend enough time defining measurable goals.”
What are key reasons to consider a CPQ solution?
“The ultimate reasons for a CPQ process differ from organization to organization. If we look at the energy market, for example, you see various drivers for a CPQ process. Energy is a relatively traditional market, which has undergone a transformation, especially in recent years. Among other things, there is a strong need for sustainability, energy is used in other ways and energy consumption is increasing. It is precisely these developments that require product innovations and a flexible attitude on the part of the supplier. It is important that the sales processes also continue to link up with the delivery processes. CPQ supports the optimization of the sales processes and makes that flexible attitude possible. For example, by helping organizations offer new product combinations or by applying rates that fluctuate on an hourly basis.”
What steps do you take to prepare for a CPQ process?
“Spend enough time defining measurable goals. These can be various objectives, which also depend on the organization that enters into the process. They include specific goals such as ‘Reduce the time needed to deliver a quotation by 30%’ or ‘Delivering 50% more quotations with the current team within the same time’. Setting these goals is a joint task, involving different roles from the organization. You can determine these goals during internal sessions. As a starting point, we often recommend a session that doesn’t limit you in terms of budget and timelines. We often notice these sessions can have different outcomes and lead to the necessary – healthy – discussions. For a maximum result, make sure you have a good range of participants. The team consists of colleagues who are responsible for the sales process, but also of users who push the buttons on a daily basis. CaseNine can offer support in putting together the ideal team.”
What resources can provide further guidance?
“The outcome of the aforementioned sessions is a detailed overview in which the topics are grouped. The next step consists of setting up a chain landscape record, CLR for short. In this overview, you include the defined processes with all components: users, internal and external systems and required actions. The chain landscape record shows the ideal situation and provides insight into every step of the process. Avoid copying the current system and really start from the most ideal situation. A CLR has another important characteristic: 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 CLR is a living document: in practice, the overview can be supplemented on the basis of new insights.”
Work towards one or more POCs as early as possible: this way, you can test whether the process is correct, also from a user’s perspective.
How does an organization know it is on the right track?
“On the basis of the CLR you can – again with the same team – jointly define and write out stories. Work towards one or more POCs as early as possible: this way, you can test whether the process is correct, also from a user’s perspective. An MVP also helps with this assessment 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 instrument for creating support and enthusiasm.”
Do you have any other tips for organizations that are at the start of a CPQ process?
“The right basic attitude is of fundamental importance for a smooth preparation. You have to realize that a CPQ solution is not a turnkey product. It simplifies and speeds up the processes, but does require the necessary customization to optimally match the specific needs of the organization. As an organization, you are not alone in this: CaseNine can also contribute to this.”
Yannick van Eldik is co-founder of CaseNine and is responsible for the day-to-day operations. Moreover, as a consultant, Yannick is closely involved in both the sales phase and the substantive of projects. He helps organizations to optimally set up CPQ solutions, but also acts as a discussion partner for strategic issues.
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