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The Effortless Purchase: Upgrading CPQ to CP(Q)O

So B2B sellers, it's self-reflection time. Where are the bottlenecks and hurdles holding back the effortless nirvana your customers expect? In this era of consumer-derived expectations, removing friction must be the ultimate ambition.

Kyle Dreyer - VP Delivery Operations
Connect

Imagine walking into a disorganized, inefficient store - you'd likely walk right back out. Business buyers today have that same zero tolerance for friction. Just as mega-retailers like Amazon have conditioned consumers to expect seamless digital shopping experiences, B2B customers now demand that same streamlined purchasing journey.

The rise of B2B e-commerce platforms has fueled this revolution, empowering buyers to navigate the entire process independently online with a few taps. Why suffer through endless back-and-forth when you could simply configure your perfect product, get upfront pricing, and click "buy" in one smooth workflow? It's a millennial dream come true for procurement.

The message is deafening: Evolve your commerce model or become extinct. Companies stubbornly clinging to arcane sales tactics will be abandoned for sleeker, disruptive competitors. Those delivering the friction-free, digitized experiences buyers crave will be rewarded with lucrative loyalty.

So B2B sellers, it's self-reflection time. Where are the bottlenecks and hurdles holding back the effortless nirvana your customers expect? In this era of consumer-derived expectations, removing friction must be the ultimate ambition.

The Problem with CPQ  

Traditional Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solutions were built to streamline how sales teams bundle products and pricing for customers. But they drop the baton just before the finish line. By stopping after spitting out a quote, the buying journey remains agonizingly incomplete.

Think about it - after meticulously customizing their order online, buyers are then forced to clear another hurdle. They must wait for the sales rep's follow-up email containing the quote, scrutinize every line item, formally approve it, and only then can they place the actual order. What an abrupt manual turn after a smooth digital configuration!

This disjointed CPQ-to-order handoff slams the brakes on the sales cycle's momentum. Leaving deals to die on the vine as frustrated buyers take their business elsewhere or agile competitors swoop in. It's a completely avoidable source of friction that modern B2B buyers have zero patience for.

In this era of elevated expectations, sustaining seamless digital experiences all the way through purchase is no longer a nice-to-have, it's a necessity. Any remnants of inefficiency will render you irrelevant faster than you can say "eroded market share."

The Solution: CP(Q)O

Traditional CPQ leaves buyers high and dry after configuration, forcing them to endure a whole new hassle of dealing with quotes and manual ordering. But it doesn’t have to be that way. To deliver what modern buyers crave, CPQ must evolve into Configure, Price, (Quote) Order - or CP(Q)O. The idea of CP(Q)O is to allow buyers the options how they interact with you. As a seller, you want revenue as fast as possible and don’t necessarily want to go through the quoting process. Thus, the ability to immediately be able to order reduces the time to revenue for your organization. However, there are times when your customer may wish to request a quote - and as a seller - you don’t want to take that ability away from them. Thus, the idea of CP(Q)O is to make the quoting process an optional offshoot to a streamlined revenue process.

This next-gen solution empowers customers to configure their perfect product bundle online and immediately place their order after receiving the calculated price for their configuration. No more awkward waiting period or sales rep bottleneck. Just one smooth, unbroken workflow from customization to checkout. For many of our customers at Saltbox, their customers need product as soon as possible. Removing the friction of a quoting process not only is beneficial for the selling organization, but also for the buyers as well. Let’s not add friction when they want to provide you revenue quickly!

By integrating ordering so tightly with configuration and pricing, CP(Q)O connects the final mile to deliver a truly frictionless, self-serve purchasing experience from start to finish. It's the epitome of the digitized, efficiency-fueled shopping nirvana that buyers now expect as the new normal.

Benefits

Making the leap to CP(Q)O stands to shower businesses with some serious advantages:

Faster Time to Revenue

Tighter integration from prospect to transaction means accelerated sales cycles and cash flow. The holes in the process are plugged to keep deals moving.

Increased Win Rates & Deal Sizes

Eliminating pain points boosts conversion rates as buyers are no longer abandoning annoying manual processes. When customers need products fast, the selling organization that makes it the easiest will win!

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Handing customers control over the entire journey improves their satisfaction and loyalty. Delighting buyers is the surest path to lucrative repeat business.

Considerations

While the benefits are compelling, a couple factors must be weighed:

CPQ Customization

Most CPQ platforms will require dev work to enable that last-mile ordering integration. After years of manual processes, ripping off the band-aid takes some effort. The good news is that Salesforce recognizes this problem and the new Revenue Lifecycle Management (RLM) product will make this much easier!

Change Management

Transitioning sellers from manual quote/order entry to hands-off self-service buying is a big shift. Proactive change management is crucial to update processes and align teams.

Some short-term disruption is inevitable, but laying the CP(Q)O foundation sets the stage for the frictionless buying experiences that customers increasingly demand.

The Future of Frictionless Commerce

The rise of CP(Q)O is just the start of closing gaps towards true end-to-end automated purchasing. This first step of stitching configuration to ordering proves we now have the technical capabilities to unify previously disconnected sales workflows. It sets the stage for the next frontier - intelligent, data-driven, highly personalized self-service commerce. AI will automate more manual efforts through smart recommendations and bespoke product configurations tailored to each buyer's unique needs. Crunching reams of data will maximize relevance while minimizing hassle.

While CP(Q)O bridges the current ordering divide, tomorrow's innovations will continue dissolving friction points towards near-instant, seamless transactions. But this evolution begins with today's work to digitally integrate each phase of the purchasing journey.

By ripping off the band-aid and pursuing CP(Q)O now, businesses can finally start delivering the elevated ecommerce experiences that buyers have been craving. The future of frictionless buying is rapidly approaching - the time to align with these new expectations is here.

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