Q&A Friday: Configuring Salesforce CPQ for Manufacturing Companies

Billy Weisgerber
By Billy Weisgerber | Solutions Architect, Mountain Point
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In the first episode of our new “Q&A Friday” series, our team talks through the benefits of using Salesforce CPQ for manufacturing companies.  CPQ stands for “Configure, Price, Quote,” and it can help manufacturers streamline sales, reduce costs, and ensure accuracy in pricing and delivery.

CPQ for Manufacturing: Common Manufacturing Use Cases

In this video, we chat with our President, Andrew Rieser, and our Senior Solutions Architect, Billy Weisgerber. They walk us step-by-step through some common use cases for the CPQ product and outline how it can be tailored to meet the unique processes, workflows, and needs of manufacturers. Billy specifically addresses how CPQ can be configured to accommodate products that are sold by sheets, bolts, or other custom units.



Have a question you’d like answered? Let us know, and we’ll talk through it on a future episode!

Novatech's CPQ Story

If you're interested in learning more about Salesforce CPQ, Watch Novatech's Story about expediting their quoting process. In just a few short months after launching CPQ, Novatech is winning 26% more opportunities!


Full Transcript - Q&A Friday Episode 1

Jessica: Hello. Welcome to our first Q&A Friday. This is a new series we're launching to talk through some of the challenges that manufacturers face in undertaking their digital transformation efforts. My name is Jessica Vodden and I'm a team member here at Mountain Point. I am joined by Andrew Rieser, our president and co-founder, and Billy Weisgerber, our senior solutions architect. Hi guys.

Billy: Hello.

Andrew: Good morning.

Jessica: Hi. Today we're going to tackle a really practical problem that many manufacturers face when it comes to configuring Salesforce CPQ. But let's start at the beginning. Billy, can you tell us a little bit about what is CPQ and how can it help manufacturing companies?

Billy: Yeah. CPQ stands for configure, price, quote. The benefit for manufacturers is that a lot of times they may have a custom product, meaning that they're going to be building it from scratch and so they need to go through and put the different components or accessories together and a lot of times there are certain rules that sales reps may not know, and so the benefit of CPQ is that you can put those rules in place and avoid a misconfiguration or something that was promised to a customer that's actually not possible and so then when it goes to production for that product to be built there is less risk of again that misconfiguration.

Jessica: Great. This is sort of an add-on product to the Salesforce platform, right?

Billy: Correct.

Jessica: And it integrates with a lot of the ERP solutions that are also built on Salesforce?

Billy: Yeah. Roostock actually has a functionality to integrate with their ERP platform. Then you can also use it to communicate with other ERPs either via integration or some other aspect, and then they also use some of the standard functionalities within Salesforce so that it's not all brand new functionality, they use their products and price books, and reference certain things that are existing in the sales cloud.

Jessica: Okay. Very cool. Sounds like a great product and we know it's a great solution. We do a lot of CPQ implementation. But out of the box as with any software product there might be some discrepancies between some of the assumptions made on the software and the actual day to day processes of the manufacturer.

Jessica: We want to talk about one specific problem that we've noticed that comes up a lot with our clients today. Andrew, can you tell us a little bit about from what I understand the problem stems from the issue that a lot of manufacturers sell things in units that are not sort of a standard numerical measure like one widget, two widgets, et cetera.

Andrew: Yeah. I think the way that I would describe it is end customers or end consumers think about their use of the product as it relates to the application that they're trying to solve. When we think about a textile business that has bolts of fabric that come in, the end consumer doesn't care about the dimensions of that particular bolt, they care about the custom quilt or comforter that they want made and personalized to them. So configure price quote allows us to extend that typical standard product with add-ons and also think about it in a way from an application standpoint keeping the end customer, consumer in mind, things like length times width or price per square foot are pretty common, and I think that's something that we can dive into and show how that works.

Jessica: Great. Billy, I think you've thought out a pretty solid solution to this problem of needing to adjust units and volume. Can you share your screen with us and kind of walk us through what you've built?

Billy: Absolutely. All right. So for this customer, they actually are similar to textile where they sell aluminum composite siding and boarding for different buildings. So with them they have standard products but they also allow customers to call in and order a custom length or a custom cut of that product as well. What we've put in place, we'll go ahead and create a quick opportunity, is we actually put a custom product in so they can build and configure based off of the square footage, colors, thickness, and all these different things in order to be able to quote their customers because it's either like I said a custom cut or even a custom color. For example, if you ever drive by a Ford dealership or a new Arby's that just got a facelift, you'll see that they have specific brand colors that they use, and so that's using that custom color aspect for this company.

Billy: So we're going to ahead and choose their custom product. And click Select. Right when they select this custom product, you can see that there's some required fields that they need to fill out and then there's some that are not. What we did was we put in their rules or their criteria that would calculate the per square foot value based off of what they select in this configuration.

Billy: Some other things to keep in mind is that based off of something maybe they select here, we'll also control maybe a stock color option, so if I change this to polyester, I have less options here because of that paint type. That's also using dependent picklists that are in Salesforce as well. The quantity here is actually going to be the square footage, so not only the reps aren't told how many sheets at this cut with the length, it's more of a general estimate of how much square footage they need upfront so they can generate that quote. If they do know the actual square footage, they can put or the dimensions, they can put the width and the length down here along with the number of sheets.

Jessica: Great. Basically the system is acting as a translator for the sales reps, right like ...

Billy: Correct.

Jessica: It's speaking the language of the customer and then doing that configuration or that calculation on the back end for them.

Billy: Another thing is we have a price rule here that says based off of this quantity and what you select in terms of the configuration for the product, there may be a setup fee that's going to be added on as well with this custom product. So when I click Save, it's going to save it to those lines. Sorry. It's going to save it to those lines, and you'll see custom [product], the quantity which is the square footage, and then the price per square foot which will then give me my price per sheet or overall amount. Then we also have our setup fee that's per square foot in order to get the final amount of 1,500.

Billy: Another thing that we put in is so that reps don't have to necessarily click this wrench to go in and reconfigure. We added these attributes to the line drawers so they can go in here. You see that this list price right now is 395. When it changes to plus it's going to change it to 481. That way they're not having to take the extra click to necessarily go in, reconfigure, save, and see the products this way. It's all real time for them, being able to see those calculations without even having to take a few extra steps to then see the rules get applied on the line editor.

Jessica: Which I'm sure is really handy if you're on the phone with a customer and they're saying, "Okay, how would the price be affected if I switch it to this versus that?" So not having to wait or all that to load and then recalculate is probably really a nice convenience for them.

Billy: Absolutely. I mean, even with being on a phone or using your mobile device that helps too because then you're not ... I mean, you want to try to make that as easy as possible and smooth as possible, especially if they're at a job site or interacting with a customer in person, they can do that on their phone too.

Jessica: Awesome. In a lot of ways this really takes a lot of the research requirements and the sort of backend work that the sales reps have to do off of their place. It automates it and so it should also streamline the sales process, speed up their ... or just increase their efficiency.

Billy: Right. And not only efficiency, but helps keep their promises to stay true. That way the relationship isn't strained with the customer and also then the relationship between the sales person and the production floor is also not strained based off of a over promise or a misconfiguration.

Jessica: Awesome. Yeah. So everybody is on the same page.

Andrew: I think one other thing I'd like to add on top of that as it relates to what Billy alluded to with a setup fee or some of these other things that translates back down to the shop floor and the actual manufacturing process, so this also helps keep those costs in check because they know for particular products there might have to be extended period of time to set that up or to reconfigure the machines on the shop floor to run that particular size or dimension. So being able to bake that in also helps ensure a more accurate cost, so that the company is not losing out or reducing their margins for any of these custom products.

Jessica: Awesome. Yes, so a very smart system. Guys, how much of this is out of the box and how much of it did we kind of have to configure and develop solutions for it to be able to fit these manufacturers' needs?

Billy: Everything here is using what came with CPQ. There is no custom code or logic that we had to put in place in order for these to work. We used everything that is based from CPQ and we were able to do all this functionality through what was in the package.

Jessica: Awesome. Office dog chiming in a little bit there. Yeah, so basically it's just knowing really how to work the system and configure it to meet a manufacturer's needs. So that's what Mountain Point does in this situation, like taking the product that they've bought and making sure that the customer gets the most out of it and that it's aligned to their particular processes?

Billy: Exactly. A lot of times it may not even be just be having a custom product. It might be having a pre-configured product and being able to adjust it after selecting it, or having something to say. I want a pre-configured product or I need to start from scratch and then having the products filter from there. There's a lot of different ways that you can approach the process and whatever best fits your business needs, we'll definitely pinpoint that and show you how that functions within CPQ.

Jessica: Great. Any other follow up thoughts on this solution or this problem that manufacturers face before we sign off for today guys?

Billy: One other thing that I will say within CPQ is, and this is especially for this company, is that they use groups a lot. What I mean by that is you can group products into these chunks or groups in other words. So what they use it for is if they want to make a recommendation to a customer, they can clone a group. Let's say this is the request and this is the recommendation. They can go in and change, so instead of the formula meter they're going to recommend the formula meter plus even though it might cost more and then they can mark that as optional so it doesn't impact the overall quote total, or they can present that to the customer saying, "This is what you're looking for, this is what we recommend based off of what you're using it for," and then have those both appear when they send that quote to their customer. That's another way to maybe increase sales or have a alternative option for the customers to spark some conversations.

Jessica: Yeah, and should provide a proactive solution and kind of add value to this process, so, "Hey, this four millimeter plus is going to hold up a lot better," but not immediately turn people off whenever they see the bottom line price because it's different than what they expected.

Jessica: Andrew, anything to add?

Andrew: Yeah, the last thing that I would add is that manufacturers that we work with all have similar challenges in that they are trying to figure out how to grow and scale their business organization. So when you talk about needing to bring on the next generation of talent and fill some of these roles that are going to be retiring or moving out of the organization, this is another example with how you can take tribal knowledge or things that your best sales rep has potentially created his own three-ring binder on his knowledge or an Excel sheet around his 20 years of experience. And knowing that in this particular example that you really need four millimeter plus for the application that you're specifying, because the durability will hold up much longer.

Andrew: So being able to take that knowledge base that typically isn't documented somewhere and extract that out creates more of an onboarding and training so that you can grow and scale new reps and new sales folks inside and out to be able to take that tribal and knowledge and put it into a system and put those bounds and perimeters around it so they can step in and be more effective than their job out of the gate.

Jessica: Yeah, awesome. It's like having an extra brain, taking your best salesmen and everything that they know and putting it all in one database so everybody can share is wonderful.

Jessica: All right, well guys, thank you. I think that covers our questions for today. If you have a question in the future, those of you who are watching, we'd love to talk it through, so hit us up on Twitter or LinkedIn or via email and we will absolutely add it to our list of things to address in future videos. Thank you guys and happy Friday.

Billy: Thank you.

Andrew: Thank you.

Topics: Configure Price Quote (CPQ)

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