28 Sep Salesforce CPQ news from Dreamforce ‘18
By Camil Bourbeau, Vice-President at Nubik
This week is Dreamforce ‘18, the annual conference where Salesforce unveils all of the great new things to come with its family of Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, including Salesforce CPQ. Nubik had numerous team members on site at Dreamforce and we took lots of notes and pictures of the presentations. Now on to the update.
CPQ is Salesforce’s SaaS platform for managing the entire customer lifecycle from lead to quote to retention. (Salesforce said that over 17 million quotes have been generated to date in CPQ.) In fact, there was a full Dreamforce keynote dedicated to CPQ this year, “Salesforce CPQ & Billing Keynote: Build Recurring Customer Relationships”. Yes, that’s right. CPQ now features billing.
Billing is everything
Why is billing so exciting? The answer is simple: the gap is now closing between quoting and retention by adding two essential elements: invoicing and payment. This customer-centric view is helping to unify sales and finance. Including the Contract/Order, these components are aiming at driving revenue management on the Salesforce platform. The same pricing will be used in both CPQ and Billing, which means that less information is being replicated in various systems. CPQ + Billing effectively closes the last mile of the sales cycle. Salesforce indicated that CPQ + Billing is now generally available. Speak with your Nubik account manager to learn more.
New CPQ and Billing features
Let’s now focus on some promising features that will be delivered with Salesforce CPQ and Billing in the near future:
Usage-based pricing support
This powerful new addition enables companies of all types to charge based on usage, ensuring that what is actually consumed by the customer is billed for.
We all know about the internet/phone provider model (i.e., Internet package with bandwidth cap and a data transfer allowance) and many more businesses are now converging to this model. For example, if you are a software company, you can move from a perpetual license (i.e., the customer purchases and owns the software forever) to a subscription basis. CPQ + Billing provides support for these new business model.
Salesforce showed an example of this from a launch partner, Kronos, which charges based on the number of seats. As displayed above in this screen capture from the keynote, customer usage is viewable from within Salesforce. Once usage (the red bar) approaches a higher tier (the blue line), a trigger can be set to have the account manager proactively upsell the customer to a higher tier (as opposed to charging an overage fee and dealing with difficult conversations.) This helps the account manager become a trusted advisor.
During the keynote, Kronos indicated that they saw a 75% reduction in manual processes as a result of implementing CPQ + Billing. Much of these savings in time and effort are made possible because in CPQ, the contract is a living, breathing record. It’s automatically updated when account manager changes customer tiers, etc., enabling you to send accurate invoices every month and doing away with need for manual reconciliation. Billing is accurate because the invoice is accurate.
Usage rating is already available in Billing. An upcoming enhancement will offer usage rate cards per product, as well as additional usage rating methods.
Extended by thousands of pre-built apps on AppExchange and MuleSoft. So you can send the invoice in Salesforce, have it be paid in Oracle Financials, and then synced back to Salesforce via MuleSoft integration.
Pay as you go (PAYG)
The new PAYG features provides support for recurring revenues based on Netflix-like open-ended subscriptions. (These types of customers are referred to as evergreen customers.) This feature will allow to manage subscription without a term or end date. While simplifying questions around usage/consumption.
Conga for Salesforce CPQ & Billing
Now you can create a professional brand-friendly, customer-facing quote in PDF format with the right Terms and Conditions for each product in the quote with a single mouse click.
Extending CPQ + Billing
Salesforce indicated there were thousands of apps on the AppExchange today that can leverage CPQ + Billing. They also discussed how CPQ + Billing integrates with MuleSoft, recently acquired by Salesforce, and thus onto ERP and other business systems.
Customer assets (Install Base)
Going forward, Salesforce CPQ will provide a complete view of the specific product units or assets that were purchased by customers. It will also provide a detailed view of invoices, payments and revenue recognition per customer asset.
Omni Channel Commerce
Salesforce now supports B2B e-commerce and self-service in Lightning Communities as well as CPQ & Billing. This new capability adds shared data & services for CPQ, Billing, B2B Commerce & Order Management for a seamless experience. It also offers enhanced APIs (e.g., DocGen and GetPrice).
Using a configuration wizard, CPQ guided selling simplifies the selection of products when configuring a quote, making the configuration of complex deals fast. Using a custom, pre-built questionnaire, the account manager can identify the prospect’s organization type, the business need, and the scale and scope of the need. Guided selling will then build out an order with all of the recommended products, saving some serious time in the process. The Account Manager can then tweak the deal components, removing some, adding others.
There were a number of Einstein enhancements showing during the keynote, centered around the idea of turning transaction data into insights that can drive enhanced deal success and profitability.
Einstein will apply machine learning to your sales data. It will look at historical deal history (wins and losses) and use that insight to optimize pricing for current deals.
Einstein pricing will also propose line-item recommendations for pricing, enabling you to sell at an optimal price based on historical sales. Einstein tracks the previous maximum sale price, the previous minimum, and previous averages, etc., relative to the proposed price.
As shown in the screenshot above, Einstein will also work to understand where you are discounting your prices, and where you don’t need to. In this example, we can see that the highest price paid was $2901.01 and the lowest was $2500.03, with an average of $2773.13. Here the account manager is proposing a 5% discount to give a price of $2731.25. As Einstein shows, we have the ability to increase the price by almost $42 without risking the deal.
Einstein will also provide an at-a-glance view of how reps are discounting pricing so that you can have the conversations necessary to drive improved profitability or you can provide additional training on the value that the company’s product and services provide to customers.
These are a series of out-of-the-box dashboards based on data insights that you can use to jump-start your use of Einstein in selling.
We’ve written a couple of times about how Salesforce CPQ can be used to transform configuration, pricing, and quoting activities. If you haven’t read them yet, we suggest you open a few new tabs in your browser.