CPQ for B2B and B2C: The new normal

This is a guest post by iQuoteXpress

Things have changed for what began as a humble sales proposal tool. Configure, price, quote (CPQ) solutions are now doing the heavy lifting across a wide array of sales and selling functional areas.

For example, traditional B2B companies, such as those in manufacturing, are using CPQ functionality (specifically, the pricing and configuration engine) to create self-serve portals and tools for customers who need to replenish specific products, or adjust existing orders.

Traditional B2C companies, such as ecommerce, are also leveraging CPQ functionality to empower shoppers to further personalize their shopping experience, and even create their own product configurations and bundles.

The common thread in both of these examples (and throughout most industries) is that the consumer is more in command of how and when they engage with a business, and is empowered with more tools to fashion their own best possible outcome. This makes sense since happy customers are repeat customers.

The customer at the wheel means a lot more deals

Some people credit online shopping for this new paradigm, but–when you think about it–customers had more control over their experience in the brick and mortar world before online shopping. They'd browse at their leisure, move from one department to another, and get one-on-one help from a sales associate immediately upon request.

The first online storefronts mostly took that away, presenting a handful of products, forcing the customer to either take what was in front of them, or to know how to dig deeply into categories to see if you had what they wanted. But now there are customer-driven storefronts, tailored to preferences and behaviors (e.g., Amazon), a massive improvement and, of course, a massive success.

While customer-driven storefronts do a good job of anticipating what customers want, it doesn’t hand them the reins. In many ways, they’re still in an old-school online storefront, albeit one more customized to their shopping history. Adding CPQ functionality to the shopping experience gives the customer control. If a customer doesn't see what they want, they can configure it themselves.

We’re saying this structure leads to more deals because that’s exactly what we’re seeing when CPQ is used to create self-service mechanisms for B2B companies. Self service almost always means increased customer satisfaction (because they have more control), and increased satisfaction almost always means more revenue.

There’s another benefit in adding CPQ to both your B2B and B2C customer experiences: the data.

New data feeds = new revenue streams  

What’s better information to have?

  • “Our customers like these three products out of the 100 we’re presenting based on our 1,000 components.”
  • “Our customers are creating 100 new products based on our 1,000 components.”

We’d say the latter, as it’s similar to customers showing you what they want, rather than them reacting (buying/not buying) to what you show them.

With CPQ functionality embedded into your self-serve portal or storefront, you can capture this type of data. This serves as free R&D for your product team as the market is showing you exactly what it wants from you.

Additionally, you can leverage this data within your Zoho CRM system to create more personalized and rewarding customer journeys. The granular data provided when a customer is at the wheel is as precious as a sale itself.

There’s no turning back now  

Now that the customer is in control of their shopping experience—be it a B2C purchase like an e-Bike, or a complex B2B purchase like a robust assemblage of fasteners, clamps, and wiring for an HVAC business—you may rest assured they will not give that control back.

That’s a good thing because, as we’ve shown, it usually means more revenue and more actionable data for you. It’s the new normal, and we expect this new normal to be a boom time.

Are you ready to take advantage of this and add CPQ functionality to your Zoho CRM or Zoho Books solution? Head over to Zoho Marketplace to find the iQuoteXpress integration for Zoho CRM & Zoho Books.

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