Why User Perspective is Important for CRM/CPQ?

Oct 23, 2022 CPQ

A few weeks back, while trying to share a Powerpoint Deck (MS Office 365), I noticed that I had to click ‘Share’, then click ‘Create link’, then click again ‘Create link’, then click ‘Copy Link’ to finally get the link to the file that I could share. That’s a whole 4 clicks to generate one link. While at the same time, sharing a Smartsheet file, it took only 2 clicks. So, that’s a 50% savings in clicks! Now, if Office 365 is being used by 365 million users, that’s a lot of time lost in clicking! 

My focus is not here to talk about Office 365, it’s just an example that everyone can relate to. We can use the same logic for CRM and CPQ benefits. CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, software platforms (e.g. Salesforce, Oracle, MS Dynamics…) are very common for mid-size companies to the biggest enterprises in the world. The most common benefits of CRM include centralized customer data, more revenue through deal conversion, better customer satisfaction & retention, automation to minimize data entry/human errors, data analytics including reporting & Dashboards, and so on. While using CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) platforms (e.g. Salesforce CPQ, Oracle CPQ, SAP CPQ….), businesses can automate their Lead to Quote process and improve over the Quote to Cash process. The benefits of using CPQ platforms may include automating configuration, pricing, and quote creation process by replacing legacy/Excel-based tools, streamlining end-to-end quote & approval processes, minimizing duplications in data entry, improving overall revenue & win rates, centralized data management & data accuracy, better analytics, and predictions, etc. There are countless measurable benefits of CRM & CPQ, also even more intangible benefits. 

Now, to get users on-boarded on CRM/CPQ, we are asking them to move away from offline systems/legacy systems that they’ve been using for decades. Roughly a decade back, when I was calculating the potential tangible benefits of a CPQ platform, one user raised a very good point, he was ‘clicking’ more and filling in ‘more data’, than he used to need to get the same quote out. While overall the platforms added significant values (e.g. 10% y/y revenue increase), individual users like him were spending more time in generating quotes, or in other words, the hrs/quote using CPQ was going up compared to hrs/quote using Excel. 

After analyzing further, including but not limited to shadowing the user from the beginning to end of a quote generation process, we managed to capture (in addition to other data) the number of ‘clicks’ he had to get through in the process. It was, actually, true that he didn’t need to click that much to get a quote out of Excel. To solve the problem, we had to go back to the drawing-board and re-looked at the value stream map, but this time, from the user perspective. We did notice that we could reduce the number of clicks by 40% (for example) through automation. For example, we identified more fields that could be auto-filled from CRM to CPQ, so the user wouldn’t need to manually fill those; another example was to let the user save the quote in Favorite and also introduce a better guided selling (few clicks to generate the whole quote) to the CPQ. Overall, in the 

By Reza