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CPQs and GenAI should be “besties”.

From copying and pasting the very first quote templated in WordPerfect, BDMs and businesses have come a long way with the help from “configuring, pricing and quoting” CPQ “OGs” like BigMachines (now Oracle) and SteelBrick (now Salesforce) who set the quantitative benchmarks of today’s CPQ process.


Turn your head to the qualitative aspects of the CPQ process, and you will see GenAI screaming loudly “put me in coach!”, ready to give businesses an advantage in the competitive world of sales.


A sales team pipeline review
The sales process is not just about "metrics"...

Quotes and proposals for products and services, and thus CPQ solutions, are a critical path items in both B2B and B2C business growth. Until recently, CPQ implementations leveraging the likes of Salesforce, Infor, Zoho and Conga have focused on the quantitative elements of the process: automation, efficiency, accuracy, and business integration to name a few.





  • How fast can the BDM generate, route and approve a quote?

  • How much revenue has been quoted? What is the average size of the deals?

  • Do the quoted line items have the correct prices, discount, corresponding descriptive narrative and qualifying terms and conditions?


Qualitative elements the CPQ process are mostly customer-facing, and play a vital role in shepherding customers to a “yes”. Here are three key examples of how GenAI is transforming the qualitative capabilities of the CPQ process in ways we couldn’t do before.

 



Laser-focused Responsive Personalization

Until now, the best we could do with CPQ tools was pulling organized information from the CRM and filling-in one of several pre-made and generic templates with the customer business’ name and information. Fancier templates even pepper the name of the customer’s point of contact in selected paragraphs throughout the copy. The results are “robotic” and quite frankly irritating, especially when there is a grammatical disconnect that ruins the magic of a letter the BDM pretends to be uniquely redacted for the prospect; even though it has been included verbatim in every proposal ever sent to the prospect or customer.


GenAI enables current CPQ solutions to generate and incorporate laser-focused personalized content into quotes and proposals. Not only can GenAI generate content that is responsive to a customer’s written mission statement on their website; it can also adjust the narrative to the products quoted and the specifications of an RFP, if there is one. All of this in near-real time, and fully responsive to the details of the deal.

Let’s pull on this thread a bit more…

 


Risk-Benefit Influencing Recommendations

“Because you liked this, we recommend you get…"

”Would you like to buy the extended warranty with your purchase of…”


Until now, the best CPQs could do was to recommend adding products and services to a proposal or quote based on the items quoted, items purchased in the past, or even the customer’s past behavior (yeah, cookies). This is quantitative logic, in that the suggestions may come from big-data and AI analysis, but the delivery is void of influencing justification. If… then…


GenAI can take the next step and deliver not only the recommendation with laser-focused personalization (like mentioned above), but also appeal with convincing voice and tone to the “benefit or risk” that the prospect decision to buy or not implies. Said in simple terms, it could speak to the prospect’s better angels and sway their emotions, and push the deal closer to “yes”.


Let’s take this one step even further…

 


Media and Time-based Differentiation Messaging

A 1% difference in price may not be enough to set you apart from a close competitor. Especially when the comparison is happening only once, and at a single point in time. Most CPQ solutions make measured recommendation on how to handle the infamous “best and final offer” (BAFO).


Well-integrated GenAI can responsively influence B2B and C2C sales cycle outcomes by constantly differentiating your business from the competition not only with laser-focused personalization and influencing recommendations, but also with consistently unique media and delivery methods that in aggregate form will continue moving your offer much closer to “yes” than that of the competition.


Imagine the ability to have a prospect branded short video, with an avatar of the BDM or other senior executive (depending on the size of the deal) with a unique, focused and targeted message to the prospect be delivered via email, or on a dedicated customer landing page. One that changes with every change of the quote. You don’t have to dream about this – it can be done through solutions like Fuel For Thought's Click-To-Create and others.

 

Selling is much more than pricing, metrics and efficiency. When the intangible qualitative elements of the opportunity work in concert with the quantitative counterparts deals and their associated revenue is closer to hitting your business’ P&L (and in the right column!).

Integrate GenAI to your CPQ solution, and don’t settle for “good”.


Find a great integrator and make GenAI and boost your CPQ solution to give your business a true edge.

 

PS:

Shout out to all #salesoperations professionals, as oftentimes they are the “invisible heroes” mastering the CPQ tool and process for their BDMs and sales teams. (Yeah, you do deserve that trip to Club too!)

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