Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solutions have been an important part of businesses since the 1990s, paving the way for a more streamlined process of selling configured or even engineered-to-order products and services. However, a paradigm shift occurred when PROS unveiled its Smart CPQ – a transformative software solution built not just for selling products but architecting entire experiences.
Born from the desire to deliver better buying and selling experiences, CPQ solutions evolved from back-end, add-on modules into front-end efficiency tools. PROS took this evolution a step further, creating a CPQ solution with expansive capabilities, including industry-specific templates, 2D configuration support, and AI-powered pricing algorithms, as well as an almost instant ROI with little time to value.
Most CPQ solutions are add-on modules that have been acquired by a CRM vendor. This history includes Oracle, which purchased Big Machines and Verenia; Salesforce, which purchased Steelbrick and Vlocity; and SAP, which bought CallidusCloud.
The challenge with this kind of CPQ solution is the focus on a particular CRM system, which leads to a myopic focus of only supporting a traditional, direct selling motion. PROS Smart CPQ’s omnichannel solution allows for customers to connect with a collaboration portal that includes updates with no browser refresh, and they can quickly build a quote on their own with an integrated, intuitive catalog. This gives buyers the freedom to choose a fully digital experience with no help from a sales rep or a multi-channel experience with access to a sales rep who has real-time access to the customer’s configurations.
Just recently, PROS Smart CPQ’s commitment to efficiency, innovation, and user-centric design led to its recognition as a Leader in the Forrester Wave™: Configure, Price, Quote Solutions, Q2 2023 report. It scored second highest for its current offering and topped 13 categories, further attesting to its top-tier status in the industry.
The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites also ranked PROS as a Leader for the second year in a row and rated PROS Smart CPQ the #1 fit for omnichannel selling.
According to Gartner’s Critical Capabilities report as part of the Magic Quadrant, PROS Smart CPQ’s strengths include:
- Seamless integration across multiple platforms
- Strong product selection capabilities
- Extensive array of configuration and pricing features
- Speedy, easy-to-use UI
- Robust hybrid architecture
Let’s dive in and uncover what sets PROS Smart CPQ apart from its peers. There are 8 key differentiators:
- A Flexible and modular architecture
Using a hybrid architecture, PROS Smart CPQ offers a unique solution. Its administration UI and rule engines are hosted on Microsoft Azure, while key operations such as end-user interface, document creation, approvals process, and transactional schema are handled by either Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce.
PROS Smart CPQ focuses on maintaining fast response times, ensuring smooth and efficient operation for users. The setup of PROS Smart CPQ illustrates a practical approach to blending different technological platforms.
Beyond standard out of the box integrations, the PROS Platform can be consumed in part or in whole to deliver end-to-end workflows, product configuration for self-service/eCommerce, collaborative quoting, omnichannel price management and delivery, and negotiated and non-negotiated price optimization.
- Unique Omnichannel Capabilities with a Single Catalog
PROS Smart CPQ delivers a streamlined, consistent experience across all sales channels – web, mobile, and call center – leveraging its robust omnichannel capabilities. It features a central quoting interface, empowering sales reps to produce and handle quotes from any device, anywhere.
The software ensures all quotes are up-to-date and accurate by utilizing real-time data synchronization, which automatically refreshes data. This ensures that quotes remain precise no matter where or how they’re adjusted. The platform is also fully integrated with CRM, seamlessly linking to existing systems and providing sales teams with a comprehensive customer view and reducing the administrative work sellers must perform inside their CRM.
The benefits extend to the customers as well. They gain real-time access to view and approve quotes, giving them more control as well as fostering trust. This in turn enriches their overall purchasing experience, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty. PROS Smart CPQ is revolutionizing the sales process with its combination of unified system capabilities and user-friendly features.
All this said, omnichannel CPQ is clearly the way forward, and the CPQ solutions that don’t offer this kind of experience will almost certainly be disrupted by competitors.
- Robust Product Features
Versatility is a vital attribute of any CPQ solution. PROS Smart CPQ excels in this aspect with its wide array of features including:
- System support of selling scenarios for up to 10K product line items
- Common product repository that supports multiple attributes, rich content, and 2D/3D product visualizations for multi-channel use
- Excel imports/exports that support management of Excel docs within or outside quotes
- Integrated analytics charts that review profitability immediately with Price Waterfall chart or use native PROS Smart CPQ to help with decision-making
- Mass quote changes, which allow users to manipulate content/price changes to quotes at scale
- Simultaneous quote collaboration, which enables Sales and Pricing teams to work together to finalize quotes
- One-click document generation
- Support for selling one-time products and recurring services from the same CPQ
PROS Smart CPQ supports all key sales workflows end-to-end: from creating and managing complex configurations and quotes for spot-buys, to modifying sales agreements and contracts. Armed with powerful AI insights, sales teams complete all the necessary tasks more effectively, reducing delays and discrepancies that often occur. As a result, teams maximize deal size and speed up sales cycles, accelerating response times from days and even weeks, to minutes.
PROS Smart CPQ can handle bundled configurations, which give the user the ability to set up a configuration once and go through it as many times as needed to create a complete offer. PROS Smart CPQ can also handle one-click configurations where users can build fast configurations that allow for the selection of the parts, and then automatically build the remaining item configurations based on certain attributes, business uses cases, or desired outcomes.
Adaptable across industries, PROS Smart CPQ supports quote-to-order (think ordering an off-the-shelf door from Home Depot), quote-to-agreement (i.e., setting customer-specific pricing and terms), and quote-to-subscription (e.g., configuring a home security system with a service package, installation fee, number of visits, usage-based costs, etc.).
A multi-channel product catalog with intuitive guided selling questionnaires helps users select the right products, and a user-friendly interface delivers AI-generated and personalized cross-sell and up-sell recommendations based on the user’s buying behaviors. With its constraints-based configuration engine, sales reps can configure complex products and services without error, ensuring the integrity of the solution.
- Leveraging Constraints-based Configuration
In CPQ, “rules” and “constraints” aren’t just interchangeable words – they represent very different approaches that produce different results. To give you an idea, imagine that two companies, Company A and Company B, are competing with each other to sell colored pens. Both companies currently offer pens in ten different colors, each with matching caps – a total of 20 components.
While the companies have identical product portfolios, they manage them in different ways:
- To build its product catalog, Company A uses rules-based configuration, which requires ten different rules to match the pen with the right cap. These rules look like: blue pen = blue cap; red pen = red cap; and so on.
- Company B, on the other hand, uses constraint-based configuration, which specifies only one relationship: cap color = pen color.
Now, picture what happens when these companies add new pen colors. Company A has to create new rules, such as “purple pen = purple cap,” while Company B does not. Company B’s constraints-based system starts out (and remains) simple, while the rules-based system grows increasingly complex and cumbersome over time.
Like Company B, PROS Smart CPQ relies on a constraints-based configuration, a departure from the traditional rules-based approach, resulting in a variety of benefits, including:
- More Flexible and Dynamic Sales Processes. When businesses rely on rules-based engines, they often have to configure a product in a very linear flow. PROS Smart CPQ can start from any point in the configuration since it evaluates constraints in real-time.
- Reduced Maintenance: It cuts down the effort and expense required to maintain the portfolio by eliminating unnecessary coding when new products, features, and offers are added.
- Greater Speed and Performance: It streamlines code, significantly improving the CPQ application performance.
- Better Use of Technical Resources: Business users can manage the portfolio themselves without waiting for IT assistance.
- Streamlined Product Lifecycle Management: Constraints-based configuration simplifies updating the CPQ system to accommodate new product generations.
- Faster Time to Market with New Offers and Promotions: Constraints also streamline the creation of new offers and promotions, enabling businesses to respond quickly to market changes.
- Delivering Exceptional User Experience
A CPQ solution’s user experience can significantly impact its adoption rate and overall success. If sellers struggle to use a solution, it will not be adopted, and the ROI will never be realized. PROS Smart CPQ focuses on delivering a seamless experience to its users—be it customers who start their buying journey online and wish to complete it by calling a sales rep or vice versa. It enables smooth collaboration between different channels, making updates or launching new offerings a breeze.
PROS Smart CPQ goes the extra mile to ensure that the technology is intuitive, easy, and inviting to use across devices for a buying experience without unnecessary wait times. It integrates with Adobe Sign and DocuSign for electronic signature, making the sales process more efficient. Templates can be easily created and edited in Microsoft Word, and customers opting for price optimization will significantly benefit from the intelligent pricing and discounting recommendations.
In addition, PROS Smart CPQ facilitates effortless product imports from Excel files, allowing customers to smoothly integrate their existing catalogs. The software speeds up the quoting process by offering a ‘favorite configurations’ feature and takes it a step further with needs analysis workflows guided by rule-based systems and advanced machine learning algorithms. It’s as though the solution is wearing a Sherlock Holmes hat, decoding insightful patterns and trends to help businesses make data-driven decisions.
- Seamless Integration with Multiple Systems
PROS Smart CPQ is suite of functional services that smoothly interfaces with the most important transactional business applications like CRMs, ERPs, and eCommerce systems. PROS Smart CPQ ensures swift integration with these systems, significantly reducing software development and management costs.
By embedding CPQ capabilities into third-party applications, PROS Smart CPQ enhances the overall value of those applications and easily enables a multichannel sales strategy. This seamless integration results in the reduction of manual steps, elimination of duplicate data exchange, enforcement of data consistency, and provision of a user-friendly interface.
PROS Smart CPQ’s direct sales channel is reinforced by seamless integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Salesforce Sales Cloud. This means that users can leverage PROS Smart CPQ from within the business applications they are already using, not only improving the CPQ experience but also improving adoption of core technologies like CRM.
The reseller channel further benefits from an integration with Microsoft Power Apps and Salesforce Community Cloud, all while reusing the same catalog and business logic. It also offers a punch-out configuration and quoting UI that can be embedded into a reseller’s web portal or into a customer facing website or eCommerce experience.
- Administration and Extensibility
PROS Smart CPQ is designed to minimize IT intervention, allowing you to have full control over your system. Thanks to self-service administration, you can implement changes quickly and efficiently.
Additionally, PROS provides APIs that give you the capability to build custom solutions that integrate seamlessly with PROS Smart CPQ, allowing you to innovate and adapt to your market’s changing needs. Whether it’s integrating with new software or adapting to new business processes, the extensibility of PROS Smart CPQ allows you to remain agile and supports you at scale.
Advanced Pricing Engine
One of the most compelling differentiators of PROS Smart CPQ lies in its pricing capabilities. With our sophisticated pricing engine, pricing is no longer a guessing game. The software leverages AI to derive optimal pricing strategies, thereby enabling businesses to drive revenue and margins, while staying competitive. AI price recommendations are provided with accompanying natural language explanations to give users the confidence needed to propose the right price.
PROS Smart CPQ digs deep into data to gain insight into customer preferences, market trends, and competition, thereby developing dynamic pricing strategies that align with the overall business objectives. This brings an unprecedented level of precision to pricing that helps in enhancing profitability and maintaining market leadership. It’s not just about setting prices, but about dynamically optimizing them according to rapidly shifting business landscapes.
This practice is commonly known as Dynamic Pricing, which officially started at the pump in the oil and gas industry but has been around in some form for centuries. Dynamic Pricing has become an integral part of many business models, particularly in e-commerce, travel, hospitality, and entertainment—just think of the price of Taylor Swift tickets or how you configured your burger at Shake Shack.
PROS Customer Success Story
This post wouldn’t be complete without an example of a PROS customer who is happy to share their PROS Smart CPQ story. SDMO Industries, the world’s third largest manufacturer of power generating units with $66 million in revenue, achieved a 90% reduction in order processing time with PROS Smart CPQ.
Their worldwide rollout included:
- SDMO corporate headquarters
- Seven commercial agencies
- All SDMO subsidiary companies and international offices
- More than 300 sales representatives and distributors
- More than 150 countries worldwide
And they’re ALL using PROS Smart CPQ!
Before PROS, SDMO had a lofty, three-part vision:
First, with 75% of its sales revenue coming from exports, SDMO wanted to develop new markets and sales channels, but they needed a solution that was capable of handling the complexity of international expansion.
Second, SDMO aimed to implement a single software solution across its global sales network that spanned five continents. They needed a solution that would improve the effectiveness of their entire sales team, simplify the sales training process, and ensure consistent customer service across all sales channels.
Third, operational efficiency was a major concern. SDMO wanted to slash operational costs and reduce delays by eliminating manual processes and automating the order-to-manufacturing handoff, thereby curbing the incessant back and forth communication between engineers, sales teams, and customers.
Enter PROS Smart CPQ, a multichannel commerce solution selected by SDMO Industries after assessing several alternatives. PROS Smart CPQ was the tool of choice for more than 300 sales representatives and distributors across 150+ countries.
With PROS Smart CPQ, SDMO Industries was able to:
- Develop a master catalog tailored to each specific market
- Guide sales reps and channel partners through the selling process
- Identify and locate specific products and their spare parts
- Customize power generating units quickly to match customer requirements
- Generate accurate, compelling quotes and proposals
- Seamlessly convert quotes into customer orders
- For configured products, dynamically generate Bills-of-Material and routings, which were then integrated into SDMO Industries’ ERP system
PROS Smart CPQ revolutionized SDMO Industries’ lead-to-order-to-post-sales process. Sales reps can now create quotes in minutes and effortlessly convert them into orders. The software also dynamically generates manufacturing data for each configured order, eliminating errors and streamlining the entire process.
This new-found efficiency has transformed SDMO Industries’ ability to respond to requests, better meet customer needs, and reduce the overall cost of sales. The worldwide rollout of Smart CPQ has led to improved consistency across the sales network, enhanced communication, and a better trained sales force.
In a nutshell, the adoption of PROS Smart CPQ has made SDMO Industries’ sales organization more effective, productive, and ready to tackle future growth.
PROS Smart CPQ is always “on” because it was engineered for a world where commerce never stops. It’s more than just a CPQ solution; it’s the key to faster, smarter, and more efficient business operations, helping you adapt, innovate, and excel. Connect with PROS today or click here to request a demo of PROS Smart CPQ.