Which CPQ Implementation Approach is Best for You?

Which CPQ Implementation Approach is Best for You?

Are you thinking about implementing Salesforce Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) but are not sure of the best path to take? Implementing Salesforce CPQ can be a complex and time-consuming process. If you do not have the necessary resources, such as budget, personnel, or expertise, it can be challenging to successfully implement the system. There are three main approaches to CPQ implementation: a Salesforce Partner Led Implementation, a Salesforce Partner Guided Implementation, or a Self-Implementation. Here are a few things to consider when deciding:

1. Salesforce Partner Led Implementation

For those not already familiar with CPQ I would strongly recommend using a Salesforce Partner with expertise in that area to do the full implementation. Make sure to get a Salesforce Partner that has an actual CPQ Practice. Partners who specialize in implementing Salesforce CPQ have in-depth knowledge and experience with the solution and the platform, which can help ensure a smooth and successful implementation. Qualified Partners will also adhere to and share best practices and industry insights to help you get the most out of the implementation and optimize your sales processes. Using a Partner for the implementation can save you time and resources by allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business while the partner handles the technical details of the implementation.

2. Salesforce Partner Guided Implementation

If a Salesforce Partner led implementation is not possible due to budget constraints the next best approach would be to use a Salesforce Partner for a Guided Implementation. This approach can be especially helpful when you have a strong Salesforce Administrator who wants to learn Salesforce CPQ. In this type of engagement, the Partner is not hands on but instead provides guidance and best practices throughout the implementation.

Additionally, if you realize the effort is more than what you anticipated the Partner is already familiar with your business processes and requirements and can jump in to help and take over the implementation. I have seen it go both ways. Some successfully deliver the project with just guidance and others come to realize Salesforce CPQ is not something you just figure out on the fly. The key differentiator is the Salesforce Administrator and the investment the company puts in them. To help this approach be successful it is highly recommended that the Salesforce Administrator take the formal Salesforce CPQ training as well as go through the specific Trailheads prior to the start of the project.

3. Self-Implementation

Although not recommended, sometimes there is just no other alternative but to self-implement. In these cases, it is still best to invest in the Salesforce Administrator and get them formal training prior to the start of the project. Salesforce CPQ is data driven in that the actual data records drive functionality. This is very different from regular Sales Cloud for example. Additionally, the data model is quite complex with a lot of relationships upon relationships. CPQ implementations are extremely complicated.  To avoid a poor implementation, companies need an experienced CPQ expert (which in our experience is extremely rare), strong PM skills and internal, cross-departmental alignment.

Since CPQ is so difficult to do well, initial “cost savings” often evaporate as implementation timelines stretch and/or external resources are brought in-to course correct.  For MOST companies, the most efficient and cost-effective approach to CPQ implementation is to engage a Salesforce Partner with an established CPQ Practice.


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