5 reasons why Salesforce CPQ is the right match for your business

Generating accurate and professional quotes is an important sales activity. With custom pricing and product packages, this is not an easy job. It is even more difficult when you have unique customer demands and fierce market competition. The whole process of generating custom, configured quotes is time-taking and complex. A delay in sending a quote could lead to the risk of losing a customer.

CPQ software shortens the sales process and minimizes this potential risk. CPQ, which stands for Configure, Price, Quote is a set of smart software designed to help enterprises simplify and streamline sales activities. It reduces quoting errors and improves sales productivity. Companies experience a 17% higher lead conversion rate with the use of CPQ software.

It is a total lifesaver for sales organizations and many businesses are now implementing CPQ to stay on top of the market dynamics. Among the numerous CPQ solutions available in the market, Salesforce’s CPQ Billing is one of the most trusted and widely implemented software. It offers all the business benefits of CPQ Billing with some value-added advantages.

Guided selling

Salesforce simplifies and optimizes the selling process with the help of guided selling. Guided selling is an interesting feature that allows sales reps to enter the information gathered from prospects into a handy tool and generate optimal product packages based on unique needs. It cuts down the time and effort involved in manual quoting and offers best fitting solutions to the customer.

Professional quote generation

The level of professionalism in connecting with the customer is a key component of your company’s brand. Salesforce makes it easy for your sales teams by introducing highly customizable and smart quoting templates. With this, you can create and send sales quotations, invoices and professional branded proposals to your customers, and integrate it with customer e-signature to close deals faster.

Subscription billing and management

If you deal with products or services that are billed on a recurring basis, Salesforce CPQ is a smart investment for you as it goes beyond just pricing and quoting. It streamlines recurring billing and revenue management by automating the entire subscription billing process. It also helps you manage free trials, freemiums, setup charges, discounts, refunds, and renewals all in one place and allows you to offer flexible billing terms to meet specific client demands.

Intelligent analytics and automated reporting

Salesforce CPQ enables you to integrate your sales process with applications and software that boost sales profitability and help you make better decisions. For instance, by using in-built platform tools like Salesforce Einstein Artificial Intelligence, you can apply logic to improve your sales efforts, collection practices as well as adjust pricing according to external factors like trending market rates. Salesforce also allows you to generate automated performance and profitability reports accurately within the CPQ tool.

Cloud and mobile compatibility

The Salesforce CPQ is completely Cloud based and 100% mobile compatible. It is a Cloud-driven and highly secure solution designed by Salesforce experts for configuring, pricing, and quoting of complex products and services. It is also mobile-friendly and easy to use, helping you send smart and accurate quotes to customers on the go; all you need is a connected device.

A sophisticated CPQ software is a worthy investment for enterprises that wish to rise above the competition and automate the mundane administrative tasks involved in the selling process. The Salesforce CPQ is crafted by professionals and comes with a range of configurable capabilities that optimize the entire process from end-to-end, helping you maximize sales efficiencies and generate greater revenue on fingertips.

How to select the right CPQ for your enterprise

Sales is a challenging job. From generating leads to engaging prospects, dealing with competitors and closing deals, salespeople have many crucial activities. Their role becomes even more challenging when multiple products and services come into play; when they start dealing with diverse market groups and pricing becomes more flexible and personalized.

When your enterprise grows in size and complexity, you need more effective business processes to survive fierce competition and grow in the market. Sometimes a technology modernization; and sales is not an exception.

In such complex business landscapes, CPQ is a lifesaver for sales professionals. Gartner says the CPQ market is expected to grow up to 25% by 2020. It looks like a must-have for modern enterprises in the coming years to improve sales and revenue.

What is CPQ Software?

CPQ, or Configure Price Quote is a set of software that helps sales teams manage the pricing of varied products and services, create accurate quotes and configure custom product packages for customers.

Do you really need a CPQ?

CPQ software improves the productivity of your sales teams and streamlines your sales process. It helps you generate sales quotes faster and with complete accuracy. It shortens the sales cycle and removes errors caused due to manual quoting. It also helps you send quotes, manage invoices, maintain configuration records and reporting.

If you’re an enterprise with a wide range of offerings, customer-specific quotations and configured pricing, you can definitely benefit from a CPQ software. However, not all businesses absolutely need a CPQ software; especially the ones that have limited products or services and fixed price models.

Selecting the right CPQ for your enterprise

With hundreds of CPQ tools and vendors in the market, it is difficult to select an ideal solution to suit your enterprise needs. Consider these key factors while looking for a CPQ for your enterprise.

Find your CPQ type

There are two popular types of a CPQ solution – On-premise and Cloud-based. On-premise CPQ software is a one-time investment as it is installed on authorized computer systems. It gives you complete ownership of the software. But you must look after its in-house maintenance, timely upgrades and strong security.

On the other hand, SaaS or Cloud-based CPQ systems are hosted on the Cloud by an external vendor. Sales teams can even access it remotely. It is a recurring subscription, and the vendor carries out maintenance, upgrades and security. Select a CPQ solution that best suits your enterprise and is more sustainable in the long run.

Understand your requirements

Carry out a detailed research with your internal sales teams and try to understand what CPQ features could benefit them the most. Depending on how basic or advanced a CPQ is, it can have multiple features. Choose a solution that offers the most suitable features for your sales team. Product configuration styles, pricing adjustments, automated proposals, custom quotes, analytics and guided selling are some primary features to consider.

System integration is essential

Some enterprises still depend on legacy applications while some could be using newer technology systems. A sophisticated CPQ software is easy-to-integrate with traditional as well as modern software. Integration with your existing technology and applications is a key consideration.

Integration helps improve not just sales but your marketing activities too. An ideal CPQ should also be able to sync with your existing sales and marketing applications, customer database, ERP and CRM.

CPQ should be mobile-friendly

There is a growing trend in the demand for mobile CPQ systems. Mobility enables your sales teams to send quotes, configure pricing, view reports and communicate with prospects on the go. In this fast-moving and digital landscape, mobile CPQ also ensures higher customer satisfaction due to its speed and convenience. Go for a CPQ solution that is mobile-friendly and can be accessed anytime, using any device

It should be easy-to-use

The ultimate user of the CPQ software is your sales team. Some sales reps might be tech savvy, while others may not be. In either case, select a CPQ software that is easy to install, operate and customize as per individual needs. It takes less time to train your sales teams on software with simpler functionality. The implementation is also quicker and more effective.

You must modernize your sales techniques and generally followed practices from time to time. Many businesses are now realizing the need for technology-driven sales processes to stand out among competitors and satisfy the customer. Consider adopting a good CPQ that suits the unique demands of your enterprise to build a strong sales team and make your sales process more resilient in the digital age.

Your Five Step GRC Implementation Roadmap

The concept of Governance, Risk and Compliance has been around for some time. Although there is no single, universally accepted definition for GRC, it is basically a comprehensive business strategy that aims at ensuring corporate governance and mitigating enterprise risk while staying in compliance with regulatory policies. It establishes clear guidelines for operations and a mechanism to prevent and fight business risks. It comprises of three main pillars.

Governance, ensuring business processes and corporate policies are practiced throughout the organization.

Risk, identifying the potential areas of risk and preparing the organization to minimize and prevent them.

Compliance, the ability to comply with legal and regulatory requirements and business policies.

For years, businesses have followed old school ways of implementing GRC programs using traditional methodologies such as spreadsheets and in-house tools. However, with emergence of breakthrough technologies like AI, Cloud and automation, the concept of GRC has evolved and modernized.

Although we have been slow in adopting technology-driven GRC practices, lately there has been a significant shift towards businesses leveraging automated GRC strategies at enterprise levels. So much so, that the global GRC market is expected to reach $64.61 billion by 2025.

Today, all modern enterprises need to let go of traditional GRC practices and modernize their approach. But how do you get there? How can you adopt a winning GRC strategy? Here is a five-step GRC implementation roadmap that can help you plan, strategize and implement modern GRC practices effectively in your organization.

Revisit your GRC framework

To start with, you need to review your existing GRC framework and identify the gaps that technology can fill. It would mean redefining what governance, compliance and risk means for your enterprise. A clear understanding of your key business objectives and important business processes will help you adopt the right GRC technology and develop appropriate policies, procedures and guidelines for your business.

Select a GRC Solution

In order to ensure effective functioning of a GRC initiative, it is important that you pick the right implementation partner and an ideal GRC solution for your enterprise. There are tons of GRC tools and hundreds of vendors in the market.Cloud based GRC solutions are most popular nowadays. MetricStream, BWise, SAP, Riskonnect, RSA Archer etc. are some market-leading GRC products available today. Go for a solution that comes with all the features you’re looking for. Also, do your research and select an experienced vendor that can implement GRC within a reasonable time-frame with maximum efficiency.

Project Planning

This step involves chalking out a well-defined GRC implementation plan. A business analyst or project manager appointed by the vendor visits your premises and spends time understanding your existing business processes and policies. He also conducts a risk assessment of your business and identifies areas that need to be protected.

He then develops an integrated GRC plan that best suits your organization, including a detailed demo of the selected GRC product, assigning roles and responsibilities and defining project timelines.

Implement GRC Practices

Once a detailed plan is developed, the next and the most crucial step is implementing GRC practices at your enterprise. Today, most GRC programs are Cloud driven and automated. Implementation involves policy and document management, operational risk management, IT risk management and corporate compliance management. It also includes spreading awareness about the new GRC policies and training people within the organization to practice them.

Monitor and Improvise

Implementing a GRC program is not a one-time activity. It is a continuous business practice and must be followed every day across all departments. It is therefore important to closely monitor and ensure that GRC practices are well followed within the enterprise. Also, since the business world is highly dynamic, you must modernize your GRC platform and revise your policies regularly to match business, industry and regulatory requirements.

GRC is essential because it brings about a stability in the way a business performs. It improves the quality of people, processes and information within an organization providing meaningful insights for better decision making. It is not just a good initiative anymore, it is an essential business requisite. Adopting a modern GRC program leads to a remarkable organizational change. However, the key to successful implementation is to have a clear strategy and take one step at a time.

What to look for in a Salesforce Partner?

Are you looking for a Salesforce implementation partner? Here are 5 key factors to consider while picking an ideal Salesforce partner.

So, you have decided to go with Salesforce as your CRM software! The choice is quite obvious, Salesforce being the leading name in the CRM software market. It is the world’s largest CRM platform, an ever-evolving ecosystem with incredible benefits and rich functionalities for its users. It is a Cloud based, flexible, easy to use CRM and you can customize it to meet your business specifications. Plus, it has a diverse community of professionals always ready to support and help grow your business, making it the most popular and widely adopted CRM platform across the globe.

But, how do you plan on implementing Salesforce CRM into your system? For many businesses, it might seem easy and more economical to “DIY” the whole CRM implementation program. However, trying to cut initial costs doesn’t always pay off. Salesforce is a vast and diverse platform; more than just a CRM, which is why it is recommended to implement Salesforce with the help of expert consultants.

Again, when you set out looking for experts, you are clearly spoilt for choice. There are literally hundreds of Salesforce providers in the market, with competitive pricing and promising benefits. Selecting the right Salesforce consulting partner is your first step towards successful Salesforce implementation and to make things easier for you; we have listed out here the five key points to consider while selecting a Salesforce partner for your business.

Salesforce Certifications

Majority of Salesforce consulting partners claim to have Salesforce “certified” employees on their team. Salesforce conducts several basic and advanced certifications for developers, administrators and consultants. Moreover, it requires its members to pass release exams thrice every year to ensure that they are up to date with the technology and maintain the claim to their title.

It is therefore essential to ensure that your consultants are not just Salesforce certified, but are also thorough with the core technology and proficient with all latest Salesforce advancements.

Implementation Experience

A key factor to determine the worthiness of a Salesforce partner is to look at their prior experience with Salesforce projects. How many Salesforce projects have they successfully carried out? How recent or old are they? Recent successful projects indicate that the vendor is still doing well in the market and can be considered.

What do clients say about them? Customer reviews are a great way to estimate the reliability and measure the performance of a vendor in the market. Look out for positive as well as negative comments and note what customers specify. Also, remember that successful Salesforce implementation is more about quality than quantity.

Industry / Domain Expertise

In order for your Salesforce implementation to be successful, go for a partner who has a fair understanding of your domain and industry, someone who has done similar projects in the past and can handle your business requirements efficiently.

It will then be easier for you to implement Salesforce, suggest changes, integrate and customize your CRM requirements. Also, since Salesforce implementation is a collaborative effort, it will be much easier for your internal teams to work with a Salesforce partner who understands your business processes well.

Value for Price

Now that you’ve decided to implement Salesforce CRM in your organization, it calls for a detailed planning and budget. Estimate your CRM requirements, the costs of Salesforce implementation, integration and training. Take into consideration the initial and overhead costs, which might include licensing, consulting fees as well as support service costs.

Although the initial implementation costs might seem to be somewhat higher, Salesforce once implemented brings greater ROI to your business. An ideal Salesforce partner will not only help you plan your budget, but will carry out the implementation efficiently around a reasonable budget within specified timelines.

Long-term Support

An investment in Salesforce is a long term business strategy and leads to a phenomenal organizational change. A successful CRM project is not just confined to implementation and training. Several aspects come into picture post implementation.

These might include CRM maintenance, technical or admin support and system upgrades. It is advisable to select a partner that is willing to be available as a long-term partner and can offer you post implementation admin and maintenance support, at least for a year.

With outstanding features and amazing business benefits, Salesforce has captured the CRM market entirely. However, success largely rests on how well it is implemented in an organization. Consider these key factors while looking out for your ideal implementation partner and select a vendor who doesn’t just hold the expertise and experience, but is also reliable with a good track record.

Advanced Analytics – A Boon for Insurance Providers

Data generated, collected and processed in huge volumes led to this massive phenomenon called Big Data. This big data eventually gave rise to the revolution of analytics. Although interpretation and analysis of data has been around for ages, with advancements in technology and development of business intelligence tools, advanced analytics came into picture.

Analytics is what adds value to raw business data and provides key insights for making profitable business decisions. Today, analytics is at the core of nearly every industry and every business, and insurance is no exception.

Here are 5 ways analytics is seeping into the insurance industry and transforming it like we have never seen before.

Sales Productivity

Gone are the days when insurance sales were done by visiting people door-to-door or making multiple cold calls. These traditional sales practices are not only redundant, but don’t always guarantee a sale. Insurance companies are now leveraging technology to carry out sales smartly and more effectively.

Sales analytics studies available customer data and enables data-driven prospecting. This saves a lot of time and effort otherwise involved in identifying and qualifying leads, thereby enhancing sales productivity of insurance agents.

Personalized Marketing

Customers are attracted by personalized offers. It gives them the confidence that you know them well and know what’s best for them. It is the essence of customer satisfaction. Advanced analytics allows insurance providers carry out effective personalized marketing programs.

By analyzing customer buying behavior, market trends, previous investments and even health information, insurers are now able to design personalized policies, reach out to customers at the right time through the right channels and engage them more effectively. Analytics also enables insurers to run customized cross selling and up-selling campaigns to nurture existing customers.

Improved Underwriting

Underwriting is one of the most crucial functions in insurance, stock markets and banking. In insurance, underwriters measure the risk and determine the feasibility of insuring a client. Based on certain guidelines and parameters, such as the client’s income, age, ailments, vehicle type, property type and location etc. the insurance cover and the premium payable by the client is decided. Underwriting analytics uses intuitive tools to gain a 360-degree visibility of client profile, predicts credit scores and measures risk per policy ratio. Many insurers are now using analytics for accurate and efficient risk scoring, evaluation of premium and insurance cover.

Faster Claims Management

When a person files an insurance claim, it goes through a claims settlement process. The insurer validates the claim based on predefined merits and once approved, the claim amount is settled. Typically, this is a lengthy process and takes a few days. However, customers expect claims to be settled faster and more easily.

Thankfully, with the use of advanced analytics, claims can be validated and settled much quicker, leading to lesser customer complaints and improved satisfaction levels. By analyzing claims and claim histories, insurers can now arrange for instant payouts, score, prioritize and process claims based on experience and loss type.

Fraud Detection

Frauds are quite common in insurance. Fraudulent claims cause major financial losses to insurers, affect their relationships with clients and hamper their growth amidst growing competition. All insurance companies need a strong fraud detection and prevention system. Predictive analytics helps mitigate the risk by predicting a potential fraud with the help of algorithms and BI tools. It also establishes a more accurate and strict process of passing claims by cross-verifying every step with client history, data mining and even text mining.

Insurance is a data intensive industry. Insurers collect and process huge volumes of data every day. Advanced analytics is certainly a boon for the industry, helping insurance providers dig deeper into this data, work more efficiently and make well informed decisions.

Global IT Spending to hit $3.7 Trillion. But where’s the money going?

Technology largely influences business operations and drives market competition in today’s digital world. As enterprises realize the need to transform digitally for survival and growth their overall investment in technology surges substantially. From managing enterprise operations to enhancing customer relations and maintaining data security, the demand for IT services is constantly increasing.

Gartner analysts forecasted 2018 to be a milestone year with worldwide IT spending to reach $3.7 trillion, nearly double the growth seen in 2017. It is the highest annual growth rate of 6.2% that Gartner has predicted since 2007. With that said, it is interesting to understand where exactly enterprises are spending and which technology trends are fueling these investments.

Data Center Systems

Big data is growing bigger by the day. No matter how big or small a business is, it generates tremendous amounts information. This big data is a vital asset and all businesses need an effective plan to deal with such voluminous data.

The need for efficient data management systems is urging businesses across industries to invest in new-age data centers, networked computers and storage solutions to organize, process, store and disseminate large amounts of data in a systematic way. Gartner predicts an overall increase of 2.6% in global IT infrastructure spending, including a noticeable inclination towards hybrid data centers.

Enterprise Software Solutions

More and more businesses are now adopting enterprise software solutions and business productivity tools. Enterprise software applications bring efficiency by automating and streamlining core business activities such as business intelligence, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, supply chain management, project management, accounting, billings and more.

The overall spending on enterprise software is expected to reach $391 billion by the end of 2018, a projected growth rate of 10.5%. These figures indicate that businesses are leveraging technology to enhance business performance and the spending on enterprise software is likely to rise at a similar rate in the years to come.

End-User Devices

Smartphones are getting smarter and end-user devices are being improvised with each day with features such as biometric identification, machine learning and AI capabilities. Despite the growing prices of mobile phones, tablets and laptops, the worldwide demand of technology devices is projected to reach $706 billion, a big jump of 6.6% from 2017.

The traditional PC market however, is expected to decline by 3.9%. The demand for end-user devices is largely impacted by several other factors like socio-economic conditions of a region.

IT Services

The emergence of Cloud computing and technology as a service have transformed the IT services market to a great extent. A significant growth of 6.2% is expected in worldwide spending on IT services, including a momentous shift towards Cloud-based platforms, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Integrated Platform as a Service (IPaaS) and other application based IT services.

“The IT buying landscape is changing: Digital business transformation is an effort to create connected, platforms and new industry revenue streams,” says Mr. John-David Lovelock, research Vice President at Gartner.

Communication Services

The communication industry is a huge market comprising of telecommunications, entertainment, media, and Internet/Web services. The global communication services market is expected to grow by 3.2% by this year end, maintaining a rather steady growth rate.

Geographical and regional factors cause a major impact on the demand for telecommunication services. Countries in Asia Pacific and South America are projected to drive the maximum growth in the market in the coming future.

The pace with which new technologies are emerging and taking over the IT landscape is phenomenal. These statistics and forecasts clearly indicate that a worldwide digital transformation is on its way. If 2018 is the year of rapid growth in IT spending, it is just the start and there’s a long way to go.