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Salesforce CPQ in Service Cloud extends data integration strategy

Salesforce recently extended its CPQ application to Service Cloud, which further fleshes out its customer data integration strategy.

Today, most CRM systems share one objective: to enhance customer experience by arming sales, marketing and service with better customer data.

All businesses should consistently make the customer's purchasing experience as easy as possible. One of the obvious ways to remove any obstacle is to turn every company employee into a potential member of the sales team. That enables employees -- whether they are in sales, marketing or service -- to use customer account data to up- and cross-sell and provide better customer service.

Salesforce has had this vision for some time, and it brought that vision closer to reality in early 2016 by bringing the Lightning development platform to all clouds in the Salesforce platform, and then by bringing the SteelBrick configure price quote (CPQ) application it purchased to Sales Cloud.

Now, six months later, Salesforce has taken its next step in unifying sales and service by introducing Salesforce CPQ for Service Cloud. Teams that support the customer post-sale can offer upgrades and warranty extensions or even order modifications without having to re-engage with the sales teams. These price configurations are native to their customer service environments.

The combination of sales and service clouds to create a 360-degree customer view has long been the standard, but the latest enhancements of Salesforce CPQ in Service Cloud make it a reality. It enables a salesperson to be armed with the latest knowledge of open customer tickets prior to going into a sales meeting, which is crucial. Arming a member of the service organization with a full purchasing history allows for ticket turnaround with much greater speed and accuracy.

Bringing Salesforce CPQ to Service Cloud

Taking the customer relationship a step further to allow for members of customer service teams to up-and cross-sell can significantly reduce time for deals to close and provides additional tools to forge a closer customer connection. Service team members can access the appropriate quoting tools to move a customer to a new product or release, extend a warranty or modify line items on an existing contract. With all client interactions in one place, there is transparency across teams allowing for collaboration while eliminating redundant interactions.

With the latest release of Salesforce CPQ, new functionality allows for splitting orders via order management. Shipments that might be metered over time can now be managed directly on a single pricing document. No need for the creation of multiple quotes or cloning and modification. This functionality also allows for a cleaner tie back to accounting systems, referencing the single quote number through to fulfillment.

And to tie back to accounting systems with even greater ease, Salesforce has released billing features to allow for the management of invoicing, subscriptions, collections and sales, as well as value added tax management, amongst others. With this latest release, all aspects of revenue management are attempting to be managed alongside sales, service and quoting functions. In the past, many companies relied on ERP integrations to manage this process. Now, it seems there is yet another avenue to manage your entire customer experience within the Salesforce platform.

Salesforce CPQ for Service Cloud has is available for $75 per user, per month. The processes to be managed from an implementation standpoint are fairly involved. Careful consideration needs to be paid to the support of multiple currencies, method of collecting payment, taxing municipalities and the process for managing dunning. For example, a customer currently involved in the process would need to be removed or at least paused from additional marketing efforts. The process for automating numerous activities surrounding billing and collecting payment from a customer can be a sensitive topic among sales teams unlikely to turn down a sale.

The move to have all client interactions managed via Salesforce with its advanced reporting capabilities is increasingly appealing to most buyers. Business processes through workflows tie together teams and can create a more cohesive experience for the customer. The latest release of Salesforce CPQ is another positive step in that direction. The next might be to allow customers to use a web portal to set pricing for their own features, which, might be the new e-commerce. Additionally, the emergence of Salesforce Einstein may affect CPQ and bring greater intelligence to the configure price quote process. This may take the next year, of course, to shake out.

Next Steps

Salesforce Lightning comes to all the clouds

SteelBrick, Lightning developments may not benefit all

What to anticipate from Salesforce Sales Cloud

How come customers benefit from Salesforce products

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