While selling is an art, quoting can be maddeningly bureaucratic, riddled with errors, and the pace plodding. The Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) software experience has been, like many things that come out of the world of enterprise software, mostly disappointing. Part of the problem is that there is no end to configurability of quotes and selling is pretty elastic. As a result sales people and analysts run into the hard constraints and rigidity that CPQ systems impose. And the cost of CPQ systems and related implementation can rival GDPs of small nations. Hence the popularity of Excel as the CPQ system of choice. However, just using Excel as the quoting system can lead to process, visibility, search and query related issues.
A few of our customers that have complex CPQ logic and processes have instead decided to use their existing CPQ engines built in Excel and ZFlow (which has tight integration with Excel) to get the best of both worlds. Below is one such scenario. The advantages of this approach are many, including
- Ability to continue using CPQ logic developed (often over many years) in Excel
- Sales analysts can still retain control over the CPQ logic as opposed to heavy customization of CPQ, which is usually hard to do and not accessible
- Support comprehensive workflow that is based on business rules dependent of quote values (for example, a million dollar quote needs to CFO approval)
- Full visibility of the quote process to all participants
- A much more flexible and usable CPQ process at a fraction of the cost of CPQ systems