When it comes time to shop for a CPQ solution, it may be initially overwhelming, as there are many CPQ solutions in the market to choose from. Doing all of your homework beforehand will help you understand how a particular CPQ may fit into your company’s technology stack and its relevance to your products, pricing, and customer preferences.
Come to the table with a list of questions to ask CPQ vendors. The questions below can serve as selection criteria to help you find a CPQ solution that fulfills both your business and IT needs.
If you'd like to download this checklist in worksheet form, we've created a handy CPQ Vendor Evaluation Worksheet.
- How long does it take to implement the solution?
- Is the solution scalable?
- Can I natively connect the solution to my existing billing system?
- Does the solution offer bidirectional sync with key enterprise systems (e.g., Salesforce, Slack, DocuSign, etc.)?
- What type of metrics are accessible (e.g., ACV, ARR, TCV)?
- What does ongoing maintenance look like?
- Does it require ongoing admin support to use and maintain the tool?
- How long does it take to build a product catalog?
- Will I have to manage my product catalog in multiple places?
- How flexible is the solution to meet specific business needs?
- Does the solution offer dynamic configurations (e.g., automated rules, attributes, hierarchy-based)?
- Can the solution handle a combination of hierarchies for complex as-a-service offerings?
- What type of configuration rules are supported (e.g., condition, constraint-solving, consumption)?
- Can the solution provide actionable recommendations?
- Will the solution notify sales reps if a configuration is not possible?
- What pricing combinations are supported (e.g., one-time, recurring, usage-based)?
- What pricing models are available (e.g., flat fee, volume, tier, block, per unit)?
- What kind of discounting is available and at what level (e.g., order, product, line item)?
- Can the solution support ad-hoc changes to pricing?
- Can the solution determine pipelines and forecast orders based on customer buying patterns?
- Does the solution offer price recommendations based on historical deals?
- Does the solution support resellers?
- How long does it take to create a complex quote, including ramp deals?
- Does the solution allow users to specify terms and deliverables that change over time?
- Is it easy to make changes to finalized quotes (e.g., upsells, downsells, renewals)?
- Can I use existing entitlements and revise auto-generated renewal quotes?
- Will the finance team be able to bill whatever deals the sales reps quote?
- Can you generate proposals from dynamic templates?
- Can the solution integrate with third-party e-signature software (e.g., DocuSign)?
- Does the solution support role-based, multi-step, or parallel approval workflows?
- Can you design approval workflows based on deal size, discount offering, or payment terms?
- Can you define auto-approval workflows for specific product bundles with preset discounts?
- Can you reroute approval requests?
- Can the solution notify approvers of pending requests?
- Can the solution notify sales reps when deals move forward?
- Can sales reps preview the required approvals during quote creation?
- Can approvers visually track progress in real time?
- What is the user experience like?
- Can sales reps create complex quotes themselves without relying on a deal desk?
- What is the admin experience like?
- Does the solution have a clear user interface?
- Can the interface be changed?
As you go through the evaluation process, you’ll want to select a vendor that has experience with your domain or industry, system architecture, and end-to-end processes so they understand how the CPQ fits into the larger ecosystem. Additionally, you can do a customer reference check with a company bigger than you. That way, you can see if the CPQ met their changing needs over time.
This blog post is an excerpt from our eBook "The Definitive CPQ Buyer's Guide for SaaS." To read more, download the full guide here.