Emilia Dunaj
Emilia Dunaj
Head of Technology Insights
May 2024, 8 min. read

If you’ve ever wondered how to make the B2B sales process more efficient and customer-friendly, you’re in the right place. Your customers expect a fast, error-free experience with an eCommerce-like journey, much like shopping on Amazon. Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software helps to achieve this. But have you ever heard of CPQ guided selling?

This assisted selling feature plays a key role in enhancing customer experience. It allows for accurate configurations, real-time recommendations, and detailed quotes, all with a few simple clicks.

In this article, we’re exploring CPQ guided selling and how it improves customer satisfaction while reducing sales errors. You’ll discover how this approach can boost sales efficiency and create a more enjoyable customer experience. We’ll also dive into key components, benefits, and practical tips to show why guided selling is becoming popular in the B2B industry.

Let’s dive in.

What is guided selling in CPQ?

Guided selling is a structured process within CPQ software to help sales teams, partners, and customers navigate complex product choices. It uses questions, prompts, and recommendations to sort through a large product catalog and guide users toward the best product options based on their needs. This approach simplifies the buying process, reducing the risk of errors and making the experience more like eCommerce. 

And the best thing? Technical knowledge isn’t needed with guided selling tools. Therefore, it’s easy for anyone to use, sales or customers.

With guided selling CPQ technology, customers can explore different configurations and instantly see how their choices affect pricing and product features. This creates a more personalized experience, allowing users to discover optimal products they didn’t know they needed. The result is a smoother, more intuitive sales journey that helps customers make better decisions.

Components of an effective CPQ guided selling technology

CPQ guided selling has key components that work together to create a seamless sales process. Let’s break them down to understand how they affect guided selling:

  • Product rules define the valid configurations for a given product (or service). They ensure that CPQ users only create combinations that are possible to manufacture and meet customer requirements. For instance, if you’re selling custom-built computers, product-based rules will ensure that incompatible parts are not selected together.
Product rules layer in cpq system
  • Price rules determine how pricing is calculated based on various factors like product configurations, discounts, quantity, shipping terms, or market. These rules help automate the pricing process, ensuring consistent and accurate quotes.
price rules layer in configure price and quote system

📢 Further reading: Types of CPQ Price Rules

  • Configuration interfaces are the user-friendly screens or tools that customers or sales teams use to interact with the CPQ system. These interfaces guide them through the sales process, making suggestions, providing explanations, asking relevant questions, and providing real-time feedback on product configurations and pricing. 
configuration interface layer in cpq  guided selling

A well-designed configuration interface is also critical to guided selling success. It reduces the learning curve for sales teams and improves customer satisfaction.

To ensure an effective guided selling process, you must get the rules logic right. For this, you should work closely with your sales, design, and production teams to develop product and price rules that reflect accurate configurations and pricing calculations. Also, align the rules with common customer questions and address potential problems to ensure you create a seamless experience.

How CPQ guided selling process works step-by-step

CPQ assisted selling takes its users through a structured process, ensuring they select the right products, get accurate pricing, and receive a clear quote. Here’s how it typically works, from start to finish:

guided selling process step by step

Step 1 | Guided questions and configuration

The software asks a series of targeted questions to help navigate the product catalog. These questions can be as simple as asking for the customer’s preferred color or as complex as describing technical specifications. Each answer dynamically affects the question that follows. Next, the system applies product rules to ensure valid configurations and returns a product(s) that matches the criteria.

Step 2 | Automated pricing

Adding or removing product features often affects the price in CPQ systems, and automated pricing can adjust for these changes. Real-time price updates let customers see how their choices impact the cost, offering greater transparency and fewer errors. This helps customers make informed decisions during the quoting process.

Additionally, CPQ software equips sales reps with a central dashboard that displays real-time pricing information from various distributors and vendors, allowing them to effectively compare options and ensure the most advantageous pricing is offered.

Step 3 | Generating a quote

After configuring the product and calculating the product price, the system generates a detailed quote. It considers product and customer discounts, delivery conditions, and any other factors that can influence the final price and the margin the company aims to make. This quote includes all relevant information, such as product specs, pricing details, and terms of sale.

With the quote in hand, the sales reps can quickly share it with the customer and focus on closing the sale. The guided selling process ensures that all information is accurate, reducing the need for back-and-forth corrections. This streamlines experience and results in a faster sales cycle.

Benefits of guided selling in CPQ

Guided selling within the Configure Price Quote system offers significant advantages, particularly for the manufacturing sector. Let’s explore these benefits and understand why CPQ guided selling is gaining popularity.

Improved customer experience

A positive customer experience is crucial for any business, and CPQ guided selling system plays a significant role in achieving this. By guiding users through the product selection process, it simplifies complex decisions and ensures they get the products that best suit their needs. Customers no longer need to guess or worry about compatibility issues. Instead, they receive a tailored experience with clear guidance all the way to the end. 

Additionally, buyers who follow a self-driven learning path are 147% more likely to buy more than initially planned.

For example, in the manufacturing industry, the right CPQ software can guide a customer in selecting the ideal machinery by asking specific questions about their production volume and operational needs. This leads to a more satisfying experience for the customer, with fewer errors and less confusion.

Increased efficiency

Did you know that 71% of sales pros say closing more deals is their top priority? A well-designed guided selling tool can help them achieve this goal.

Sales teams spend most of their time on manual tasks like product configuration, pricing, and quoting. CPQ assisted selling automates these processes, allowing sales representatives to focus on what they do best: building relationships with customers and closing deals. This increased efficiency can significantly reduce the time it takes to generate quotes and complete sales. 

In a manufacturing use case example, a guided selling solution might reduce the time to create a quote from hours to minutes. This boost in efficiency enables the sales team to reach more customers, generate more revenue, and ultimately close more deals–a win for everyone.

📢 See more: Optimizing Production – The Role of CPQ for Manufacturing Efficiency

Stronger sales team performance

When sales teams have a structured approach to selling, their performance improves. CPQ automation provides that structure by guiding sales reps through a series of steps, reducing the risk of mistakes and ensuring consistent results. This guidance boosts the confidence of the sales team, allowing the team members to focus on customer interactions without worrying about technical details. 

Moreover, using modern tools and a structured sales process can attract top talent. Skilled professionals are more likely to join companies that embrace technology, creating an environment that supports them in performing at their best. This leads to a motivated and high-performing sales team.

benefits of guided sellung process

How to implement CPQ guided selling?

Implementing new software is a big investment. Therefore, choosing the right system for guided selling is a critical decision for your business. You need a solution that aligns with your sales process and product complexity. 

There are generally two types of Configure Price Quote systems: off-the-shelf and bespoke (custom-built). The best choice depends on your company’s unique needs and goals.

Off-the-shelf CPQ systems offer quick setup and are typically more affordable initially. However, they often lack the flexibility to accommodate complex products or intricate business processes. They work well for small- to medium-sized businesses with straightforward sales processes but may not provide the depth of customization that larger companies need.

Bespoke CPQ software solutions, on the other hand, are designed specifically for your business. They can handle complex configurations and integrate with existing systems like CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). Custom-built solutions require a higher upfront  investment, but they offer a tailored approach that aligns with unique business requirements. The flexibility and precision of bespoke systems often result in a higher return on investment (ROI) over time.

If you’re selling multivariant products or dealing with unique business processes, a bespoke CPQ tool is usually the better option. It ensures your guided selling aligns with your sales goals and provides the flexibility to adapt as your business grows. To make the best choice, consider your business’s current needs, future growth plans, and the level of customization required to achieve guided selling success.

📢 Read also: Bespoke vs. Off-the-Shelf CPQ? Comparing Quoting Software for Manufacturing

Conclusion

CPQ software is an effective tool for creating a cohesive, fast, and engaging B2B buyer journey. The guided selling feature offers a structured process to guide customers and sales teams through product selection, pricing, and quoting.   

If you’re looking to reduce errors, speed up sales cycles, and create a more personalized experience, a custom-developed CPQ is the right sales tool for you. With the right tools and strategy, you’ll be well on your way to achieving sales success.

Looking for a way to increase sales and strengthen customer relationships? Right Information can help you get there! We’ve been building custom software solutions for businesses for over 20 years. Check out some of our case stories to see how we’ve helped top companies achieve growth through smart digital solutions.