How to Overcome the Challenges of CPQ Implementation

Elaine Tsai
Sep 20, 2022

Bring up the topic of CPQ software implementation to any revenue or sales operator and the sentiment you'll typically receive is typically:


As Jonathan Krangel, Director of Revenue Operations at Retool describes:

"I also knew that nobody likes [using] Salesforce CPQ. Most of my reps who had worked at other companies that, were larger, had used it before and the had nightmares about it."

Source: How Retool Decreased Their Contract Errors by 99%

On the surface, this might seem odd. How is a tool that seems simple and so widely adopted also such a burden to so many teams?

Conceptually, CPQ should be easy. It's a tool that lets the sales team:

  1. Configure products and services,
  2. input Pricing,
  3. and generate a Quote. 

What is CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) Software?

CPQ,  or Configure, Price, Quote, is a software solution that enables sales organizations to create accurate quotes for complex and configurable products.

While most do not enjoys the administrative tasks of using a CPQ, nearly all sales organizations, once they reach a specific size, need a tool to address the problems a CPQ solution intends to solve.

So why does CPQ strike so much fear into the hearts of Operators and Sales teams?

Let's discuss. 

Challenges of Configure, Price, Quote Software

When discussing CPQs, software such as Salesforce CPQ, formerly Steelbrick, and other tools such as Zuora and Oracle CPQ were traditionally the CPQ purchased and implemented to help teams formalize their quoting process.

These traditional CPQs operated on a similar model. Quotes were generated through a 2 step process.

  1. First, the sales team does the administrative work in entering data.
  2. Then, the quote (order form) document is generated based on the data entry.

Due to this counter-intuitive order of operations, the final order form is not visible until all the data has been entered. 

That means an error in the data entry process isn't found until the document is generated, making it extremely difficult to identify where the mistake was made.

Perhaps you made a typo or misunderstood one of the questions in the quoting process.

Now, you have to go through all the steps to correct it.

This linear way of working is unnatural, especially when you're putting together more complex order forms.

Occasionally, the administrative data entry process is so complicated and tedious that the sales team has to hand this part off to an entirely separate team. Then wait hours sometimes days before the quote can be shared with the customer.

How RevOps Deal Desk is Different

At RevOps, we believe in putting the end-user first. We do this by having you start with seeing the final order form first and placing the contract that your customer will be signing front and center during the quoting process.

When putting together the order form, the Sales team can then move faster and with fewer errors, and your Deals team can understand exactly what the business and the customer will be agreed upon.

Why Implementing CPQ Can Be So Difficult

While frustrations with using CPQ software are many, the process of actually implementing that software is even more complicated. 

There are several reasons this implementation is challenging:

1. Time Commitment

First, the time commitment of the implementation can be mind-boggling. 

How Long Does it Take to Implement CPQ?

It can take up to 16-24 months to implement a traditional CPQ like Salesforce CPQ for medium to large sales teams. 

Yes, you read that right. 

One of the significant challenges with traditional CPQ implementation is that businesses often take on too large of a project, resulting in a long implementation timeline. By the time the project is finally implemented, the business has changed, processes have changed, new products have been released, and pricing has been updated.

While the most basic CPQ implementation can be closer to 3 months, seldom is that sufficient for a full rollout across the entire organization.

Long implementation timeframes used to work when products are also built with long development cycles, but the pace of innovation at most tech companies today is considerably faster. 

When products are being developed iterative, the product is continually improving so pricing should also be updated on a shorter timescale. Therefore your CPQ must be implemented within the same, short time horizon to make sure your pricing is update-to-date and you are monetizing on the full value of your product.

An accurate and up-to-date CPQ allows your sales team to be strategic and innovative with how they sell.

How RevOps is different

RevOps Deal Desk doesn't require a long implementation timeline or a third-party implementation partner. We partner with you to first set up your most common and standard quoting workflows so that you can quickly enable your sales teams. Then explore your more complicated deals so that you can constantly deliver value to your team.

In addition, we've built a solution that puts the Operators in control. This way, after you've rolled out an initial solution, you can gather feedback, review your processes, and continually improve upon them.

2. Pricing Strategy

Capturing accurate quoting data is extremely important because this information drives the transaction between the customer and the business, from Quote-to-Cash. 

Historically, CPQs were implemented where the data entry portion governed how the process was designed. They were designed to be step-by-step because data validation had to be done asynchronously at the end of each step.

This works great when you're selling physical goods because your customer agrees to either purchase the product or not.

However, when pricing gets more complicated, for example when selling subscription or usage-based products, the quote needs to not only capture the products the customer is purchasing but their level of access to the platform and the recurring pricing agreement. Billing terms such as billing frequency and payment methods may also impact the level of discount offered.

Additionally, for Usage-Based Pricing models, you need to consider the overage rates and if the overage rates are tiered.

When you're selling software services, there are many strategies to consider when structuring the deal. Companies moving fast want to offer these levers to the sales team so they have the flexibility to explore new sales approaches.

How RevOps is different

The RevOps Agreement Builder has a built-in, real-time pricing calculator that shows sales users how the changes to the products and services sold will impact that order form before generating it.

RevOps also validates the data as the sales team is putting together the order form to ensure that while the salesperson is adjusting different aspects of the agreement your data always stays accurate. This data is then synchronized to your CRM so that it can be stored, tracked, and reviewed with all your other customer data.

Additionally, RevOps offers Operators the ability to control the level of access and permissions allowed. You decide on the types of changes your team can make.


3. Cost

When purchasing a CPQ solution, you are often presented with the cost of the software itself - for something like Salesforce CPQ, the lowest package (as of 2022) is somewhere in the range of $75 per user - but that is only a fraction of the actual investment that is required. 

Traditional CPQ solutions are not plug-and-play; they require users to work with a third-party implementation partner to set up every piece entirely. 

The cost of this service can be exorbitant.

How Much Does CPQ Implementation Cost?

A standard CPQ implementation starts at around $85,000
but can cost up to $1 million for larger organizations.

RevOps Deal Desk: a Better CPQ Solution

RevOps was built to overcome the challenges experienced by so many when dealing with "traditional" CPQs. 

Long, expensive implementations, frustrating experiences with a tool that "kind of" works, and the lack of adoption among the sales team are all struggles we've heard about when it comes to CPQ. 

Here's what we at RevOps believe in building a better CPQ:

1. Easy Implementation

Never mind the six-month implementation and the $30,000 consultant, that might result in a tool that you are excited to roll out. RevOps is ready to be used with minimal implementation requirements.

  • No third-party implementation requirements
  • "Plug and Play" ready
  • Modular and composable
  • Works within your existing processes

2. Built With the End-User in Mind

No more spreadsheets with confusing excel formulas and disorganized word docs.   Pricing and discounting calculations are done in real-time with agreement terms that can be adjusted with pre-approved language.

  • Templatized SKU and Term Blocks
  • Out-of-the-box support for multi-year agreements with ramp scheduling, true-ups, and minimum commitments
  • Supports Upsells, cross-sells, and co-terming expansions

3. Native CRM Integrations

RevOps natively integrates with Salesforce and HubSpot so that all your data can be synced and stored with the tools you are already using.

  • Bi-directional deal data sync between RevOps and your CRM
  • No more siloed data and switching between tools
  • Import existing data into your quotes.

Ready to get started implementing a stress-free CPQ? Schedule a demo and let us show you how!


Head of Product Management

Elaine Tsai

Elaine enjoys building simple products for complex problems. In her free time, you'll find her hiking, training for triathlons, or grilling.

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