Implementing CPQ fast but Responsibly

Implementing CPQ solutions

Unfortunately, we see it a lot in our line of business. A potential customer gives us a call—all in a huff, panicking almost, frustrated that a sales software implementation by another service provider is going horribly wrong. Deadlines have come and gone. Budgets have been thrown out the window. And the organization is no closer to rolling out the software to the sales team. Can we help?  We know implementing CPQ solutions (Configure Price Quote) is not easy. The software is complex with a lot of features that have to fit into existing workflows. Integrating with salesforce.com or some other CRM, ERP, or billing solutions is tricky, to say the least. Implementers need extensive experience to compile the necessary expertise and best practices to do this effectively and quickly. Otherwise, things can easily get out of control.

Here are five things to consider when trying to find a service provider for implementing CPQ solutions quickly and efficiently:

1. In-House Resources:

Not all service providers are created equal, and many are generalists, software experts who take on any and all software implementation projects regardless of industry or solution expertise. Make sure your service provider has CPQ experience. As I said above, sales software is complex and has to be carefully integrated within existing workflows and with legacy solutions. The implementation can’t be disruptive or take a long time due to your provider figuring things out on the fly. You also need to watch out for service providers that out-source their sales software expertise. You want to have a team in place that has worked together, knows your processes, and can adapt to changing conditions quickly and efficiently.

2. Focus on Value, Not Cost:

I’m not going to lie. CPQ implementations can be expensive for all the reasons listed above. But they can also generate a ton of value for your sales organization and the overall business. Streamlining the sales process, ensuring quotes are accurate and shepherding sales through the funnel quickly can bring your organization to the next level. They are that critical. Make sure your software implementer can communicate and deliver this value from the very beginning of the project.

3. Open to Changes:

Any implementation project should be flexible, but this is especially critical for CPQ projects due to the complex nature of the software. It touches so many other systems, flows throughout the organization, and has a major impact on revenue that it’s nearly impossible to anticipate and understand everything that may come up. Make sure your service provider has the experience and expertise that they’ll need when hiccups and bottlenecks arise or else you’ll find yourself spinning your wheels, stalled, blowing through a budget.

4. Engage with All Stakeholders:

The vast impact that CPQ can have across your organization means that it’s important to engage with all stakeholders. Make sure your service provider meets with sales reps, managers, billing, sales operations, product teams—everyone and anyone who may have a role in moving deals through the sales process. Truly understand what they need in a CPQ solution, what they currently do, and how automation and digital transformation can help them execute their step in the process.

5. Forget Small Pilots:

Service providers love to roll out software to small groups to generate feedback and iron out bottlenecks. Keeping it to a small group is safe, ensuring that any problems can be fixed with little disruption to the organization. The problem with engaging with a small group is that feedback is limited. You can’t possibly understand the full impact of the implementation from three or four people. Instead, make sure your service provider conducts pilots across the entire user base. Get people using it. Collect their feedback. And make changes in real-time to improve and optimize the process. This eliminates bigger issues down the road that couldn’t possibly be caught by small pilot programs. This also helps with adoption rates. Given the opportunity to be involved in the process earlier gives users a sense of ownership over the changes and provides buy-in.

Implementing CPQ solutions is hard, but don’t get stuck with service providers who blow up timelines and budgets due to a lack of expertise and thoughtful planning. Find a Salesforce consulting partner who has the industry-validated expertise and best practices in place that can roll out your CPQ solution quickly, efficiently, and with little disruption.

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Charles Scripps, Board Member

Chad has over ten years of experience investing in dynamic, growing businesses in diverse industries and geographies. His private equity experience includes HIG Capital, which has over $12B in capital under management, and AEA Investors, which manages over $3B of invested and committed capital. While at HIG and AEA, Chad led diligence, structuring, and financial analysis of potential and existing investments, and completed transactions in the industrial products and consumer services industries. Chad also has experience investing in the public equity markets, most notably as a Managing Director at Fox Point Capital, a $1B fund seeded by Julian Robertson of Tiger Management. He invested across a number of industries, including industrials, financials, technology, and consumer products, and led Fox Point’s international research. Prior to focusing his career on investing, Chad was a management consultant at McKinsey and Company, solving strategic problems for the world’s leading companies. Chad earned an MBA with Honors in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BS with Distinction in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Lester F. Alexander II, Board Member

Les Alexander is a partner with Jefferson Capital Partners where he provides mezzanine and equity capital for growth and buyout transactions. Mr. Alexander is a member of the firm’s investment committee and serves on the board of directors of several portfolio companies where he is actively involved in strategic planning and corporate governance. Prior to joining Jefferson Capital, he worked at Advantage Capital Partners where he completed several portfolio company investments and served on the investment committee. Before becoming a private equity investor, Mr. Alexander served as president of Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Inc., a leading fire truck and emergency vehicle manufacturer. At Ferrara, he was responsible for managing a workforce of 450 employees producing over 300 vehicles annually for its domestic and international customers. As an investment banker for 15 years with such firms as Howard Weil, Southcoast Capital, and J.C. Bradford & Co., Mr. Alexander completed over 50 public offerings of debt and equity securities, private placements, and merger and acquisition transactions totaling more than $7 billion for public and private companies in a variety of industries. Mr. Alexander is an adjunct professor at Tulane University and Loyola University where he teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in investment banking, private equity & venture capital, advanced financial management, investments, and entrepreneurship. He is also the board president for Benjamin Franklin High School, a public charter school in New Orleans. Mr. Alexander is the former Chairman Finance of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and served on the global Board of Directors. He is a founder of the Louisiana chapter of ACG and was a recipient of the ACG global Meritorious Service Award and the Louisiana chapter’s Outstanding Service Award. Mr. Alexander received his bachelor of science in Commerce from the University of Virginia in 1989 and his MBA from the University of North Carolina in 1993.

Patrick F. Healy, Board Member

Based in Kansas City, Mr. Healy is a co-founder of C3 Capital. He has been an active private equity investor since 1985 and was a co-founder of C3 Holdings in 1994. Prior to this time, he sponsored and structured equity investments in real estate. He gained extensive workout and restructuring experience as chair of the creditor’s committee of a $1 billion bankruptcy and from being called upon to rescue a publicly-traded company from a major fraud. Mr. Healy was a senior tax partner at Mayer Hoffman McCann, a regional CPA firm, for eleven years. He received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Kansas.

Chris Waters, VP of Strategic Sales

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Keith Fox, GM Salesforce Canada

Keith Fox is a software and consulting veteran for the past 34 years. Keith started his career at EDS which was followed by 4-year stint offshore in Bermuda. Keith then returned to Canada where he held a number of progressive sales and technical positions with software companies such as Sybase, BEA, and Oracle. After his stint with Oracle, Keith founded Cloudware Connections, a premier Salesforce consulting partner. 11 years down the line, Cloudware was acquired by A5, and Keith joined as GM for Canada.

Tarun Sharma, Practice Director and Senior Solution Architect

Tarun Sharma is Vice President Customer Success at A5 and is responsible for customer success, project operations, recruitment, resource utilization and sales operations functions for Oracle practice. As a business and technology leader Tarun helps businesses develop solution strategies to streamline the sales process and improve customer relations to drive revenues, profits and build brand loyalty. Tarun has led customers through digital transformation journeys. He has commanded strategic and tactical initiatives to shorten sales cycles, increase deal values and productivity, improve brand awareness and help organizations become easier to do business with. He has helped customers modernize their sales enablement tools and present a single source of information to support an omni-channel sales approach. This includes global roll-out for multiple business units included multi-currency and multi-language. Tarun graduated from Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering.

Adam Rosenfield, VP of Salesforce Practice

As Vice President of A5’s consulting practice – Adam is responsible for both strategic alliances with partners and expanded sales growth through the entire portfolio of A5 services. With over 20 years of Sr. level management consulting expertise – Adam has worn multiple hats in his career including practice development, sales, and client advisory. He has sold & delivered countless enterprise transformational initiatives creating a measurable competitive advantage for his customers. In addition to various technical software certifications, Adam holds an undergraduate and master’s degree in Accounting & Information Technology from the University of Texas at Austin and resides in El Paso Texas with his wife and 3 children.

PJ Alfrejd, CFO

As the CFO, PJ is responsible for all things financial at A5. With over 20 years of experience in financial leadership positions, PJ has worn all the hats required of a growing tech business. His extensive knowledge of the consulting industry, experience with M&A, and strength in operational finance is another catalyst to take A5 to the next level in its growth trajectory. PJ is a CPA with a BS in Accounting from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and has held various finance leadership positions at Exodus/Savvis (acquired by Centurylink), Neohapsis (acquired by Cisco), and mFoundry (acquired by FIS).

Vinay Kruttiventi, President & CEO / Chairman of the Board

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