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Common Mistakes Made During a CPQ Implementation

Looking at the overall IT Project's success rates, we know that around 30% is successful. CPQ projects are not different, unfortunately. The largest contributor to this number are common mistakes that are made during the implementation of a CPQ project. We will list the top 4 for you, so that you don't fall victim to them.

1. No clear quoting process

Problem: The current process for creating a quote is dependent on the Sales employee. They have perfected their own style of creating a quote, using excel or doing it manually. Although, it won't stop them from creating a quote a sending it to the customer. Nobody knows, part from themselves, how the quote and its price came to be. During setup of a CPQ system, all these different methods are bound to conflict with each other...

Solution: Before even starting implementing the CPQ solutions, we sit together with the business and most importantly: the sales people. As they have the know-how of the products and their configurations possible. Next, we let everybody explain their current way of quoting and their ideal way of quoting. This provides the project team a clear goal, custom fitted to the business' needs.

2. Fixation on the technology

Problem: CPQ is an existing piece of technology, and we won't deny that. But during the implementation, it may feel like your end users undergo a bombardment of new processes that the system can provide. The Law of Amplification suggests that technology only amplifies the process, so if the process is poor, technology has little to improve, and can actually make it worse.

Solution: Resist the temptation to see this new technology as a way of solving problems in the process. Exploring the current process, as stated before, will make your CPQ even more powerful. The investment of time and effort in improving the process before the CPQ implementation will pay off many times over in simplifying the CPQ application and lowering the total cost of ownership. Win-win.

3. Not enough detail

Problem: Your CPQ is implemented, the go-live is successful. But now the team or IT department is flooded with change requests for the current CPQ setup. Even worse, sales employees stop using the system.

Solution: Most processes are far more intricate, with many more steps, than will be described by most employees. When dealing with activities people do repetitiously without much thought, it is easy to miss details. Opportunities for improvement can be overlooked when actors and stakeholders remain undefined. Write down the details of the process. Any verb or noun hints at an activity taking place. While it might be tempting to gloss over seemingly minor items (e.g. the admin who stuffs the paper into the envelope), do not skip anything. Describe the process and actors with as much detail as possible. It might benefit you to have someone unfamiliar with the process there to ask additional probing questions and help validate completeness.

4. Not taking action

Problem: Process improvement efforts are designed to end with a set of suggested actions, and often another group is responsible for implementing those changes. Challenges arise when there is insufficient transition between solution development and solution implementation. Other times the stakeholders might not feel comfortable with some suggestions or feel they don't have the necessary political standing to proceed.

Solution: Process work is only successful once the organization is saving time and money or improving quality based on the recommendations. 3 suggested actions that you can undertake:

  1. Involve a broad set of stakeholders to increase the opportunity for buy-in

  2. Have regular check-ins and keep an eye out for the changing political landscape

  3. Design the recommendations briefing to be the start of the transition phase, not the end of the process phase

What's next?

We know that implementing a new piece of software or system can be challenging. We don't want you to struggle with setting up your new SAP CPQ, so give us a call, and we will get your CPQ project going and successfully implemented!

Do you want to learn more about the setup and implementation of SAP CPQ? Sign up for our free 'Ultimate CPQ Implementation guide'. Want to hear more? Or want to share your experience? Or find out even more about how CPQ fits in your sales process and the CANGURU way of working? Reach out!

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