With so many CPQ systems on the market promising renewal automation, it’s time we took a closer look at what they consider to be automation and how this compares to your expectations.
noun: The technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum.
Automation - it’s such a buzz word at the moment. It gets thrown around by CPQs like the empty promises of a politician in an election year. According to our trusted dictionary, automation should help reduce human intervention as much as possible. And, this is extremely critical for managing recurring revenue in today’s “as a service” world, where contracts are multiplying and becoming increasingly complex with offers spread across hardware, software, pre-pay, consumption, pay-as-you-go, license, draw down, just to name a few.
Yet, for many traditional CPQ’s claiming to automate renewals for technology providers, there’s still a great deal of human intervention required when it comes to managing recurring revenue through their systems.
Let’s take a closer look.
- Alerts: Auto-cloning or flagging opportunities and guided selling, are just some of the functions that are claimed to be part of the “automation” for CPQs. Yet, the sad reality is, these are simply prompting your staff to do more manual work, rather than enabling efficiency and reducing manual workload. You could save yourself the money and use a calendar app if this is the level of automation you are after.
- Wide offering: When quoting multiple product configurations across multiple subscription terms, product bundling or offering discounts to partners, quoting work with CPQ is not eliminated, and is just as laborious as ever.
- Changes: We all know that in business, things are not always straightforward. Today’s technology providers are faced with a plethora of scenarios from managing overage, ramped subscribers, change requests, upgrades and non-standard contract terms. This is when CPQs really get tested and in most cases fail, requiring users to do re-work in Excel and re-load the work into the CRM.
- Channel communications: The second largest drain on a rep's time is the need for constant follow-up between vendors, distributors and resellers moving the quote through to order. But in order to achieve maximum efficiency and profitability, your staff need a tool that can minimize the countless emails and phone calls between partners for every quote. CPQ’s are not designed to manage channel communications, as they are configured around set price books and product catalogues.
Renewal businesses require process automation and efficiency optimization to maximize their returns. More than the simple "guided clicking" of a CPQ, to become “LAER Efficient” your team should work to completely remove manual interactions, especially for your low-value ‘long tail’ deals. By automating much of this, your staff can be freed from data entry to take on a larger book of business. The results? Increased renewal revenue, faster quote-to-cash periods and greater customer satisfaction.
If you want a purpose-built tool that is designed to maximise your recurring revenue in the most efficient, cost effective way, whilst addressing the nuances that come with working within the IT channel, then you need to consider iasset.com.
We have developed an ebook which offers a step-by-step guide to implementing/deploying a purpose-built renewals platform. Download now for best practices to ensure your company’s success.