CPQ for B2B Ecommerce: Win Every Deal in Your Complex Sales Cycle

Business strategy
11mid read July 2, 2024
Business strategy
CPQ for B2B Ecommerce: Streamline Quotes, Boost Sales

Picture this: a high-value customer reaches out to you, ready to order one of your manufactured products. They need a custom bundle that specifies configurations and volume discounts. 

Your sales team seems all prepped to help, scrambling to put together a quote manually and hoping for the best. After juggling with spreadsheets and accidentally making an error or two, the customer receives a quote that looks far from what they’ve been expecting and eventually ghosts you. 

Sounds familiar? 

Well, it’s all too common in B2B commerce. But fear not, there’s a solution called CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote). 

At Elogic, with more than 14 years of experience in ecommerce development, we help companies embrace CPQ solutions and streamline their sales process. Keep on reading, and this article will equip you with the knowledge to transform your complex sales cycle into a conversion machine.

Why Would You Need a CPQ? 

Your B2B cycle is the journey your customer embarks on, which consists of research, requesting quotes, negotiations, and purchasing if everything goes well. 

CPQ process

Is the purchase part guaranteed? Unfortunately not, and the entire journey can be riddled with obstacles both for your and your customer. 

Here’s what can affect the B2B cycle: 

  • Manual errors. Relying on manual calculations and spreadsheets is a working recipe for disaster. Even if you have the most attentive and professional employees, typos still happen, and they can lead to lost deals, misquotes, and frustrated customers. 
  • Quote delays. Time is money, so the longer it takes to deliver a quote, the higher the chance of a customer losing interest.
  • Lack of transparency. Leave complex language and pricing structures for your in-house professionals; customers need clarity, especially when it comes to bundles and discounts. Confusion brings doubt, so make everything easy to understand. 
  • Personalization issues. If your system can’t handle custom configurations or product variations, it’s impossible to offer the personalized solutions your customers crave.

Read more: Personalization at Scale: How to Hook Your Customers & Boost Customer Lifetime Value 

These are just some of the pain points that CPQ software solves. Besides basic ecommerce functionality, the system offers features like: 

  • Automated quote generation. CPQ software creates accurate quotes automatically, eliminating human errors and speeding up the sales cycle drastically. 
  • Real-time pricing. With a CPQ, your customers will be able to see dynamic pricing changes based on configuration, discounts, and volume. This way, you’ll foster trust and transparency and build stronger relationships with your customers. 
  • Product configuration tools. A custom CPQ allows you to offer customizable product variations and bundles so customers can tailor solutions perfectly to their needs. 

Key CPQ Features You Won’t Find in a Standard ERP

Your ecommerce ERP might keep your company’s operations humming along. But when it comes to the intricate sales process, especially in B2B, a standard ERP might leave you wanting more. 

The largest CPQ selling process

CPQ software steps in as your B2B sales cycle superhero, offering a specialized feature set that ERPs just can’t match. Check out some of the key features that make CPQ the ultimate weapon for conquering complex quotes:

Configuration features

Imagine a customer visiting your B2B ecommerce store, eager to purchase a heavy-duty industrial drill press. But they need a specific configuration – a particular chuck size, a laser pointer for precise drilling, and a specific safety guard. 

A standard ERP system might only offer pre-defined drill press options, leaving your sales rep scrambling to create a custom quote manually. This can be a recipe for errors and delays.

  • Dynamic Product Configuration

Unlike ERPs that lock you into predefined options, a CPQ solution lets you play the role of a product expert. With CPQs, you can dynamically configure options on the fly. A CPQ pulls together all the variations you offer, ensuring your sales rep can present a customized solution that perfectly meets the customer’s needs.

  • Interactive Configuration Tools

CPQ software equips your customers with interactive configurators. These visual tools allow them to select features and see the impact in real-time. 

They can experiment with different chuck sizes, see how the laser pointer integrates with the drill press model, and visualize the safety guard attachment. This interactive experience empowers customers, reduces errors, and ensures they get exactly the configuration they require.

Pricing features

B2B sales? Buckle up because pricing can be a rollercoaster ride of complex calculations, volume discounts, and negotiated deals. Here’s where a standard ERP reaches its limits. 

But fear not, CPQ offers advanced features that leave ERPs in the dust:

  • Dynamic Pricing 

Imagine a customer meticulously configuring a high-performance cloud server on your B2B platform. A CPQ goes beyond just quoting. As they select features like increased processing power or additional storage, the pricing adjusts in real-time. 

This dynamic pricing ensures they always see accurate costs, eliminating confusion and delays. No more back-and-forth negotiations or waiting for quotes – CPQ empowers them to confidently build their ideal server solution.

  • Tiered Pricing 

Rewarding loyalty and high-volume purchases is crucial in B2B sales, and CPQ lets you create sophisticated tiered pricing structures to achieve this. 

Imagine you sell toner cartridges for laser printers. With CPQs, you can set up automatic discounts based on quantity purchased. 

For example, a standard toner cartridge might cost $25, but CPQ can automatically apply a 5% discount for orders of 10-49 cartridges and a 10% discount for orders of 50 or more. 

This incentivizes bulk purchases, benefiting both you and the customer. You gain larger orders and potentially higher revenue, while the customer cuts costs on their essential office supplies.

Tiered and dynamic CPQ pricing in action. Source: https://www.pandadoc.com/cpq-software/
  • Bundle Up and Save

B2B sales thrive on rewarding loyalty and volume. CPQ software allows you to create strategic pricing structures like bundle discounts. 

Imagine you sell cloud-based project management software. 

With a CPQ, you can offer a discounted bundle that includes your core software alongside additional features or modules, like time tracking and team communication tools. The CPQ system automatically calculates the bundled price, highlighting the cost savings for your customer and encouraging them to invest in a more comprehensive solution.

Quoting features

B2B sales rely on sending winning quotes, but creating them manually can be a nightmare. Imagine wrestling angry spreadsheets – that’s what it feels like. 

But fear not! CPQ software rises to the challenge, offering a much smoother quoting experience than clunky ERPs.

  • Automated Quoting

CPQ software empowers B2B businesses to streamline complex sales processes. By automating configurations, pricing, and quoting based on predefined rules, CPQ eliminates manual errors and saves sales reps valuable time. This translates to faster quote generation, improved sales efficiency, and the ability to focus on closing deals rather than data entry.

  • Professional Polish with a Click

First impressions matter, especially in B2B sales. Standard ERPs might generate bland, text-heavy quotes. But CPQ offers a suite of pre-designed quote templates. 

These customizable templates allow you to create professional-looking quotes that reflect your brand identity. Think crisp logos, clear product descriptions, and easy-to-understand pricing breakdowns. 

With a CPQ system, every quote you send is polished and persuasive, increasing your chances of winning the deal.

Beyond the basic features

Sure, CPQ excels at configuration, pricing, and generating quotes. But it doesn’t stop there! CPQ offers features that help skyrocket your B2B sales process:

  • Cross-Sell and Upsell 

Imagine a customer meticulously customizing their marketing campaign on your B2B platform. CPQ goes beyond just generating a quote; it acts as a marketing strategist. Based on their selections, CPQ can recommend complementary services like targeted audience analysis or professional ad copywriting. 

Read more: 7 Ecommerce Tips to Boost Upselling and Cross-Selling

This not only increases your average order value but also positions you as a one-stop shop for their marketing needs, fostering a stronger client relationship.

  • Effortless Document Generation

Stop wasting time wrestling with spreadsheets and copy-pasting information. CPQ automates the creation of various sales documents beyond quotes. 

Read the case study of how Saudi Coffee Roasters streamlined custom invoice generation for their customers.

Contracts, invoices, and even proposals can be generated with a click, ensuring consistency, accuracy, and freeing up your sales team to focus on closing deals.

  • Data-Driven Decisions

A CPQ doesn’t just handle quotes, it analyzes them! Gain valuable insights into sales performance, popular product configurations, and how effective your pricing strategies are. Use this data to make informed decisions and optimize your sales approach for maximum impact.

  • Approval Workflows

Complex quotes often require internal approvals from different departments. CPQ’s built-in workflows ensure quotes and configurations are reviewed and signed off by the right people before reaching the customer. This eliminates delays, keeps the sales process moving smoothly, and ensures everyone is on the same page.

Top Tips for Smooth Integration of CPQ Software in B2B Ecommerce Sales

Integrating complex sales CPQ software in your company can be a true gamechanger, but it requires careful planning and preparation. To make the change smooth and effective, we’ve prepared some tips for you. 

Build your sales process

First things first – define your pricing rules. They include individual products, bundles, discounts, and volume pricing structures. Clear rules ensure accurate and consistent quotes.

Next, set up your product catalog, ensuring accurate product data, such as options, configurations, and dependencies. 

Finally, define modular configurations, outlining the specific product variations and bundles you offer to customers. 

Pricing rules example

Choose your CPQ solution

Plenty of ready-made CPQ solutions are available on the web. Choosing the right one requires careful consideration of your needs. The most popular ones include Apttus CPQ, Conga CPQ, and Zendesk Sell CPQ. 

FeatureApttus CPQConga CPQZendesk Sell CPQ
Ease of UseComplexEasyEasy
CRM IntegrationMultipleMultipleZendesk Sell

Consider a B2B platform with integrated CPQ functionality

Integrating a standalone CPQ solution can be a perfect match for some businesses, but it can also involve additional setup time and ongoing maintenance costs. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, a simpler and more cost-effective approach might be to use a B2B platform with integrated CPQ functionality. 

Read more: 10 Telltale Signs You Need to Change Your Ecommerce Platform This Year 

Popular platforms like that include Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Oracle; they offer rich CPQ capabilities without the need to pay extra. These platforms are designed specifically for the complexities of B2B ecommerce, meaning they can handle intricate product configurations, volume discounts, and complex pricing structures. 

What are the main benefits of a B2B platform with built-in CPQ?

Such platforms help you streamline implementation. Since the CPQ functionality is already embedded within the platform, there’s no need for a separate integration process. This saves time, reduces development costs, and minimizes potential compatibility issues.

Salesforce, Oracle, and commercetools offer strong CPQ capabilities and pre-built integrations with popular CRM and ERP systems, making your life easier and allowing for a more unified data flow across your business. 

Learn more about how the German industrial manufacturer transitioned from legacy store architecture to commercetools microservices with Elogic.

Moreover, your sales reps can access quote generation, pricing tools, and configuration within the familiar B2B interface, without the need to constantly switch between systems back-and-force. A smooth and effective workflow is the key to productive sales and error-free processes. 

Elogic works with all enterprise-level platforms that support CPQ functionality. Reach out to us for a free Salesforce Commerce Cloud consultation and see how you can boost your complex sales process with technology.

Wrapping Up 

A complex B2B cycle can be a recipe for lost deals and frustrated customers. Manual processes lead to errors, slow quote turnaround times, and a lack of transparency for your customers. This all adds up to missed opportunities and lost revenue.

Fortunately, CPQ software is an effective solution that can streamline your quoting process, automate tasks, and empower your sales reps to close deals faster. Whether you choose a standalone CPQ solution or leverage the built-in functionality of a B2B platform, the benefits are undeniable.

At Elogic, we have extensive experience building complex B2B stores for manufacturers with intricate sales cycles. We understand the challenges you face, and we can help you implement a CPQ solution that transforms your sales process. 

Ready to unlock the power of CPQ?

Let Elogic`s extensive ecommerce development experience take your B2B ecommerce to the next level.

Contact our ecommerce experts

CPQ for Ecommerce FAQs

What is CPQ for B2B ecommerce?

CPQ stands for Configure, Price, Quote. It’s a software solution designed to streamline the often-complex process of dealing with configurable products, generating accurate quotes, and managing your B2B sales cycle. Imagine a system that automates the nitty-gritty work, freeing you up to focus on the bigger picture.

Here’s how CPQ helps B2B ecommerce businesses:

  • Self-service options. B2B buyers can configure the products they need on your ecommerce platform and receive instant quotes. This empowers them to explore options and get pricing information without needing to wait for a sales rep.
  • Personalized quotes. Gone are the days of generic quotes. CPQ allows you to personalize quotes based on specific customer details and pre-defined pricing rules. This ensures accuracy and caters to individual customer needs.

How can a CPQ help my sales cycle?

A well-implemented CPQ system can be a game-changer for your B2B ecommerce sales cycle. Here’s how it boosts efficiency and improves the overall experience:

  • Increased efficiency. Sales reps can spend less time manually configuring products and calculating prices. This frees them up to focus on building relationships with customers, understanding their needs, and closing deals.
  • Reduced errors. Manual processes are prone to errors. CPQ automates calculations and enforces pricing rules, minimizing the risk of mistakes and the need for rework. This translates to accurate quotes and a smoother sales journey.
  • Faster sales cycles. Generating accurate quotes traditionally takes time. With CPQ, the process is automated, allowing you to deliver quotes to customers quickly. This translates to faster deal closures and improved revenue generation.
  • Improved customer experience. B2B buyers appreciate self-service options and personalized quotes. CPQ empowers them to explore configurations and receive relevant pricing information, ultimately leading to a more satisfying buying experience.

Should I integrate a third-party CPQ for ecommerce?

The decision to integrate a third-party CPQ depends on your specific needs. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Product complexity. Do you sell products that require intricate configurations and pricing rules? If so, a CPQ system can be a valuable asset. It ensures accurate configuration options and pricing based on pre-defined rules, saving you time and minimizing errors.
  • Current ecommerce platform. Some B2B ecommerce platforms offer built-in CPQ functionality. Evaluate if the features meet your needs or if a more robust third-party solution is necessary for your specific business requirements.
  • Scalability. If you anticipate significant growth in your B2B ecommerce business, a third-party CPQ can offer greater flexibility and scalability compared to a limited built-in solution.

Is a CPQ the same as the order management system?

No, although they work together seamlessly, CPQ and OMS are distinct systems that handle different stages of the sales cycle:

  • CPQ focuses on the pre-sales process. It helps configure products, generate accurate quotes, and manage pricing. In essence, it ensures a smooth and efficient pre-sales experience.
  • OMS focuses on the post-sales process. Once the order is placed, the OMS takes over. It handles order fulfillment, inventory management, and shipping, ensuring your products reach the customer smoothly.

Think of CPQ as the system that gets the order configured and priced accurately, while the OMS takes the baton and ensures the order is fulfilled efficiently.

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