Salesforce CPQ + Community Cloud: Taking your partner channel to the next level

by Chris Gardner

There’s no doubt that Salesforce CPQ offers companies incredible capabilities around the selling process. It can be configured to simplify complex product bundles, calculate complex pricing scenarios, and generate quote documents. Implementing Salesforce CPQ for your sales team can reduce quoting time, increase compliance, and reduce errors. So why not bring those same benefits to your partner channel?

It’s easier than you may think to expose CPQ functionality through a Salesforce Community. Through the CPQ managed package, you get access to Lightning components and pages that enable community users (with a CPQ license) to use the CPQ tool. But to get the most out of your implementation, there are a few things to keep in mind: partner personas, internal and external processes, and user experience.

 

Partner Personas

First, you need to understand who will be using your tools. Do you sell through distributors, value-added resellers (VARS), partners, or a combination? Find out what they need from your company to be successful. If you understand their pain points and key success drivers, you will be able to tailor the portal to them.

Create a persona for each type of user that will be in your portal. This serves as a guide for the security requirements, capability matrix, profile, and role. That will keep your team focused on a successful rollout.

 

Internal vs. External

Next, you need to assess the internal and external sales processes. Are they different or the same? Does the channel have additional rules, different price books, or quote documents? To make sure your partners get the most out of the tool, you need to tailor the implementation to the various sales processes.

Often the channel has additional approvals, more discounting and pricing restrictions, and other sales steps. If that is the case for your organization, take the time to document the process from start to finish. If there are inefficiencies, you can use this time to map out a better process and build to that scenario.

 

User Experience

Finally, make sure your portal is user-friendly. One of the benefits of using the CPQ tool in a Community Cloud portal is the ability to tailor the user experience. Use this to your advantage and make sure you are creating a system that is easy to use.

In our Salesforce Bolt Solution for Manufacturing, we created Lightning components that serve as a ‘Quote Wizard’ guiding a partner through the entire sales process. From opportunity to order, the wizard offers next steps, quick actions, and related records to ensure the partner always understands what was expected.

 

While the technology side of a CPQ + Community project is relatively straightforward, you must lay the groundwork first. Successfully understanding your channel sales environment, processes, and users sets the foundation for a successful implementation, like the work we performed for our client Mitsubishi Electric. If you want to speak to a CPQ + Community Cloud expert, please reach out to us at 833.SIM.PLUS

 

Chris GardnerChris is a Salesforce Consultant and Developer with Simplus. He is an experienced leader with a focus on implementation, best practice consulting, and marketing. Chris has over ten years of experience in consulting for small to large businesses. He fosters healthy client relationships from initial engagement through handoff. Chris is skilled in turning client requirements into actionable system designs and following best practices to implement and optimize Salesforce solutions.

chrisg@simplus.com

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