Salesforce CPQ in the Services Cloud extends data integration strategy

Salesforce CPQ in the Services Cloud expands data integration strategy

SQDM shares an article by Eric Borthwick reporting the new customer data integration capabilities available through Salesforce CPQ in the Service Cloud.

Today, most CRM systems share a common goal: to improve the customer experience by empowering sales, marketing and service teams with more effective customer data.

All companies should make their customers’ shopping experience as simple as possible. One of the obvious ways to remove an obstacle is to make every employee a potential member of the sales team. That allows employees – whether in sales, marketing or any other department – to use customer information to cross-sell and provide better customer service.

Salesforce has had this vision for some time now, and made it more real in early 2016. It introduced the Lightning development platform for all clouds on the Salesforce platform and also Steelbrick CPQ (Configure Price quote), an application Salesforce bought for its sales cloud.

Today, six months later, Salesforce has taken another step toward unifying sales and service by introducing Salesforce CPQ for the service cloud. Departments supporting the post-sales operation can offer upgrades and warranty extensions or even order modifications without having to validate or interact with the sales department. These pricing configurations are native to Salesforce customer service environments.

Combining sales and service clouds to create a 360° view of the customer has long been the standard; Salesforce CPQ’s latest advancements in the service cloud makes this idea a reality that allows the sales executive to be equipped with the latest knowledge of open service tickets, before showing up for a meeting with their customer, which is crucial. Equipping a member of the service organization with all of a customer’s historical purchase information enables service tickets to be closed much more quickly and accurately.

Availability of Salesforce CPQ on the Service Cloud

Taking customer relationships a step further to enable the customer service team to better cross-sell can significantly reduce the time to close sales and provides additional tools that forge a closer connection with the customer. The service team can access the appropriate quoting tools to steer a customer toward a new product or release¸ they can extend an existing warranty or modify certain items in a contract. By bringing all possible customer interactions together in one place, there is transparency across teams, enabling better collaboration while eliminating redundant interaction.

With the latest release of Salesforce CPQ, a new feature allows an order to be split through Order Management. Shipments that can be tracked over time can now be managed directly from a single pricing or quote document. No more need to create multiple quotes or to clone or modify them. This functionality also allows a link to accounting systems, referencing a unique quote number through to final delivery.

For an even easier link to accounting systems, Salesforce features invoicing functions that make it possible to manage subscriptions, collections and sales, as well as sales tax management – among other functionalities. With this latest release, all aspects of revenue management are designed to be managed in conjunction with sales, service and pricing or budgeting functions. In the past, companies relied on the integrations possible through an ERP system for this function; it now appears that a new avenue for managing your customer experience within the Salesforce platform exists in the marketplace.

Salesforce CPQ pricing for cloud services has yet to be made public. Special attention needs to be given to the support offered for different currencies, charging methods, various taxes, and the process for claims management – a customer involved in an ongoing claim should, for example, be exempted from regular sales and service contacts. The process for automating these activities including customer billing, collections and payments should be a sensitive topic for sales teams looking to close a new sale.

The initiative to have all customer interactions managed through Salesforce – with its advanced reporting capabilities – is increasingly appealing to a majority of buyers. Business processes done through workflows link teams and can create a more cohesive customer experience. The latest release of Salesforce CPQ is another positive step taken in such a direction; the next should be to allow customers to use a web-based portal to price features or products they have, which could be the next phase of e-commerce. Salesforce Einstein (CRM that incorporates artificial intelligence) can affect CPQ strategies and offer greater intelligence to the Configure-Budget-Cotice process. This could, surely, require the whole of 2017 to become a reality.

Read the full article here.

For more than ten years SQDM -Software Quality Driven Management- has been advising countless companies with professional consulting services on CRM solutions. SQDM is an official business partner of world-class vendors in these technologies, including Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft.

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