Blog, Selling

Commercial Agility and Digital Commerce Enhancements for Vendavo CPQ Cloud

By Jordan Hahn
August 12, 2020

Recent months have shown us just how critical it is to have scalable solutions in place to support your sales teams and channels through digital commerce capabilities. With renewed emphasis on sales efficiency, return on investment + assets, and profitability, pressure for sales teams to deliver has never been higher. But panicked, knee-jerk reactions and rampant discounting can be devastating to recover from in the long run. To fully deliver on your revenue and profitability potential, you need a combination of flexibility, responsiveness, discipline, and patience — a balance you might call “commercial agility.”   

Even in these turbulent times, our Product Development teams for Vendavo CPQ Cloud have been hard at work, continuously developing and releasing new functionality to support sales teams in pursuit of Commercial Excellence. Through extensive best practice and usability research, tapping the deep experience of our internal teams and visionary customers, and relentless focus on key personas and activities, these enhancements have already delivered value through agile solutions for complex enterprise scenarios.  

We’re excited to share some of those important enhancements and give them the overdue fanfare they deserve. Here’s a look at what’s new. 

Price Agreements 2.0 

Just as Stephan Liozu dubbed the next phase of the evolution of pricing and sales capabilities as Commercial Excellence 2.0, our Product Engineering teams have been evolving and expanding the capabilities around Price Agreements in Vendavo CPQ Cloud to reach a new level we’ve internally called Price Agreements 2.0.  

We launched Price Agreements for customer-specific pricing and discount negotiations more than a year ago, and never stopped adding further depth and refinement to the objects and workflows involved. Sales teams can now consolidate several key actions on a single agreement, saving time and effort both now and down the road, including: 

  • Agreements with customer groups (or purchasing organizations), which carry through to quotes for constituent customers 
  • Hierarchy navigation, selection, and discounting for products at the group/family level 
  • Spliced date periods the line item level for variable discounts within the overall agreement window 
  • Scalable discounting by volume/tier 
  • Additional header-level deal score and other metrics for informed negotiations 

All of this can make use of existing approval and proposal workflows, as well as seamlessly embedded guidance and intelligent, dynamic pricing from Vendavo PricePoint, Deal Price Guidance, and other solution suites. 

The enhancements to Price Agreements in CPQ ensure you can properly capture and execute on complex commercial negotiations with demanding enterprise customers through all your digital commerce channels– especially important with renewed focus on virtual selling and collaboration. Handshakes are no longer sufficient and honoring your commitments with accurate pricing on subsequent quotes is now an integral part of delivering a positive customer experience across your sales and operations touchpoints.  

Custom Entities in CPQ 

Another capability we’ve added might not be so obvious on the surface, but under the hood it’s enabling new realms of configuration and implementation options for administrative and technical leaders: you can now create custom entities in CPQ. You can manage entity metadata like you would for standard CPQ objects, and load/sync/store relevant database records via SFTP, bulk upload, or manual entry. From there, you can query against data in these Custom Tables for use in the rules engine, to be used in calculations and shown in SmartCatalogs or the Basket page at runtime.  

This is especially helpful for data that might not map 1:1 to customer or product master data (already standard in CPQ or synced from CRM or ERP), such as shipping locations, freight and other cost reference data, state & local tax rates, or other configuration logic such as product or plant compatibility. We’ve seen our Services teams and implementation partners make extensive use of this capability already and we can’t wait to see what other use cases it might support. 

Enterprise Partnerships & Extensibility 

We’ve also continually developed our partner relationships. We’re excited to announce a partnership with ThreeKit for further extension of dynamic, interactive visualization capabilities within CPQ, leveraging ThreeKit’s advanced, scalable technologies to enhance the quoting experience. And through our global implementation partners, we’ve now done CPQ deployments in South America and APAC, in addition to global deployments from North America and EMEA.  

As we build out capabilities and objects in CPQ, we’ve made continual updates to our API infrastructure as well, ensuring that things like Price Agreements and Custom Tables are available to sync with downstream systems and enable additional customizations. There is also a new API endpoint to enable other systems to call CPQ and get the best, most relevant price available for a customer/product combination– considering negotiated agreements, list pricing in CPQ, dynamic list pricing from PricePoint, and other nuances. 

Continuous Administrative + User Experience Updates 

We always consider our administrative users also and leverage our in-house teams of UX experts to improve our interface and workflows.  

Admin users have some important capabilities now available to them in the Admin Console, including: 

  • Date effectivity for rules, allowing better planning for future updates and changes without impacting live data 
  • Upload translated content for product and catalog data– enabling localization of content based on a user’s culture setting, while only needing to manage a core set of SmartCatalogs and products 
  • Grid view for product pricing– a streamlined view by price level, unit of measure, etc. to complement the more detailed price management in the product management module 

And last, but certainly not least, we’ve made some incremental improvements to approval emails, bringing in much more deal context and making more actions available directly in the email which is especially important for busy approvers on the road (or who will when things get back to normal). Improvements like this come from direct customer feedback, as well as dedicated usability research our UX teams conduct. 

Claim Your Commercial Edge 

Perhaps the most exciting part about all these improvements, from my perspective as a Product Manager, is that they are all in active use today, supporting real customer use cases and commercial scenarios. There’s no time like the present to invest in or expand your commercial capabilities, and Vendavo CPQ Cloud is here to help you claim your commercial edge through your digital sales efforts– as proven and validated by our customers every day. 

To learn more about how to meet rising customer expectations while making improvements to profitability, join the webcast and demo CPQ Cloud for Commercial Agility and Digital Commerce.

  • commercial excellence , CPQ , price agreements , Vendavo CPQ Cloud

    Jordan Hahn

    Jordan is responsible for product management for Vendavo CPQ Cloud, using pricing and sales enablement experience gained in industry and academic research to drive strategy and innovation for Commercial Excellence. Prior to Vendavo, he worked in product management and strategy consulting for telecom, managed services, and B2B software-as-a-service solutions, spanning the product lifecycle from startups and new product launches to legacy product retirements.