Why We Choose Model N’s Revvy CPQ for Mid-Market B2Bs

Don’t miss our thorough review of CPQ implementation for the middle market. In this blog, we discuss Salesforce-Native CPQ Vendors on the market in 2016 and explain why one vendor meets our expectations. Later this month, we will do a thorough review of a successful CPQ implementation and post-implementation. *This article series is not sponsored by Model N or any subsidiary.

The B2B Middle Market: CPQ Requirements from 30,000 Feet

The B2B middle market is filled with companies that need a better CPQ solution for Sales Cloud®. In B2B, deal sizes are large, and with so much money on the table, both Buyer and the Sales Rep expect professionalism and convenience. The same reason also makes B2B products and services more customized on average than B2C firms. And in an age when consumers can design their shoes from the ground up with Nike’s self-service CPQ, you can bet expectations are rising - even in B2B.

Configurations, customizations, and choices can become inordinately complex. In the process of making the sale, Rep and Buyer will exchange precise information that necessitate look-ups, approvals, all the administrative work that reps hate. What follows is an analysis of 2016 CPQ vendors based on the following high-level requirements:

  • High degree of product configuration
  • Dynamic quoting process, meaning that options and pricing can change based on specifications
  • 100% Native on Salesforce1 / Force.com (Ie. NO redundant data entry or 3rd-party APIs)
  • Competitive Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), meaning easy implementation and low maintenance in addition to licensing
  • Designed for middle market and up

It is rare to find well-known CPQs that meet all the above requirements. Complex configuration engines are rare enough because they are the most difficult CPQ component to execute well. Products that do support complex configurations tend to be difficult to use, or they raise the TCO in other ways. These two requirements eliminate SMB-focused products, as well as many enterprise-focused products. They focus your search on enterprise-grade products that are capable of serving the middle market.

Once a CPQ runs the middle market gauntlet, it faces the Salesforce-native requirement, which knocks out another long list of competitors. But if your business uses Salesforce, then native is a necessity.

7 Great CPQ Vendors for Complex Companies

After looking on the Appexchange®, G2 and Trust Radius, we found a short list of CPQs that were reviewed well by middle market clients. Each entry below is linked to its most useful customer experience reviews to help guide your search.

  1. Apttus (Reviews on Trust Radius)
  2. Cameleon (Trust Radius)
  3. FPX (G2)
  4. Quosal (AppExchange®)
  5. Revvy CPQ (AppExchange®)
  6. SteelBrick (Trust Radius)
  7. Oracle CPQ Cloud (Trust Radius)

ALTAVI has demoed all of the above with the exception of Oracle. Based on those demos (Or in Oracle’s case on detailed review), we divide CPQ vendors even further.

CPQ Vendors for Bundling, not Configuration

Bundling is an extremely useful component of the CPQ function, but it will only get you so far. Bundling typically refers to grouping products together with the ability to influence price (Ie. Buy 2 get the third FREE; Verizon Triple Play; etc.).

However, many businesses require more specific rules and cases to be accounted for than simple aggregation. (If specification A and B are present but not C, then $1, but if specification A and B but not C or D, then $5.) The most difficult component of CPQ is configuration. It is a challenge to the developer because during configuration, “anything can happen.” The software needs to be extremely versatile and easy to program.

We define the following three CPQs as great bundlers but less than ideal configurators.

  1. Steelbrick
  2. Cameleon
  3. Quosal

One negative review of Steelbrick will really hit this home:

“The system was really not ready for the complexity of our quoting processes when we bought it. Initially it only allowed one or two levels of further product selection. After that obstacle was removed, the output capabilities did not match up with that infinite bundles to get any real value out of the system.” 

- Andrew R.C. (G2)

It is also important to mention that these three CPQs have significant (>20%) small business segments. There is nothing wrong with small business, but configuration becomes the differentiator in an enterprise environment.

CPQ Vendors for Complex Configuration

  1. Apttus
  2. FPX
  3. Oracle CPQ Cloud
  4. Revvy CPQ

Neither Apttus nor Oracle CPQ hit the sweet spot for the middle market because configuration/administration of their CPQ is too costly; it drives the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) outside the budget for many mid-market B2Bs.

This leaves us with two great options: FPX and Revvy CPQ. Both of these are enterprise-grade applications that are dedicated to easy customization. One of FPX’s defining characteristics is that its products are not built on third-party CRM applications, but they are made to be easily integrated with any major vendor, Salesforce.com included. While this gives FPX customers freedom, there is a trade-off in terms of real-time lag in its integration with Salesforce. Additionally, in demoing these two products, we find Revvy CPQ to be more intuitive - easier to implement and simpler for the Sales Rep.

The Winner: Revvy CPQ

Complex middle market B2Bs are situated in a market niche because their needs call into play two diametrically opposed capabilities of CPQ - the ability to support complex configuration during the quoting process on the one hand and TCO/ability to maintain and administer on the other. The CPQ market splits down the middle, and there are very few companies out there that satisfy both requirements. Revvy CPQ does this extremely well.

Interested in Revvy CPQ? See next week’s blog for a thorough review of our experience implementing Revvy.

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