When Customers Want Options

When we want to make big purchasing decisions we always are looking for options. Sometimes it is different materials, different packages, or some other archaic or worthwhile denominator.

As creators and admins of quoting tools, we are faced with anticipating such demands to show options. So here are a few simple ideas. One of two of these may be obvious.

Quote Line Groups

Now I have no direct knowledge to this but considering the feature set it stands to reason that the original purpose of Quote Line groups was to offer options to clients.

There is a checkbox field, Optional, that can be used on the quote line group. CPQ knows when true NOT to sync those quote lines up to the opportunity. This is a good thing. Means I can give clients options for 12, 24, and 36 months and only have 24 months sync to the Opportunity.

Also means when I send my quote for approval, I’m having a single quote to approve with several options versus approving multiple.

The downside means that your price rules and the rest of the CPQ configuration must be able to support multiple groups. If you are using summary variables or MDQ this is especially difficult since there are limitations to how you can summarize and the UI is difficult for MDQ.

But this is great when it comes to the output document since all the options are on one doc.

Bundle Configuration

This may seem obvious at first but if you are new to CPQ, this is critical knowledge. I’ve seen customers who are rigid about what is in a bundle and within a year almost all have failed to support it going forward.

When designing your bundles, using features and categories to allow for different options depending on need allows for building the best configuration for your quotes.

Take a look at the configuration fields on Features and Options to determine how to control the selections.

Just a word of caution, creating these “monolithic” bundles that has many many options buried in features is also a bad idea. There is a limit of about 80-90 options and no more than 3 levels deep that can be nested in a bundle before technical issues. But honestly, after about 30-40 options your users start to have issues navigating the bundle and the system starts to slow.

So the moral of the story is to be smart about what is in/out of a bundle. Allow some flexibility but understand that there are limits.

Multiple Quotes

This is the last item but there are lots of customers who are extremely successful with multiple quotes on an Opportunity. Why?

Your users may be more comfortable with creating or cloning multiple quotes and then printing out each one with the customer. If that works with your team, by all means go for it!

Just understand that the volume of quote records is going to jump and the presentation of quotes will require some extra manual work to generate and present these options to the client.

Maybe your product and pricing strategy is just too complicated to support quote line groups. If so, please take a strong look at your strategy and determine if the level of complexity is truly necessary. Or can you solve this with some extra creativity with the out-of-box tools?

Just know that changing the primary quote will force a calculation and you want that to happen. Otherwise the opportunity’s products and the quote lines will not match. So if you have an approved quote and you have price rules that could upset the pricing and discounting, those rules may need an override to look at the approval status so that these are skipped.

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