What’s the Difference Between Document Generation and CPQ Solutions?

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Hayley_CoxonOn Wednesday we spent the day at the Salesforce1 World Tour in New York City talking to customer, partners and prospects. I love the insights we gain at these events.  After attending a few of the Salesforce city tours and Dreamforce this year, it’s clear that quotes are the hot thing on the AppExchange right now, and there’s a lot of confusion about the differences between document generation and CPQ (configure, price, quote) apps. I was asked a few times this week “Why would I pick Conga over [insert CPQ] provider?”

It’s natural when two companies both say they do quotes to want to find out how they stack up against each other, but it’s not that simple – sometimes we’re competitors, sometimes we’re partners and sometimes we’re not even close to the right solution for you. Let’s work through three scenarios to figure out what’s the best solution for you.

Scenario #1:

My sales reps always forget that if they sell product X they have to add implementation services.” “My reps have a hard time figuring out how to price our products.”

What you’re looking for:  A tool to help the sales team sell – something that will guide them through the process to ensure that the correct products are added to the opportunity with the proper pricing

What you need: A CPQ application

For companies with a complicated pricing model, complex solutions with a lot of product components in their price book or who sell a mix of physical products and services that are contingent upon each other, a CPQ is a fantastic solution. A CPQ app will simplify how your sales team builds opportunities in Salesforce. Rather than blindly stumbling through pages and pages of a price book, a CPQ app will guide your sales team through each opportunity to ensure they sell the appropriate products, don’t forget to add necessary product line items and correctly price each opportunity. Depending on what needs to end up in your final quote this may be all you need. Jump down to scenario #3 to find out more.

Scenario #2:

There’s no consistency in our quotes – each of my reps uses a different format.” “Our quotes are manually assembled, inefficient and prone to errors.” “We waste so much time reviewing quotes to make sure they are correct.”

What you’re looking for: A standardized quote solution that can be quickly to set up by your administrator, will be easy to use for your sales team and will produce accurate quotes every time

What you need: A document generation application

If you’re happy with the way you’re currently using Salesforce to sell your products, but still struggling to achieve accurate, consistent and professional quotes then you need a document generation app. Document generation solutions leverage standard Salesforce functionality – like the Opportunity and Quote objects and price books – for a straightforward and quick implementation. This will enable you to include data from multiple different objects on your quote, format the quote to your exact requirements and automate quote creation and delivery to one click. No need to rethink your sales process or add additional complexity.

Scenario #3:

I have a CPQ, but hate the way my quote looks.” “The quote template from my CPQ provider doesn’t let me include data from my custom object, grouped tables, images, global currencies/languages, etc.” “My organization needs to create more than just quotes – we want to automate invoices, account plans and presentations too.”

What you’re looking for: Completely customizable quote templates, ability to include data from any standard or custom object on the quote

What you need: A document generation application and a CPQ application

We regularly work with customers who love the way their CPQ app helps them sell, but still need a more sophisticated quoting solution. CPQ apps do a fantastic job of configuring and pricing opportunities and can create basic quote documents. If you’re happy with the quote provided by the CPQ, then by all means save your money and don’t buy document generation. However, if you need more powerful data retrieval, want to include complex content or have several documents to automate, implementing a document generation app to handle the “Q” part of CPQ makes sense.

A document generation application enables you to retrieve data from anywhere in Salesforce, include rich content (images, tables, graphs, etc.), group and summarize data and conditionally display content depending on your business rules. Plus, you’ll be able to create contracts, invoices, presentations, account plans, reports and other documents using the same application, which makes for a simpler learning curve for both admins and end users.

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