CPQ, short for configure price quote, is a sales process and type of software that enables salespeople to create quotes for complex, configurable products — and in B2B eCommerce, it helps improve and accelerate sales cycles significantly.
In this article, we’ll see how your B2B eCommerce business can make quotes and sell faster with the help of CPQ software and give you our best tips and practical advice.
- CPQ software helps improve B2B eCommerce processes by enabling you to create error-free and uniform quotes, fast — especially if you sell complex, configurable products.
- While there’s an overlap between CPQ and B2B eCommerce software, the two differ in their functionality and main feature sets.
- You can use CPQ software to quickly answer quote requests, track quotes, and collect approvals from multiple B2B eCommerce stakeholders and decision-makers.
What is the difference between CPQ and B2B eCommerce?
Initially, CPQ software was created for manufacturing companies that wanted to manage complex client orders in a more efficient way — back in the days when B2B eCommerce software wasn’t around.
B2B eCommerce software’s main focus is on providing an online platform where one business can make purchases from another.
It’s easy to see how the lines between the two might blur today.
CPQ vs B2B eCommerce software: features and capabilities (comparison chart)
Let’s see how the two types of platforms compare when it comes to their key features and capabilities.
|B2B eCommerce software
|Price configuration options
|Limited; usually, only standard product listings are available
|No; the focus is on direct purchase
|Templates for quotes and proposals
|Easy to integrate with personalized sales processes (via calls, chat, etc.)
|Not always; there’s a stronger focus on self-service
|Shopping cart and checkout system
|Bulk ordering capabilities
|No (unless integrated with a third-party tool)
|Sometimes yes (PandaDoc has it)
|Discounts and promotions
|ERP (enterprise resource planning) software integration
As you can see, there are some essential CPQ features that most B2B eCommerce systems don’t have, such as automated quote generation and price configuration options.
CPQ for B2B eCommerce: When do you need CPQ software for your B2B eCommerce business?
There are several use cases in which your B2B eCommerce business might benefit from the implementation of CPQ software, such as:
- Complex product sales: CPQ streamlines quote workflows for configurable products or services.
- Selling to multiple decision makers: Ideal for B2B scenarios with several stakeholders, CPQ enhances the customer experience for all of them.
- A drop in performance of the sales team: By automating quote processes, CPQ can boost sales efficiency, improving close rates by 36%.
- Quote consistency: CPQ ensures uniformity in design and pricing strategies across all quotes.
How to implement CPQ software in B2B eCommerce sales
Now, let’s see how to implement CPQ software in B2B eCommerce sales to streamline your quotes processes and sign deals faster.
1. Build a standardized sales process
To get the most of your configure price quote tool and be able to build accurate quotes in seconds, you need to invest some effort before you implement the solution. For this, you need to:
- Build a super clear pricing structure for your proposals
- Set up a product catalog
- Define the different modular product configuration settings you want to offer
2. Evaluate different solutions
CPQ solutions come in different shapes and sizes, so you need to pick the best CPQ tool for your business. Two of the most trusted ones are PandaDoc and Salesforce.
With it, sales teams of B2B eCommerce businesses can easily combine products and services that make the most sense to clients, which gives them excellent cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
Additionally, its contract management capabilities enable you to eliminate all bottlenecks from the quote process and eSign deals quickly.
Given that B2B eCommerce sales cycles can be quite long (up to a couple of months), shortening them is one of the best ways to increase revenue.
PandaDoc also has an extensive template library of over 1000+ templates for all your B2B processes and workflows, enabling you to build on-brand, uniform documents that look professional.
Contrary to Salesforce CPQ, PandaDoc is suitable for smaller teams, with no minimum number of users (compared to 10 for Salesforce), and it also features an intuitive drag-and-drop document editor.
However, if you still need to use Salesforce for other processes, you can easily integrate it with PandaDoc.
Salesforce CPQ also helps speed up quoting and sales processes thanks to its custom pricing options.
It also has templates and product catalogs but doesn’t feature a drag-and-drop document editor and doesn’t track document engagement metrics to give you insight into what happened to your quote after you send it.
It’s also built for bigger teams (min. 10 users).
Here’s a quick comparison between the two:
|Minimum number of users
|Salesforce CRM integration
|Drag and drop document builder
|Document engagement analytics
For a detailed comparison, check out our review of Salesforce CPQ.
In short, PandaDoc is the more scalable and more versatile option of the two — although both systems can certainly help you improve the user experience of B2B buyers.
And as we mentioned above, you also have the option to integrate PandaDoc with Salesforce, which enables your B2B sales teams to send documents out the door with one click, instead of wasting time on copying and pasting customer data.
Additionally, they can access real-time status updates within Salesforce, which means you can act quickly at key moments — and not let opportunities slip by.
Oracle CPQ also enables businesses to deploy complex pricing structures.
It’s among the pricier options available, at $240/month; in comparison, with PandaDoc you have all the essentials covered for $19/month.
Conga CPQ (ex Apttus) is also a good option for complex sales workflows; however, PandaDoc offers more secure document storage with PCI DSS level 1 security.
We also leverage Salesforce product catalogs more efficiently, enabling you to simplify your quote management.
Check out our overview of the best CPQ solutions for SaaS for more information.
3. Decide on the best CPQ solution and give it a try
Most CPQ software providers offer free demos to check out features.
You can watch a few to see which CPQ tool best fits the needs of your B2B eCommerce business — and then get a free trial to test the solution’s backend before you commit.
4. Streamline your sales processes with the help of CPQ
Now that you have your CPQ software, you need to:
- Add all your products to it
- Integrate it with the rest of your tech stack, including your B2B eCommerce platform, if you’re using one
- Train your sales representatives how to use it to always provide accurate pricing — and a stellar buying experience to prospects.
Standardize and optimize your B2B sales and quoting processes with PandaDoc
Using the right CPQ system makes it easy to build quotes that move the needle. Plus, it makes quote creation much faster, freeing up your sales team’s most valuable resource — their time.
This is time they can now spend with customers, rather than on creating documents or making sure their quote templates are uniform.
PandaDoc CPQ integrates with all major CRM tools and payment providers to help you improve your sales processes, build better customer relationships, and make payments easier for everyone, thus helping you increase your close rate and boost sales performance.
Start your free trial today to see for yourself how much simpler CPQ processes for B2B eCommerce businesses can be.