Salespeople at startups and small businesses need a foolproof CPQ system for configuring, pricing, and creating quotes for projects or products.

This helps them streamline the sales process, automate redundant tasks, and deliver competitive prices.

This article explores everything worth knowing about CPQ for small businesses and startups. We’ll go further to discuss the best CPQ software for e-commerce and retail.

Key takeaways

  • CPQ for small businesses can facilitate the sales cycle in order to remove bottlenecks that prevent the smooth generation and delivery of quotes.
  • You can integrate your CPQ solution with multiple CRM and ERP platforms in order to centralize all sales data.
  • CPQ solutions use automation, guided selling, upselling, and product bundling to maximize profits and satisfy customer needs.
  • Before choosing a quote software, ensure it meets your business’s needs and budget. You also need to check out functionality, usability, and customizability.

Benefits of CPQ for small businesses

Sales teams at small businesses often have significant budget constraints.

Relying on CPQ software optimizes those limited resources, helping SMBs achieve the following:

  • Improve productivity by establishing a streamlined system for creating, updating, and delivering professional quotes without bottlenecks. Since team members in a small business environment need to wear several hats, using a CPQ solution will help them manage their time efficiently.
  • Customize quotes involving complex products for customers in order to add a personal touch and stand out. Personalization will also increase the chances of a small business outbidding established enterprises while creating a brand presence.
  • Enter negotiations against other SMBs and corporations with the upper hand, having access to pricing trends and industry forecasts at every stage of the sales cycle.
  • Automate processes by removing manual, redundant tasks that lead to delays within the sales pipeline. This will help your small business spend less and stay competitive with industry mainstays.
  • Ensure accuracy with dynamic pricing, especially for recurring and subscription-based projects. This will help startups and SMBs establish a market-viable pricing range for their products or services.
  • Close deals faster by delivering and reviewing quotes quickly using templates.
  • Integrate your sales tool with payment, CRM, and ERP systems to reduce the amount needed to acquire and implement these solutions individually.
  • Provide better customer experience by fulfilling real user needs in order to guarantee returning, loyal customers for your brand. 
  • Increase the accuracy of forecasting and service recommendations with the help of analytical tools, data visualization, and error-free reporting.
  • Improve collaborations by seamless data sharing when working with clients.
  • Fulfill all business needs while maximizing profitability and avoiding pricing mistakes.

Who needs CPQ software?

Any company that provides priced services needs a CPQ solution.

Whether it is a one-time quote for a project or a recurring deal, you need CPQ software with automation capabilities.

Here are industries (with emphasis on niches carved out by small businesses) where using CPQ software is an absolute necessity:

  • Manufacturing and construction (specialized parts manufacturer)
  • Tech companies (newly formed financial advisory firms, startup building consumer apps)
  • Bespoke fashion (custom branded clothing, hand-made boutique items)
  • Product sales and services (small-batch or high-ticket items, specialty service offerings)
  • Marketing and sales (smaller agencies targeting specific client demos)
  • Maintenance and repairs (standalone auto parts or hardware stores)
  • Tourism (mom-and-pop travel agencies, local logistics companies)
  • Legal (young lawyers starting a firm on their own)

5 CPQ solutions for small businesses

After careful consideration, we’ve handpicked a few CPQ solutions that meet the conditions mentioned earlier. We’ll start with PandaDoc CPQ and use it as the yardstick for comparison.

Let’s dive in.

PandaDoc CPQ

PandaDoc CPQ functionality for small business

PandaDoc CPQ is a solution that helps small businesses speed up their sales cycle in order to close deals quickly and easily.

Startup owners and independent contractors can use this software to configure accurate quotes, drawing inspiration from ready-made templates.

As a small business owner looking for personalized quotes that reflect your brand’s identity, look no further than the PandaDoc CPQ.

This solution can help you add logos, headers, and other custom fields to your sales quotes within minutes. 

In addition, you can integrate PandaDoc CPQ with CRMs, ERPs, and payment services in order to unify the experience and nudge clients into completing payments faster.

This works well for startups and SMBs where one person has to take up several roles.

PandaDoc CPQ also provides a document management solution that allows you to draft, store, and update files within the same system.

Small business owners can also use the virtual data room (VDR) feature to collaborate with clients on sensitive documents.

You can also use the eSignature solution to sign documents after negotiations. And if you want to gather real insights during the sales lifecycle, you can review the document analytics.

Salesforce CPQ

Salesforce CPQ for small business

Salesforce CPQ is a tool for businesses of all sizes to provide accurate pricing and quotes with the help of customizations, price generators, and other features.

As part of the Sales Cloud, Salesforce CPQ integrates directly with your CRM to help you win more deals and sell faster.

The product catalog and pricing rules help you increase the accuracy of quotes generated for products. You can also add discount controls for promos as well as compounding deals.

You can also use the product configuration tool to remove or add options to bundles. The tool also helps generate proposals from the available information.

Salesforce CPQ has two different pricing plans: 

  • CPQ ($75 per user per month)
  • CPQ Plus ($150 per user per month).

Salesforce CPQ vs PandaDoc CPQ

Salesforce CPQ has several features that give sales representatives granular control over drafting, pricing, negotiating, invoicing, and payment.

But at the same time, you need to write pricing rules, which you don’t have to deal with when using PandaDoc CPQ.

Also, PandaDoc CPQ is way easier to use than Salesforce CPQ. You only need to fill out a few fields to complete the quote.

In terms of analytics, Salesforce CPQ has access to multiple tools within the Sales Cloud ecosystem, including Sales AI and others.

PandaDoc only tracks user activity on quotes in order to generate insights.

PandaDoc CPQ offers fewer advanced features compared to Salesforce CPQ. These include twin fields, product catalogs, summary variables, quote line groups, and multi-dimensional quoting. 

However, most of these features don’t add any additional value for SMBs looking to minimize costs and optimize quote delivery speed.

So, if you value simplicity and usability for your small business, PandaDoc is the surefire option.

Oracle CPQ

Oracle CPQ

Oracle CPQ is a SaaS tool that uses AI-based pricing optimization to create custom quotes for SMBs and startups. 

You can use Oracle CPQ to configure subscriptions and license contracts as a business owner or salesperson.

You can also use its guided selling capabilities to satisfy customers’ needs through accurate recommendations.

With integrations like Oracle Commerce and Oracle Subscription Management, you can create a smooth pathway for customers to find and buy products, as well as manage their subscriptions and renewals. 

The document designer also allows users to automate the generation of proposals, spreadsheets, engineering documents, and contracts. You can get them in Word, Excel, or PDF format.

Companies use Oracle CPQ to handle dynamic bill mapping at a flat cost of $240 per user monthly.

Oracle CPQ vs PandaDoc CPQ

Based on pricing, Oracle CPQ ($240/month) is a better fit for medium-sized and large enterprises. In contrast, PandaDoc CPQ ($19/month) is a fitting option for small businesses.

Both solutions are cloud-based, which makes them easily accessible from any device with an active internet connection.

Oracle CPQ also has a more robust product recommendation engine than PandaDoc CPQ. 

IBM Sterling CPQ

IBM Sterling CPQ

This CPQ software makes it easier for eCommerce companies and salespeople to trade complex products and services.

You can use this solution to configure solutions bundles using different cross-selling and upselling techniques.

IBM Sterling CPQ also reduces the cost of services by eliminating manual pricing, which stays consistent and relevant to changing market demands.

The solution also provides a platform for negotiating and converting prospects into paying customers.

IBM Sterling CPQ vs PandaDoc CPQ

Unlike PandaDoc CPQ, IBM Sterling CPQ has a suite of features tailored towards large enterprises.

This means that small business owners and solopreneurs might end up paying more than required. 

Also, you can use the PandaDoc CPQ on your mobile device, but the IBM CPQ is not available on mobile.


SAP CPQ for small business

SAP CPQ is a multi-tenant application that enables sellers to deliver the perfect quotes to customers. Its embedded AI automates quoting by eliminating errors and simplifying approvals.

SMBs use the SAP CPQ to generate thousands of quote lines within minutes. The quote engine allows you to explore multiple permutations for your catalog.

Your business can also integrate with the SAP Sales Cloud, SAP Commerce Cloud, and SAP Service Cloud to convert leads and generate more revenue. 

Other available integrations include Oracle NetSuite, Hubspot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Icertis, AdobeSign, and DocuSign.

SAP CPQ vs PandaDoc CPQ

SAP CPQ relies on add-ons such as DocuSign for signatures. However, PandaDoc CPQ provides a built-in eSignature solution. 

You can also use CPQ templates on PandaDoc, while SAP CPQ has little to no templates.

What to consider when choosing CPQ software for small businesses

Before choosing CPQ software for your small business, you need to factor in its features and how they align with your goals.

Some questions to answer include:

  1. What is your budget?
  2. How easy is it to use?
  3. Does it have customization tools?
  4. Can I get guided selling and relevant product recommendations?

If you get a CPQ meant for enterprises and corporations, you’ll end up paying for features you don’t need — and this will put a significant dent in your budget. 

You also need a CPQ that your sales reps can configure and use after a short onboarding process without needing additional technical training.

Another thing to bear in mind is customization.

If you want your quote to stand out and reflect your brand, you need a CPQ that can generate custom quotes bearing your company’s logo and other identifiers.

Our Recommendation

Of all the CPQ solutions reviewed, PandaDoc is the best CPQ software in terms of usability, functionality, and customizability.

It offers a massive library of customizable templates, which you can edit and sign using the drag-and-drop editor.

Also, PandaDoc integrates with payment services such as PayPal and Stripe, which makes it easy for returning customers and prospects to pay faster.

And most importantly, you can use the PandaDoc document management solution to handle negotiations and approvals within a single platform. 

Start creating custom quotes with an intuitive CPQ solution.

Book a demo with us right away to find out how it works. You can also visit the academy to start learning on your own.

Frequently asked questions

  • CPQ stands for configure, price, quote. The CPQ process is a three-step process that involves configuring a product, calculating its price, and generating a quote for the customer. This quoting process also covers price management, MDQ (multi-dimensional quoting), and bundling.

  • CPQ tools are software programs that allow business owners and salespeople to configure their product catalogs, set realistic prices, and generate custom quotes. CPQ tools often work with CRM and ERP platforms to integrate data seamlessly across several teams and organizations.

  • CPQ software solutions help small businesses with pricing and product recommendations through accurate price forecasting and guided selling. It also speeds up the time frame for quote delivery, which increases the probability of closing deals. Using an AI-powered CPQ platform improves customer satisfaction by automating recommendations using advanced predictive algorithms.

  • Implementing CPQ can cost anywhere from nothing to hundreds of dollars, depending on the size of your business and the solution you choose. PandaDoc costs $19 per month for every user, while Oracle CPQ costs $240.


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