The acronym CPQ stands for Configure, Price, Quote. It refers to software that enables the configuration of complex, mass-customized products, and the creation of price quotes. Quote automation reduces time spent customizing and harmonizes sales organization activities. Integration enables the most advanced software to take products all the way from design through production.
Visual CPQ has arrived alongside traditional, pricing-oriented CPQ software, which is usually integrated with CRM applications. Rather than just ticking options, Visual CPQ enables users to inspect a product and its features from images, or e.g. within a VR (virtual reality) environment. Product visualization transforms the software into a comprehensive sales tool, rather than just a helpmate for configuration and pricing. Traditional CPQ is still an integral part of the software, despite the key role of the visual aspect.
Mail order catalogs were based on the idea of speeding up the purchase decision by visualizing products. The same idea lies behind CPQ, but so much more is now enabled by technological development.
Visual CPQ is not new
Visual CPQ may not be a familiar term to everyone, but most consumers who have bought goods online have experience in using such a tool. A Visual CPQ tool might, for example, be a website for designing a baseball cap or T-shirt with customized text. The other end of the spectrum includes industrial sectors involved in large projects, such as paper-making machine manufacturing or building tower blocks.
We have come a long way since mail order catalogs. In addition to new opportunities provided by technology, consumers have learned to be more demanding. People will no longer buy a pig in a poke but want to explore and test products in detail. Naturally, this trend favors salespersons who can provide customers with opportunities to test products.
A world of opportunities
The more complex a product is, the more difficult it is to present or sell. Visual CPQ software is designed to make this less painful: through visualization, a product can even be presented one part at a time, with no need to take the entire assembly to a trade fair.
A Visual CPQ solution is most suitable for selling physical products, but visualization can also be used to boost service sales. For example, in the travel industry a VR headset can be used to view holiday destinations and activities, recreating the all-inclusive package tours of travelers’ dreams. This complex software provides an almost unlimited range of applications.
Sakari Suhonen CEO
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