06 Jan Simplus Product Series #7 — Expert Mode Configuration
by Erich Rusch
In our implementations, there are often two competing needs within each organization that we serve. The first is to make complex enterprise sales processes simpler and more efficient. The second is to allow for the requisite amount of flexibility to support every potential configuration and quoting situation that might arise during any sales process.
Many of our customers not only sell Configure-to-Order (CTO) products but some even have situations where products are Engineer-to-Order (ETO). This means that in each selling situation the products must be custom engineered to fit the particular customer use case. In each of these cases, it may not be enough to answer high-level questions to determine the right configuration options. You may have to grant fine-grained control over the configurators to allow engineers to individually tweak every detail of the configuration. This is known as expert mode configuration. Let’s see what expert mode configuration looks like with a real example and why it’s so important.
Expert mode configuration in action
Let’s go back to the computer example we’ve been using throughout this series. In this situation, we’ll reuse our high-level guided sell question that reads: What business application does the client want to run?
You can see that the various selections trigger changes to the processor, memory, and storage attributes and corresponding price increases depending upon the client’s intended use case. For most deals, answering the high-level guided sell question would be enough to sell that proper computer.
However, in 20% of cases, a sales engineer might get called into the deal because of unknown complexity related to the use case. In this situation, we want the sales engineer to truly have control over these options and be able to override the recommendations of the engine.
Take for instance an engineering/scientific firm that stores outsize amounts of data. Potentially, they want to increase storage to 8TB instead of the recommended 2TB. They might need to also look at the type of storage solution needed to house. For example, do they want a Redundancy-Option or do they want Raid 0 to double the bandwidth of the storage option for even better performance?
The overarching point is that often we want to have additional configuration attributes only accessible to the experts who can truly tweak the smallest details of each solution to offer exactly what each client needs.
Why expert mode configuration is important
Salesforce CPQ gives you really tight control over each profile, allowing you the ability to expose different questions, permissions, and options for each different user within your organization. This is especially important when you incorporate not just the direct sales reps within your organization but all different kinds of resellers, distributors, VARs, and any number of channel sales organizations.
Do you want to hear more about how we can help you structure your configurators to serve the needs of every user within your organization? Contact Simplus for more information.
Erich Rusch is Director of CPQ Presales Solutions at Simplus. Co-founder and CSO of CirrusOne until joining Simplus, Erich has years of experience in the CPQ space and has unparalleled expertise in cloud solutions.