Salesforce.com is wasting no time updating the SteelBrick CPQ (Configure Price Quote) software it acquired three months ago. That's a pretty quick turnaround to integrate the company and its key product into the Salesforce platform, not to mention adding new features. The company credits the fact that SteelBrick was built using Saleforce's own Lightning developer tools, designed to support integration with Salesforce.
"SteelBrick was built fully in the Lightning platform and we had a fantastic team and culture here supporting it," Adam Blitzer, executive vice president and general manager of Salesforce Sales Cloud, told eWEEK.
The Salesforce Sales Cloud system gives sales reps leads and opportunities to generate new business. SteelBrick CPQ was an attractive acquisition target for the CRM giant because it completes the sales cycle, covering everything from sales leads to cash (i.e., the actual purchase).
"It completes our lead-to-cash vision of one system that lets you find leads, qualify them, get them a quote and get the contract signed," said Blitzer.
He noted the integration means a faster sales cycle and, in many cases, the difference between making a sale and not, since prospects can have second thoughts after hearing the sales rep needs to first get a quote approved.
"What you have today is a lot of companies still using Word and Excel to generate a quote that is typically then formatted as a PDF. It's an error-prone, manual process," said Blitzer. "In sales, you want to be able to strike while the iron is hot."
As part of SalesCloud, SteelBrick CPQ now can be configured to include the types of deals and discounts managers will approve so the rep doesn't have to get approval after speaking to a prospect. Blitzer claimed Sales Cloud users can expect SteelBrick CPQ to produce a quote as much as 80 percent faster than using disparate tools.
The specific new features in SteelBrick CPQ include:
Ability to set user-defined discount schedules—This is useful in cases where companies have different discount tiers that fluctuate globally. SteelBrick CPQ lets them view up-to-date discount schedules on the same screen where they're building a price quote.
Secure Quote Term Editor—The standard Terms and Conditions section included in most sales quotes sometimes must be edited. With Quote Term Editor, each section of Terms and Conditions can be locked or unlocked. As a result, companies can establish guidelines that give reps more flexibility to make quick changes on specific deals without requiring an internal review.
Real-Time Price Rules—SteelBrick CPQ gives sales reps a real-time display of any changes they make in product pricing when they're putting together a package or product bundle. This helps ensure they are always including current product configurations and pricing.
Another feature of SteelBrick CPQ is its ability to provide guided selling. In a demo for eWEEK, SteelBrick Senior Vice President and General Manager Godard Abel showed how the system guides the sales rep through a series of questions about what the customer's needs are to determine the best products to sell them.
"The rep doesn't have to choose from thousands of items to try and figure out what the customer needs," said Abel, who was CEO of SteelBrick before the Salesforce acquisition. "This kind of guided selling helps the rep pinpoint the products or services most relevant to the customer."
The news was announced April 21 at the company's SteelBrick Customer Success Summit in San Francisco. Blitzer said hundreds of customers already are using the new software ahead of its official release this week.