12 Oct 3 reasons why you should care about your CPQ operations
by Ryan Northington
Consider what is going through your mind when you buy a new car—you’re excited about all the new features and upgrades from your previous vehicle. You can’t wait to hear that satisfying purr of a pristine engine. And as you enjoy those first few honeymoon months with your new car, you likely aren’t thinking about the operational maintenance it will require later down the road.
The same train of thought tends to happen when you implement a new software solution, such as Salesforce. When you invest in a Salesforce solution, the last thing you are probably thinking about is how to operate your CRM or CPQ solution on an ongoing basis. That’s IT’s job, right? Or maybe you think that because Salesforce is using cloud-based infrastructure it doesn’t require a lot of operations-focused maintenance.
However, it’s dangerous to view the Salesforce platform as being a static software where everything remains the same after implementation. You need to be ready to adapt, enhance, and maintain the operations of your Salesforce environment if you want to get the most out of your investment.
What kind of operations?
Before we talk about why operations-related Salesforce should be at the forefront of your mind, let’s define what we mean by operations. We are not talking about Sales Operations, which covers things like updating rep territories and defining quote processes.
Operations, in the context of this blog, means the act of maintaining or enhancing your CRM or CPQ solution through administration, configuration, or ongoing development. These are the nitty gritty details that ensure long-term success even through software updates, breaks, and unexpected changes. With that said, let’s look at a few benefits you will find when you put an emphasis on the operation-centric use of your Salesforce solution.
Operating well positively impacts your end users.
Unfortunately, users don’t stay the same after an iteration of software goes live. All of us are constantly trying to do our jobs better or figure out a way to operate more efficiently. Compound this pursuit of betterment across dozens or even hundreds of users and you could have a significant backlog of requested changes to your Salesforce solution.
This is further complicated by the natural order of software—it is bound to break or operate unexpectedly at some point. The result is a growing amount of work that directly affects how your end users function on a daily basis.
So, how can you manage the combination of unpredictable errors and user suggestions to maximize efficiency within your platform? By introducing operational-based processes, you are essentially setting expectations for a protocol with your end users. This, in turn, helps you define how to efficiently move that body of work from your backlog into a production environment where your end users can test and take advantage of the changes.
Operating well is good for the business
When you think about it, your company just shelled out a boatload of money to purchase your Salesforce platform. On top of that, you are also paying additional annual fees for licenses. If your attention to maintenance is not a priority, the system will become clunky and stale, and your users will not want to use the platform. Your Salesforce software ROI is blown.
But if you choose to adopt an operation-centric frame of mind with your Salesforce software, you can actually increase your ROI. For example, if a user makes a suggestion about an existing iteration of functionality, claiming that a process takes ten clicks where it could only take five. That is a measurable improvement that saves your reps time and ultimately saves you money in the long run.
Operating well is good for your health
Let’s go back to the idea of the backlog of work. This is the body of work that is made up of things that need to be fixed, changed, or enhanced. Managing that efficiently isn’t just for your end users—it is also for you and for the person that is in charge of managing Salesforce. It could be an IT person, administrator, or anyone in charge of keeping the system up and running, and keeping up with the work can quickly become tiresome and stressful for that individual.
You want to make sure you are setting your Salesforce expert up for success in their job. This means establishing the proper procedures to deal with issues. Having ticketing queues set up efficiently and with proper prioritization and protocols in place to deal with emergency errors is just one example. For the sake of your technical employee dealing with these issues, you simply cannot operate in a fire drill mindset to resolve problems.
As much as you don’t want to think about your brand new car eventually having problems down the road, it is simply a part of car ownership. The same goes for your Salesforce solution—you are eventually going to encounter issues that need to be addressed. When your car breaks down, it’s important to have some money allocated to fix the problem. For Salesforce, it’s imperative to have your operational practices in check so you can alleviate the issue with minimal impact to your daily operations.