29 Nov Building your install base: Amendments
by Erich Rusch
By far, the biggest advantage to leveraging modern subscription-based products is the ability for you to change the original commercial agreement you’ve entered into with your customer. If you find that an amendment is necessary as a result of growth, change, or for whatever reason, Salesforce CPQ makes it easier than ever to amend the original agreement to keep your customers happy long into the future.
There are many pieces of functionality that we leverage through Salesforce or Oracle CPQ that allow us to handle some of the powerful use cases. In this blog we’ll cover functionality to handle expansions, cancellations, upgrades, swaps, and free offerings—all sorts of amendments.
The simplest and best case from a business perspective is when a customer has originally purchased a subscription to a product and would like to increase the commitment from a contractual or financial perspective to that offering. Salesforce has the ability to allow us to easily invoke the amendments functionality and allow sales representatives the ability to seamlessly add more licenses to the contract.
The great thing about this functionality is that Salesforce keeps a running total of all the additions through time and seamlessly integrates any tier, volume, or term-based licensing schemes as well as any previously agreed upon customer discounts. In the expansion scenario, not only do we take into account historical account and pricing context, but out-of-the-box we automatically prorate and co-term the new licenses to the same subscription end date, allowing you to seamlessly and easily align all licenses to one common end date to allow for one unified call-to-action upon renewal.
Cancellations or contractions
Another case that is handled seamlessly through Salesforce is the cancellation. A major part of life for any business is dealing with customers who potentially have the ability to reduce their license counts. Additionally, some may have opt-out clauses in their subscriptions that require us to cancel the contract prior to some end date. Regardless of the scenario, because CPQ has the ability to keep a running total of the licenses over time, this case is easily handled out of the box. Take, for example, a business that has sold ten licenses to their cloud storage product to Customer A. If Customer A has decided that they would only like to use five licenses going forward, we can create an amendment quote where we reduce the quantity by five. On the quote, we would see ten licenses from the original sale and the minus five licenses from the contraction. On the opportunity, we would see a net decrease of minus five licenses representing the decrease to the sales forecast over time.
Upgrades, product swaps, or conversions
Customers may also want to change products midway through a subscription term. This may come in the form of a maintenance upgrade, for example going from 9×5 to 24×7 support as a business grows and scales. It could also come in the form of a product swap, common in media or advertising companies, where a customer wants to redirect resources from one product to another.
This was the case for a Silicon Valley recruiting company we’ve worked with in the past. In particular, we helped them support a case at an advertising company where a customer may want to divert resources from advertising for a job posting to banner ads promoting the company. We created a process that allowed them to determine the funds left from the original contract and divert the remaining unused funds toward another product.
The last case we’ll discuss today happens when we might be engaging with a customer that’s less than enthusiastic about the original deal they were sold. If the product sold isn’t performing as expected, or setup fees may have been undersold, whatever the reason, you need a little something to make amends with your customer. We can create a special set of products that are identical to the base products already in existence but set them up as subscription-based non-renewable products. This allows us to offer licenses to our core products, such as the cloud storage offering above, but ensure that the licenses that have been offered as part of a get well package do not get included in the renewal rollups at the end of the contract, ensuring that we do not give away those products in perpetuity.
Be sure to check out the previous installments of this series, covering everything from the basics of the install base to contracts, assets, and subscriptions. In the next-up and final installment, we’ll discuss the final thing you need to complete the picture of CPQ benefits in your organization.
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.