Updated: August 31st, 2019
CPQ is an acronym for Configure Price Quote.
A CPQ solution can reduce or eliminate many of the inefficiencies around the product and/or service quotation process. CPQ can make sure that the right combination of products is always quoted. The system can even suggest what complementary products should be included as options within a quote. This can shorten sales cycles.
The capabilities of this business solution category have evolved into functionality that goes beyond just quoting. In fact, the acronym could easily be expanded to CPQPCBC:
Some vendors have adopted the mantra Quote to Cash.
Configure Price Quote has always been the type of solution that many companies, large and small, could benefit from. However, until just a few years ago, CPQ was only available as an expensive standalone solution that was mainly affordable for large enterprises.
As with many business applications, the cloud has made it easier for new entrants into the CPQ space. This gives buyers both more options and easier to implement solutions.
Update: Since the original publication of this article, the market for CPQ software has matured. While there are still many options for users to choose from, rankings on G2 Crowd show a handful of clear leaders.
SteelBrick was a CPQ vendor that decided to go all-in with Salesforce and build their solution natively on the Salesforce platform. This paid off for SteelBrick, as Salesforce acquired the company in 2015.
Since then, Salesforce CPQ has become the leader in the CPQ software market. This is due in no small part to its tight integration with the rest of the Salesforce ecosystem, including Salesforce CRM.
At the time of publication, Salesforce CPQ has a 4 out of 5 star average rating on G2 Crowd from 821 published reviews.
Apttus also built a solution on the Salesforce platform. Apttus was named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for “Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites.”
Update: Apttus now also integrates with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Apptus currently has a 4 out of 5 star average rating on G2 Crowd from 161 published reviews.
CloudSense is a CPQ solution targeted primarily at enterprise customers. CloudSense is built upon and integrates with Salesforce CRM.
It currently has a 4.5 out of 5 star average rating on G2 Crowd from 85 published reviews.
Oracle CPQ Cloud
A well known legacy enterprise solution was Big Machines. Big Machines was later acquired by Oracle and rebranded Oracle CPQ Cloud.
Update: Oracle now has two CPQ solutions in the marketplace. Oracle CPQ Cloud and Oracle BigMachines Express CPQ Cloud. The Express version offers a reduced feature set and is aimed a mid-size businesses. Both solutions currently have a 4.0 out of 5 star average rating on G2 Crowd.
Configure One is a popular standalone CPQ solution. Not all companies have a mainstream CRM or ERP system in place, so standalone offerings continue to be important. Configure One does integrate with popular CRM and ERP solutions.
Configure One currently has a 4.5 out of 5 star average rating on G2 Crowd from 29 published reviews.
Vendavo CPQ (Formerly EndeavorCPQ)
Formerly EndeavorCPQ, Endeavor Commerce was acquired by Vendavo and rebranded. Vendavo CPQ integrates with Salesforce CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SugarCRM, and Infor.
Vendavo CPQ currently has a 4.4 out of 5 star average rating on G2 Crowd from 40 published reviews.
Experlogix provides a solution that integrates with a range of Microsoft Dynamics products.
Update: As of 2019, Experlogix also integrates with Salesforce CRM and Netsuite CRM. Experlogix currently has a 4.6 out of 5 star average rating on G2 Crowd from 50 published reviews.
While implementation cycles are shorter than they once were, implementing a solution can still be a significant project. Unlike with a typical CRM implementation, a lot of the CPQ functionality cannot be rolled out over the course of multiple phases. For example, it wouldn’t work very well to only enter half the products from your price book.
CPQ systems are often called upon to automate what were once highly manual processes. While inefficient, manual quoting with documents and spreadsheets provides almost infinite flexibility to a salesperson.
It’s therefore important that salespeople’s quotation efforts not become overly constrained by a more rigid framework.