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Using UX Design to Enhance the Performance of CPQ Systems

March 13, 2023

Personalized experiences are now key to winning customers in today’s business world. Sales professionals must tailor their strategies and leverage their tools to meet customers’ requirements and successfully close deals. Many sales teams use CPQ software tools to generate accurate quotes and manage the complex pricing of products or services.

Although many sales teams use CPQ solutions to improve their quote process, many of these systems have unfriendly user interfaces that prevent team’s taking full advantage of these intelligent systems. We all know how critical the user experience is to the success of a platform or application. In fact, the user experience is one of the top factors that impact customers’ buying decisions. Did you know that 80% of customers revealed that they are willing to pay extra for a better user experience? No wonder business leaders from all over the world believe their user experience is one of the competitive differentiators for the brand.

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However, most CPQ tools do not offer the flexibility of personalization, making it impossible for businesses to configure these systems according to their needs. Therefore, a growing need exists for a way to transform these one-size-fits-all user interfaces into personalized solutions. Offering a flexible user interface is one of many approaches that you can take in implementing a customized CPQ solution for sales teams. This article explains how UX design can improve the performance of CPQ systems.

4 Ways to Leverage UX Design in Improving the Performance of CPQ Systems

In this article, I’ll describe four ways in which UX design can enhance the performance of CPQ systems.

1. Know the Factors That Influence a Salesperson’s Experience

Because sales teams are the primary users of CPQ software, understanding their challenges and expectations is the first step toward simplifying the user experience and, thus, boosting the performance of these systems. While some sales professionals have had experience working with a CPQ tool, others might need some assistance. Therefore, you must design these systems to meet the needs of both novice and experienced users. Let’s consider several factors that impact the user experience and performance of CPQ systems, as follows:

  • layout—The layout and design of a CPQ tool must be clear and easy for sales professionals to understand, especially those who are using the system for the first time. Be sure to convey adequate information about the tool’s various features to users, thereby encouraging them to make the most of the tool.
  • usability—Users must be able to navigate the entire tool without any hassles and use it to complete their tasks with increased accuracy. To ensure that users need not spend much time learning how to use the CPQ system, add enhancements such as easily navigable modules, clear layouts, and fast data processing.
  • simplicity—Users must be able to perform their core tasks efficiently, with the customers’ information at their fingertips. Eliminate the complexities that can be involved in users’ processing the customer details they need by dividing data into various meaningful categories that users can fetch using an intuitive tool.

2. Focus on the Individual User Journey

With sales processes becoming more customer centric, sales professionals need to tailor their selling strategies in ways that appeal to customers and encourage them to make purchases. In such cases, providing access to critical customer information is no longer enough. Sales professionals need to customize their approaches to cater to customers across all stages of the buyer’s journey.

A user journey map depicts the customers’ journey as they move through the various stages of sales and marketing funnels. It can help you to identify¬†opportunities for UX improvements from the customer’s point of view and, thereby, enable you to build user-centric workflows that provide smooth user experiences. By focusing on user journeys, you can enhance the performance of a CPQ system in the following ways:

  • Understand the customers’ needs and potential challenges. In this way, you can offer them a user experience that addresses the tool’s shortcomings and turn customers into strong advocates for your brand.
  • Create a stellar onboarding program for your users. A well-defined user journey can help you to identify the system’s critical functions and present them to users in ways that let them fully engage with all of the system’s features.
  • Identify and highlight the tool’s excellent product features. Leverage in-app messages and email messages to promote these to users. This can enhance users’ overall product engagement and improve the tool’s usability.

3. Simplify the Visual Design

Visual design is one of the crucial factors that impact the user experience. Improve the CPQ system’s aesthetic appeal and usability by using the right typography, layout, color schemes, and images. By identifying the best positions for the various design elements and following key design principles, you can design and build a layout that optimizes the system’s user experience.

Some key considerations include the visual appearance of the tool, in-app product copy, and ease of use. You can employ the following design tips to improve the visual design of your CPQ system.

  • Create a consistent design structure throughout the entire CPQ system. An inconsistent design might require sales professionals to invest more time and effort in learning how to use the system. In Figure 1, the elements in the design on the right look chaotic and might be distracting to the user, while those in the design on the left appear to belong together. The layout on the left establishes a connection between the page elements, thereby guiding users in learning and using the system more easily.
Figure 1—Coherent versus incoherent layouts
Coherent versus incoherent layouts

Image source: Interaction-design.org

  • Offer a clear visual hierarchy that communicates the right information to the sales team. Call their attention to important actions. Aim for a simple system that helps users accomplish their tasks with ease.
  • Ensure that your design complements your product copy. Place your carefully chosen words in ways that let sales teams easily read and interpret them.

4. Design an Intuitive Workflow

Beyond visual design, designing system workflow plays a key role in simplifying user experiences for sales professionals. An intuitive workflow simplifies system usability by streamlining the three components of workflow design: input, transformation, and output. To design an exceptional workflow for your CPQ system, you must focus on these three key components.

For example, a business might receive RFPs (Requests for Proposals) from its clients at various times. Ensuring timely submission is crucial to maintaining cordial relationships with them. Therefore, leveraging a seamless workflow for generating these proposals can help businesses to create them faster, quickly submit them to their clients, and get them approved by the appropriate stakeholders.

Here are a few design tips that you can follow to bring uniformity to your entire operational workflow;

  • Place menus, buttons, and other navigation elements in the appropriate locations. Together, these elements can form a streamlined workflow.
  • Map out the sequential tasks necessary to accomplish a task to visualize how the actions and data progress from one step to another. Use a whiteboard, chart, or workflow design tool mapping.
  • Evaluate whether you can divide the designed workflow into subworkflows to make a complex process easier to understand and complete.
  • Integrate the CPQ tool with other software and introduce automation to various components of the workflow wherever possible. This can eliminate repetitive manual tasks, thereby freeing up the sales team’s time for other important tasks. For example, you could connect your CPQ tool with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool, such as Salesforce CRM or HubSpot CRM to automate and accelerate the quote-generation process, while monitoring your customer’s behavior and engagement in real-time.

Wrapping Up

We know that providing excellent user experiences is crucial to the success of all digital products, including CPQ tools. By investing in the user experience from the beginning of designing and building a CPQ solution, you can create a personalized system that helps sales teams improve their overall performance and close deals faster. To design a CPQ system that focuses on the user experience, follow the tips that I’ve provided in this article today! 

Freelance Marketing Writer

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Hazel RaoultAs a freelance marketing writer, Hazel works with¬†PRmention. She has more than six years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and all things relating to SaaS (Software as a Service). Hazel loves splitting her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.  Read More

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