Integrating Salesforce CPQ With Microsoft Dynamics
Many companies have a need for guided selling and product configuration as part of their selling processes. There are quite a few good tools out there that can help companies accomplish that, but my favorite is Salesforce CPQ.
On the Microsoft Dynamics NAV/AX side there are several good options available either as built-in applications like you have in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations or as add-ons such as the e-Con or Experlogix solutions.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO AND CONSIDER
In the past, it has been common to add the CPQ (Configure Price Quote) functionality to the ERP systems from the perspective that it’s where you process order fulfillment and related financial transactions such as invoicing. However, from a conceptual standpoint it may not be the most effective in terms of process optimization and user experience.
I’ve been a sales guy for more than 30 years and I’ve tried a lot of different systems to support my customer acquisition and nurturing. I’ve tried to do everything inside Microsoft Dynamics NAV, I’ve tried to run an ERP disconnected with Microsoft CRM and I’ve tried a Salesforce Sales and Service cloud integrated with an ERP.
What I’ve learned is, that when I can do all of my work in one system only I’m a lot more productive and motivated to do my sales process documentation. It saves a lot of time that I don’t have to switch between systems to find the information I need and it also removes a mental barrier to get things done.
WHAT DATA YOU SHOULD SYNCHRONIZE
In my recent sales process designs all the customer-facing processes related to sales and customer service have been moved to the CRM system — and it practically means that I don’t have to visit the ERP system anymore. Actually, I don’t even need an ERP login. And it’s a bit hard to admit because I’ve been an ERP guy since the late 1980’s!
But here’s the point: today, I work mostly in the Salesforce Sales Cloud. The Sales Cloud is seamlessly integrated with our ERP System and I synchronize all the information from ERP into the CRM system I need such as:
• Bi-directional customers and accounts
• Bi-directional Contacts
• Products and prices
• Open sales and service orders
• Sales history
• Payment history
• Additional master data to make our reporting more consistent
And in order to automate the entire quote-to-cash flow we’ve also integrated:
• Sales quote in CRM to sales order, service order or sales invoice in ERP
I thought it would be a utopia to do advanced product configuration and guided-selling in the CRM system because I need the product and basic pricing from the ERP-system to feed that. But it has proven to be a lot easier than I thought.
A good model is to create new products and basic pricing in the ERP system because you have more details on a product there in order to make sure that the financial transactions go where they should and with the right dimensions etc. This information is synchronized automatically to the Sales Cloud where the Salesforce CPQ is configured to handle your product configuration and pricing, utilizing special offers, enabling specials bids within defined frames etc. When new quotes are made in Salesforce CPQ the end result on item line level will overwrite the default pricing in the ERP when the quote is converted to an order. It’s super powerful, flexible and it gives a great user experience.
If a company has already implemented CPQ functionality in their ERP system, from an integration perspective we can set up additional synchronizations that utilize the ERP CPQ functionality from the CRM. But it’s only good if it’s only a matter of calculating the exact pricing. If you need to make manual choices during the process you would need to do this in the ERP system which means that the process is not fully automated, and the benefits would be more limited.
One thing I will advise against is trying to duplicate CPQ functionality in both the ERP and the CRM system — you have to choose one! Anyone who has tried to work with product configuration tools knows that it’s quite complex to configure during setup and you are limited/enriched with the specific design/logic of the CPQ system. Practically, you will have a very hard time trying to keep two different CPQ systems working in exactly the same way — actually then you would have to work with the lowest common denominator instead of utilizing the full potential of one CPQ.
If you are considering using Salesforce CPQ in combination with Microsoft Dynamics as the ERP system just go ahead. You will love it! You can read more about integrating Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics here.