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CPQ Salesforce: A Complete Guide (Updated for 2020)


Proposals, quotes, and approvals are what sales teams spend over 60% of their time creating, according to Accenture. CPQ Salesforce can cut down that time and create more time for sales personnel to sell. Many enterprises already know a bit about salesforce and may be using it but do not realize its full potential. This guide will introduce you to one of the biggest time-saving features and how you can use it effectively.

CPQ Guide

It is important to understand CPQ as a unique feature within Salesforce. In this guide, let us start by defining CPQ. It stands for: Configure, Price, Quote.

It automates a rather time-consuming process and eventually lets sales staff close deals faster. It lets them sell the right products, provides mistake-free quotes, and automates approvals.

Instead of spending time going through a spreadsheet or sending back and forth emails to get the final data to share with a client, this software will provide you the right data you need and within minutes, your client will have the information necessary to make a purchase.

Salesforce CPQ Overview

To get a quick understanding of what we are talking about, here is an overview: this is software designed to help with pricing. Sales teams can use CPQ to provide more accurate quotes and price products or services according to set configurations. With a tool like this, you can cut down the amount of time taken going back and forth trying to figure out the right discount to give a customer.

This is a CLM alesforce tool that automates the process of quoting and pricing. Most people who are already using it report several benefits which include: improved accuracy, faster response times, increased productivity, and better adherence to sales guidelines, among other benefits.

According to a study by Harvard Business Review, sales teams waste $3 trillion annually as a result of bad data. With Salesforce CPQ process flow, a business can save billions of dollars since data will be accurate and less time is spent trying to compile it.

Salesforce CPQ Features

It is necessary to identify the features so that you can easily understand how it works and what exactly it can do for you. There are three key features and you probably can guess those. There are also added features that contribute to smooth and faster sales cycles. The features are:

Configuration Features

Pricing Feature

Quote Feature

Added Features

These are just the key features, but as you use Salesforce CPQ you will discover more. Also, note that there are also new features that can be added in the future.

Benefits of Salesforce CPQ

Selling is not a job that can be executed without challenges. However, the solutions to some of these challenges lie in the benefits of salesforce CPQ. Here are some of the main benefits.

Helps Keep Your Eyes on the Money: Part of making sales involves tracking how much exactly is being sold, this will help in making forecasts. With CPQ, you can make accurate forecasts because everyone is using the same software so every sale is recorded and the sales figures are updated. You also make forecasts based on opportunities that can be seen.

Team Leaders have Better Control of the Team: While you do not have to ask each team member how far they have gone with a deal, you still have that information within the system so a team leader knows exactly where every member stands and what new changes have been made in terms of discounts, offers and deals closed.

Timely Reminders: Many times, sales personnel may forget to initiate contract renewals. With Salesforce CPQ contract management, however, a timely prompt is provided so that a contract can be renewed based on information from the old contract and quote.

Enhanced Productivity: If you are already using Salesforce, then you already enjoy better productivity. Adding the Salesforce CPQ process to the mix enhances it even more. Sales personnel do not need to run around searching for a document on discounts or trying to get authorization for a quote. Everything is available in the configuration with limits and approvals automated. Processes move much faster.

Minimal Errors: Part of the reason there is more productivity is because there is no need to worry that you might get things wrong. The right quotes are sent to the clients with their customized discounts. You do not need to call and apologize for sending the wrong quote because, with automation, you get it right almost 99% of the time.

Guarantees Compliance: Sometimes however much you stress the importance of certain pricing and configuration procedures, you will still have that one or two salespeople choosing to follow their gut instincts. This can be avoided with CPQ for salesforce. The system restricts the user to only the compliant options.

Salesforce CPQ Implementation Guide

Before you can enjoy the benefits of CPQ Salesforce, you need to get the implementation done. This is the part that requires a lot of work to enjoy the fruits later. But with the right procedure, you can have it set up with less hassle than you may think.

This section for the Salesforce CPQ implementation guide will take you through 6 steps, right from the planning to the final stage where you will analyze the performance of the new software. Let's get started.

First: Set Goals

It might seem easy to get the benefits and list those as your goals, however, it is better to consider the particular needs of your enterprise and the areas that you think need fixing with the help of CPQ Salesforce. Focus on your return on investment when setting up goals and make them measurable so that eventually you can use them as key performance indicators. Examples of these goals can include:

Second: Identify, Improve and Document Your QTC Process

There will always be variations in business sales processes and this will determine the client’s experience. This makes it important to analyze your QTC process and fix loopholes so that the CPQ implementation can be smooth. With a focus on the enterprise’s distinct needs, identify them, improve them, and then document what you recognize as the best process to generate and approve quotes. It is also advisable to design the complete workflow.

With a workflow in place, it is then important to collect all the information you can about your product. The data you collect should be in connection with the pricing, quotation, and configuration of your product. The information will help get the best from the Salesforce quoting tool.

It will be necessary that you coordinate with the sales team who have better knowledge about the client and the product. A subject matter expert will also prove useful for this stage. Together you can use information obtained to set pricing guidelines and bundle configuration. The information gathered and used to configure CPQ software Salesforce will act as a guide for the sales team to effectively offer the right products to the right people.

Third: Match CPQ Features with Your Goals

This software was designed for varied situations and so it has so many features. You may not be able to utilize all of them and you probably shouldn’t try to. Instead, identify your most important needs and goals. Go ahead to prioritize your goals from most important, down to least important.

Look at the detailed list of CPQ features and see which ones will help you achieve the goals you are setting out to meet. The features you set up can still be complemented later on according to the dynamic needs of your enterprise. So even if you only focus on advanced features, you can eventually set up more capabilities.

Fourth: Begin Integration and Information Update

After setting up a product catalog, you need to match this information with corresponding data from various sources. Choose the different sources of data you will use like CRM and other sources that can provide data on discounts, taxes, product combinations, and so on.

All the information needs to be up to date and accurate so that you can have error-free Salesforce quoting. The updating of information should be in real-time and across all sales platforms so that you have uniform data. This means you should also check for any flaws in the integration with other ERPs. Use a sandbox environment to check for bugs and have them fixed before you go live.

It is a good idea to have individuals charged with ensuring the accuracy of the data provided.

Fifth: Prepare Staff for Change

One of the reasons many great initiatives fail is because this step is either ignored or poorly implemented. You cannot just spring change onto them. it needs to be a gradual process with systematic initiatives to prepare their minds to use the new technology. It may even be necessary to have a CPQ Salesforce guide that teaches the staff how to use the technology. Many users may reject the best in class tools simply because they have failed to find their way around it. To execute this, you can follow these steps:

  1. Create an internal team to manage the change. These should be from the different departments within the organization and they should have a positive attitude towards the change so they can influence fellow employees.
  2. Identify how every team (not just sales) will have to interact with CPQ Salesforce and then tailor initiatives to get them prepared to accept the change. For example, finance may be responsible for setting prices and discount limits.
  3. Communicate the benefits of adopting new technology. Users need to be excited about how technology will improve their work. It should go beyond stating the pros CPQ Salesforce lists on their website, instead focus on how individuals will benefit, if someone has been complaining about slow approval procedures, reassure them this will change that immensely.
  4. Use visual training techniques. Do not just talk about how to use the tools, show them. Use video tutorials and then demonstrate live on the user’s computer so that they can remember the training.
  5. Finally, you need to make it mandatory that everyone gets on board and uses the new software. Of course, there will be a period for everyone to get used to it, but by a particular time, everyone should make the switch. You can prompt the switch by having highlights of CPQ features played in a short video every time a user logs into the system.

Sixth: Monitor and Improve Performance

You need to constantly find out what impact the Salesforce CPQ setup is having for the users as well as the clients. You could have surveys that collect feedback from both groups and you can also go back to your goals and see if you are meeting those goals. Sometimes there may be a need for adjustments that will improve performance. Do not be surprised if someone still needs to learn Salesforce CPQ processes. Sometimes people forget or think they have understood and it is not until the implementation that the need for more training is discovered.

Salesforce CPQ Subscription

If you are offering a service with subscription opportunities, then you will find this feature helpful. Salesforce CPQ subscription provides the start and end dates of subscriptions along with pricing detail. You can then automate the renewal process so that once the subscription expires, the client will receive notification along with the opportunity to renew the subscription. The salesperson is also notified and they can make a follow-up on time. You can find more information about this in the Salesforce CPQ help section.


There is no doubt that automation comes with a lot of benefits. Finding the right automation solution, however, can be a challenge. Before you choose to implement CPQ Salesforce, it is necessary to understand the needs of your organization. Evaluate the current performance of the sales team and consider if you can improve it by introducing this technology.

If you think there is room for improvement, identify those loopholes and compare them to the solutions CPQ provides. It will also be necessary to involve the users in this evaluation so they can confirm if it will improve their productivity. In most cases, the response should be positive. In the end, your organization should be happy with the benefits of adopting this software.

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Genesis Abel

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Genesis Abel


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