Once known to its customers as SteelBrick, the introduction of Salesforce CPQ (Configure Price Quote, a part of Revenue Cloud) into the CRM market has been a revolutionary game-changer for businesses looking to automate their pricing and quoting processes. Salesforce CPQ is extraordinarily powerful, allowing businesses and Salesforce CPQ specialists to rapidly tailor its functionality to any business process and complex pricing setup. Salesforce CPQ can automate and streamline complex quoting to help your users quickly and accurately quote your customers and close a deal while addressing long-term customer management and upsell. However, like many acquired Salesforce products, Salesforce CPQ is a world of its own with some peculiarities unlike the rest of the Salesforce ecosystem. CPQ can come with some challenges that can make it unwieldy to manage for folks used to dealing with more traditional software release management, especially if you assume that maintaining and enhancing Salesforce CPQ is like other core Salesforce products.
Failing to recognize the level of expertise needed to manage Salesforce CPQ can lead to a landslide of bugs, errors, outages and costly consequences to the business. But no need to worry! With the proper tools, planning and execution, Panaya Foresight can help you get it right and understand how to best manage Salesforce CPQ and make every change, update or new feature spotless. In this blog, you will learn about some of the challenges in Salesforce CPQ development, alongside tips and tricks to get the best long-term performance out of Salesforce CPQ,
Why are Salesforce CPQ developments so complex?
Salesforce CPQ has relational data that impacts the metadata of the configuration, causing a lot of intricacy in the sequencing of testing and releasing components into production. This differs from the standard Sales and Service cloud functionality, and migrating relational data records is famously very difficult, time-consuming, and error-prone in any database environment, but especially so with Salesforce CPQ. It is so easy to make mistakes and cause downstream issues while preparing data. Beyond the usual record ID mismatch between environments or inconsistencies between development environments, complexity in related data models further compound the difficulty of a Salesforce release. To make matters even more complicated, you cannot use standard Salesforce change sets or other common Salesforce DevOps tools to migrate relational data or metadata, requiring third-party tools to mitigate the complexity and assist in moving changes from one environment to another. Metadata changes need to be deployed before you can migrate relational data, causing delays to deployment or breaking deployment schedules.
So… how do you simplify your Salesforce CPQ implementations?
The complexities of Salesforce CPQ can feel really daunting, but with some good planning, a release doesn’t have to be painful. The best thing you can do to setup your end users for success is to create a basic change management process. Communicating with other departments can be challenging, so a good change management process is key, and identifying your stakeholders and looping them in early can prevent a world of confusion down the road. Set up additional change plans, like how you plan to roll out a solution into a production environment and identify people you need to alert and involve in your deployment plan. It’s not fun to admit, but sometimes things go wrong, so having a plan for when things do not go as anticipated and knowing who to alert can help.
Sometimes finding things in Salesforce CPQ can be very complicated, so having a buffer, especially after deployment, can give you and your team time to address any outstanding issues. But the best prevention method for a healthy deployment is building a solid and comprehensive testing plan to ensure functionality is behaving as expected before anything ever makes it into production. Ensure quality by testing in advance and identifying scenarios so implementation is simpler. And don’t forget to document! Especially with the complexity of pricing rules, adding documentation assists with future changes.
Panaya Foresight for CPQ
Panaya Foresight is a leader in Change Intelligence and Smart Testing for Salesforce solutions and one of 12 success ISVs selected by Salesforce. Panaya Foresight provides full dependency mapping for your org metadata and is capable of doing so for all Salesforce metadata components. Panaya’s approach is to understand the current situation of the org, because this is critical to making the right change. Building additional stuff in a vacuum because you don’t understand the current landscape leads to waste, so comprehending the interdependencies between components alleviates development pain.
Because Salesforce CPQ is so complex and touches many of the core sales objects in Salesforce, you must carefully identify how a change can create unforeseen downstream impacts on your entire Salesforce Sales and Service Clouds alongside Salesforce CPQ. It is vital that you identify potential risks before you roll out any updates to your CPQ system. Using a tool like Panaya Foresight’s impact analysis will provide you with a full dependency map between all the CPQ-specific and any Salesforce components (both standard and custom). This way you will not have to go hunting for a needle in a haystack when analyzing performance or debugging unexpected behavior. Understanding how objects are connected and built is critical to a successful Salesforce CPQ implementation, and Panaya Foresight is a wonderful tool for digging into your configuration and debugging why the system isn’t operating as planned. For example, if your user is seeing a suspiciously high discount on their quote, Panaya ForeSight can unearth the cause of the discount nested in a Price Rule and condition, empowering users to quickly pivot and adjust their configuration.
Revenue managers want clarity and simplicity in their implementations and Salesforce CPQ changes, so being very clear about what to build and how to ensure it’s not impacting anything else will save you problems in the long run. Planning is critical and anyone who has dealt with Salesforce CPQ knows that bad planning can tank a deployment and even stop the Sales team from effectively selling, so knowing what to test and how extensively to test is essential to a successful deployment. Since you need both regression and progression testing during a Salesforce CPQ deployment, planning for which elements to test will assist you in producing a better product for your Sales and fulfillment teams and avoid errors that create manual interventions. Panaya Foresight can also help you assess which components have the most intricate dependencies, allowing you to target your testing and focus efforts on the highest areas of potential impact.
The Smart and easy way to manage CPQ tests
Panaya Foresight is known for its Smart Testing solutions and world-class insight into Salesforce downstream impacts, making planning for Salesforce releases and development much easier. Its test management capabilities are business process-centric, following the agile framework of development and creating an easily accessible requirement traceability. For enterprises with high compliance needs such as companies in the finance or medical sectors, Panaya’s test management functionalities support creating a clear sign-off from stakeholders on successful test paths. And while all Salesforce CPQ specialists pray for a clean bill of health on their testing, we all know bugs are bound to surface, and Panaya Foresight’s test management makes it easy to pinpoint defects, address them, and quickly retest them.
UAT can be a slog at times, as your end-user testers are often Sales or Support specialists focusing on helping your customers. They are usually not technical and may have difficulty identifying what they believe is a bug. But UAT and responding to test scenarios don’t have to be painful. Panaya Foresight’s accelerated testing capabilities mitigate the frustration in identifying what a user is experiencing by recording users navigating through test scenarios, allowing automatic documentation. Furthermore, Panaya Foresight focuses testing efforts on the highest risk areas to ensure efficient testing, providing CPQ specialists with the ability to scope tests based on change impact and pinpoint uncovered scenarios.
Panaya Foresight can help you successfully go through CPQ implementations and be ready to fix any issues that may occur. Book a Demo now and learn how.