Key Insights: The Role of CPQ in the Success of your Billing Implementation

CPQ is live. Billing is next. Now what?

That’s precisely the question we answered in our recent joint webinar with Salesforce, The Role of CPQ in the Success of your Billing Implementation.  In this post, we review the key takeaways from our webinar and explore some of the most common CPQ dependencies associated with a successful Billing implementation.

1. Avoiding CPQ Tech Debt

Billing implementation provides an ideal opportunity to assess the organization’s overall health, as well as review existing customizations and integrations.

“Extra fields, custom code, integrations and other customizations can put the system at or near object field limits or system processing thresholds,” says Danielle Adams, Director, Advisory Services, Navint. “It’s important to take inventory of your CPQ customizations in order to assess the impact on other systems, determine dependencies and identify what can be remediated in advance versus what can be done in parallel.”

Navint Chief Technology Officer Sean Joyce agrees: “If the organization only focuses on solving sales challenges without considering billing, they run the risk of ending up with tech debt that will either need to be remediated or will require a new implementation.”

To avoid this issue, organizations should consider the “big picture” when planning a CPQ or billing implementation.

“Determine what CPQ or billing system you plan to use and make sure to design with that in mind,” recommends Sean. “Make sure the sales models you want to use can be supported and that the downstream systems are properly aligned.”

2. Refining the Product Catalog

Preparing for billing presents organizations with an opportunity to revisit the catalog within the context of the future GTM strategy. This is the optimal point from which the business can address SKU proliferation and other issues that introduce inefficiency within the lifecycle.

“The system was designed to have only one instance of the product in the catalog regardless of how you tax, sell, finance or account for the product over the footprint,” says Mike Aaron, Senior Director of Product Management for Salesforce Revenue Cloud. “We recommend clients look at their catalog in three sectors: Sales, Billing and Provisioning. The Provisioning catalog should never be mimicked in the Sales catalog. You should never have a $0 product in your Sales catalog.”

“It’s important to remember that products are dimensional,” adds Danielle. “They represent dimensions of sell, serve and monetize. They play a role in the sales experience in terms of being able to configure and price in an easy, effective way, as well as how to update billing for renewals, changes and upgrades.”

3. Defining the GTM Strategy, Process & Owner

One of the most important questions the business could ask during the CPQ and Billing planning process is: Are you considering new revenue models?

“It’s so important to consider not just how products are sold but how they interact within the portfolio, as well as systems and processes,” says Danielle. “It can be easy to live in edge cases, but it’s more important to think about that ideal future state and how to future proof your design. Don’t think about the exceptions—create something that is flexible and scalable.”

When introducing new products, the Salesforce platform can be used to streamline the creation process.

“GTM often gets slowed down when you think about how you’re going to name the product, price it, bill it or recognize it,” explains Mike. “If you can use Salesforce and the configurable views, workflows and tasks to drive the product creation process and organize different people and different inputs, then you can automate that GTM process.”

4. Integrating the ERP

Integrating the ERP within the CRM or Billing system is another critical consideration. Our paper, Finance at the Forefront, explores this issue in detail and outlines the four main integration options:

  • Lead to order
  • Lead to invoice
  • Lead to payment
  • Lead to ledger

“Helping organizations determine the optimal handoff point is one of Navint’s specialties,” says Sean. “There’s no right answer. There’s no easy solution. But this hand off is crucially important to every business, especially those who want to leverage a variety of monetization models.”

5. Enterprise Planning & Deployment

Finally, as with any transformation program, success depends not just on design and implementation, but on the organization’s ability to embrace change. A critical part of every CPQ & Billing program is ensuring alignment across the organization, as well as a change management plan.

“Thinking about how you want to phase customer migration is one of the most important components of the transformation plan,” notes Danielle. “Big bang is never a good idea from a risk perspective. So phasing the migration in order to iterate, adapt and react to changes along the way is a huge influencer of success.”

Are you ready to transform your CPQ and Billing platforms and practices? Reach out to our team of cross-functional lead-to-revenue experts to help your organization create a cohesive and connected transformation plan.
View the full webinar here: 


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