When does Excel beat CPQ software?

Kimmo Salmela · March 25, 2019 · 4 mins

The Configure Price Quote (CPQ) software market is certainly burgeoning. Gartner predicts it will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% through 2020. Meanwhile, 83% of sales use tools for the configuration price quote process already today, says Accenture. But what are the right tools for different companies?

For many smaller companies, those good old Excel sheets still make the only Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solution. Their resources for acquiring and maintaining dedicated software are often limited, so more complicated systems are out of the

And this applies as well to many bigger enterprises that are now considering migrating to specialized CPQ software. But is it worth their while, considering the work that goes into such project and the risks it entails?

For a fact is that now you can build a fully working CPQ on the Salesforce platform based on  Excel and our Documill Dynamo app. It does not make a difference how complex your products are or how big your company is. Read on to find out if that is a suitable solution for you too.

When doesn’t Excel alone really excel?

Before looking deeper into the solution, let’s examine the reasons why so many companies have so far abandoned Excel in favor of dedicated CPQ software. Usually, as a company grows bigger and its products more complex, requirements get tighter for functionalities in which Excel alone doesn’t really excel:

  • Process management: maintaining a collaboration process between multiple parties so that they are guided to give their contribution at different steps of the quote production.
  • Access control: limiting access to each part of the process and tools to just those who really contribute to it.
  • Recording the audit trail. CPQ solutions in general allow recording and clearly presenting every action and change during the quoting process, from registering the customer requirements to the final approval and delivery to the customer.
  • Integration and data exchange with other systems: CRM, ERP, databases and so forth.
  • Version control.

Why CPQ with Excel and Documill Dynamo?

The news is, our CPQ with Excel and Dynamo solution for Salesforce tackles – yes – all these shortcomings. And Excel does have its inherent advantages over dedicated CPQ software:

  • Designed for complex calculations. A lot of experience has gone from Microsoft in developing Excel based on real feedback from a great pool of professional users.
  • Ease of use. If you need to constantly update your business logic and calculations, Excel is hard to beat in making things smooth. No specialized expertise or writing of code is needed, unlike often with CPQ solutions.
  • Distributed maintenance. Each sheet can be maintained by the very team and individual best suited for the task.
  • Low training requirements. Most anybody with a suitable background for configuration and pricing work knows also how to use Excel. No additional expertise or training is required, unlike with dedicated CPQ software.
  • No costly, risky migration project. Obviously, if your company has used Excel before for quoting (and who hasn’t?), it may make sense to stick with it and avoid the often painful and time-consuming process. No need to recreate your business logic and processes within a CPQ solution.

How CPQ with Excel and Dynamo works

Our CPQ with Excel and Dynamo simply allows you to process your data in the Salesforce and let Excel work in the background. The users will never open or even see the spreadsheets at all (though admins do). Documill Dynamo will just send the data from Salesforce to them for calculations, whose results will then be returned to Salesforce.

Documill Dynamo plays a key role in the solution by enabling smooth integration between Salesforce and Excel. Excel can still freely run any formulas you have programmed in it.

To whom and when is the Excel-based CPQ suitable?

At the end of the day, who can benefit the most from to the CPQ with Excel and Dynamo solution?

We’d say that not so much small companies. For them, whatever Excel lacks is usually not much of a problem. It can do the job well enough on its own.

However, with bigger companies that have more complicated quoting processes, it’s different. Some will definitely benefit from choosing CPQ with Excel and Dynamo over specialized CPQ software. CPQ with Excel and Dynamo is well worth exploring for you if you:

  • use the Salesforce CRM.
  • find your staff constantly updating the business logic and calculations and/or
  • just want to avoid an expensive, time consuming, disruptive and risky migration project.

Learn more about CPQ with Excel and Dynamo

Did you get interested? Then just take a look at the details of the solution – or ask for a free demo.

Kimmo Salmela

Written by

Kimmo Salmela

Kimmo Salmela is a communications manager at Documill. Earlier on, he worked in several industry and solution marketing and communication positions at Nokia. Now Kimmo focuses on online collaboration technologies and their future prospects for businesses.

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