How BlackBerry & Traction on Demand brought together disparate sales processes, teams and partners with a unified CPQ implementation across a complex and growing organization
Today’s BlackBerry is a software company with a standard of security for managing the network of mobile and wearable devices, desktops and laptops, and other endpoints within enterprises. In addition to developing and providing applications, the BlackBerry Secure platform enables enterprises and independent developers to create applications for smartphones, medical devices, connected cars, consumer appliances, industrial machinery, among others.
With the unification of multiple organizations under the BlackBerry banner in the past two years came a need to amalgamate the sales team (and channel partners) from multiple organizations that operated with different processes than BlackBerry and consolidate them into one Salesforce instance. To unify the teams, processes and their partners onto one system, BlackBerry turned to Salesforce CPQ (at that time, a newly acquired part of the Salesforce platform).
Implementing Salesforce CPQ and CPQ for Partners was secondary phase in a larger Salesforce transformation project already underway. To ensure the overall project timelines were not extended, Traction was asked to configure CPQ for direct selling in four months (across all products and sales methodologies) and three months to stand up a CPQ enabled Partner Community.
BlackBerry’s existing quoting process required an overhaul. With a complex, partner-centric sales and contracting model, coupled with an expansive product and service offering, BlackBerry was pushing the boundaries of standard Salesforce functionality and needed a stronger quote configuration solution. Expansion further complicated the matter, as BlackBerry’s acquisition of Good Technology required a shared configuration, pricing, and quoting platform that supported both partner and direct sales of an increased suite of SaaS products and professional services.
Each organization’s product catalog needed to be reconciled into a common structure with Salesforce as product master. Established (but complex and often cumbersome) approval processes, widely adopted as standard procedures in the organization, needed to be redesigned and implemented as a more efficient, automated feature of the quoting cycle. Products were often being replicated to cater to circumstances surrounding the sale, not the Product itself.
Standard attributes and criteria were not being used to define and classify products, and in addition, a growing catalog increased the need for accurate product classification. They also lacked a cohesive contract/subscription management platform. Unconsolidated contract data was spread across various systems and databases, making it difficult for sales and support staff to effectively mine customer history or focus on potential renewal, cross/up-selling opportunities before and during their sales cycle.
Quote output documents were being shared via various formats and channels, with little branding or content alignment. Further to this, resellers and distributors, working off catalogs and price lists, could prepare inaccurate quotes, creating potential for lost revenue, manual approvals, and financial reconciliation effort.
Traction implemented Salesforce CPQ and CPQ for Communities platform, which met the complex product configuration and selling methodologies’ requirements needed to unify BlackBerry’s and Good Technology’s sales processes. Best practices in sales and product management were implemented, leveraging CPQ to improve their processes.
Traction also merged two product catalogues resulting in a huge reduction from approximately 3,000 to 600 products across all of the unified companies while reducing dependency on multiple Price Books. Transforming complex approval requirements into the CPQ advanced approvals framework provided BlackBerry with an automated, simplified process to make it appropriate for both product catalogues. Traction also implemented custom Lightning components and Apex to enhance the user experience. This enforced data integrity, a smoother use workflow, more security controls, automated sharing, and an overall improved experience for sales reps.
CPQ was implemented for BlackBerry Partners to ensure that BlackBerry direct sales, as well as partner sales, leveraged the same data, pricing models, and configuration rules, to ensure minimal discrepancies during reconciliation of sales and financial data. Traction configured CPQ functionality, including price rules, discount schedules, guided selling, MDQ, custom templates, custom calculator, and security plugins.
BlackBerry was able to seamlessly transition to the new process as Traction leveraged out of the box native features of Salesforce CPQ to deliver against BlackBerry’s complex quoting requirements without heavily customizing code or overwhelming the sales teams. High user adoption has been reported across two unified but distinct teams.
This project presented an opportunity for BlackBerry to clean up both sets of data and systems, start fresh, and promote stewardship of internal processes within two competing companies which operated on different processes. The CPQ implementation allows BlackBerry to move forward with one unified sales team and workflow, with a single succinct product catalogue in addition to well defined processes.
Direct and channel sales organizations are experiencing better consistency. Leveraging the same consistent quote tools and CPQ experience, with aligned processes with access to the same product catalogue, channel sales can effectively sell with the same level of confidence and knowledge as the internal direct sales team. With stronger governance and consistency around product/SKU management and the quoting process, there are no longer thousands of unnecessary custom SKUs spread across price books and disparate catalogs, and a far more enabled team and approach towards product and pricing management and governance.
BlackBerry is getting better customer insight too. With all relevant data now consolidated in CPQ, all BlackBerry sales reps can now see a 360-degree view of the customer and their entire sales cycle history, interactions, and projected purchases. Working with Traction, BlackBerry developed the contract/subscription workbench for partners to have better visibility into renewals pipeline and delivered a more efficient renewals process with custom build/quote functionality.
“We found that this project was not just about CPQ and the technology. It’s really about building a solution that provides you with a better overall process. Where we found a lot of value is in the contract and subscription management and automation of renewals; many organizations are trying to drive subscription business and a solution like this allows us (and them) to focus on growing the subscription base, rather than just sustaining current customers.” – Rob Nusink, Director of Business Systems, BlackBerry