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The CPQ battle: Salesforce CPQ vs. Conga (Apttus) CPQ

The CPQ battle: Salesforce CPQ vs. Conga (Apttus) CPQ

Published on: 13 Jul 2022 9 min read

In this article, we compare Salesforce CPQ to Conga (formerly Apttus) CPQ, two of the big players in the Quote-to-Cash world. We will walk you through their key features, strengths, and weaknesses.

Read on to learn how Conga (formerly Apttus) and Salesforce CPQ compare in terms of product features, product offering and pricing, convenience of use, capacity to expand the base offering, customer satisfaction, and product support.

The CPQ battle: Salesforce CPQ vs. Conga (Apttus) CPQ

What is CPQ?

CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) is a sales tool that allows businesses to generate quotes for orders quickly and precisely. CPQ applications frequently work in conjunction with CRM platforms, ERP programs, and other corporate technology, ensuring data integration and accuracy.

Quotes generated with CPQ software are automated and based on preprogrammed criteria, ensuring error-free pricing that accounts for quantities, discounts, customizations, optional product features, numerous revenue types, and incompatibilities.

Adopting the right CPQ solution results in higher sales revenue and increased profits. Some key benefits are listed below:

  • Improved accuracy and zero errors
  • Faster sales cycle
  • Shortened response times
  • Automated quoting process
  • Enhanced efficiency and productivity
  • Reduced learning needs
  • Enhanced brand image

When it comes to Quote-to-Cash software, Salesforce and Conga (formerly Apttus) CPQ are the two main rivals. Both are package-based solutions built on the Salesforce.com platform. However, you still need to select the best option that meets your requirements, and Scalefocus is here to help you choose!

Salesforce and Conga (formerly Apttus) CPQ are both package-based solutions built on the Salesforce.com platform.  

What are Conga (Apttus) and Salesforce CPQ?

Apttus were among the pioneers to offer a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solution, as well as a powerful, enterprise-level CLM tool. Apttus CPQ has been operating under the Conga name after Apttus and Conga merged in 2020. Conga CPQ facilitates and accelerates sales throughout the revenue lifecycle. It allows teams to configure pricing, discounts, carts, and more to build out complex proposals, contracts, renewals, and other critical business documents.

Salesforce CPQ, formerly known as SteelBrick CPQ, is another popular CPQ solution that has been gaining momentum and constantly evolving since its 2015 acquisition by Salesforce. Salesforce CPQ provides sales teams with easy-to-use software that is accessible from any device. Hosted on the Sales Cloud platform, it links directly to the CRM to allow making the best-informed sales decisions possible.

Product Features

Conga CPQ and Salesforce CPQ have similar features such as product and pricing configuration, various discounting options, quote creation, negotiation, and proposal document generation. The difference is in how granular or complex product and pricing configuration can be provided and how flexible and capable are Conga CPQ and Salesforce CPQ when it comes to capturing and adapting to each customer’s business specifics.

Conga CPQ focuses on medium and large enterprises. Conga offers complex product and pricing configuration features that are also very flexible in proposal document generation by covering different scenarios.

Salesforce CPQ targets the entire segment with small, medium, and big enterprises. According to a recent Gartner study, the core Salesforce CPQ product would not be rated so highly on its own. Its standard configurator and document generation, in particular, are not as reliable as some competitors’ solutions.

Pricing is another differentiator. According to the same study, the Salesforce CPQ base package is among the costly CPQ options. If partner ecosystem products are added to fulfill a company’s requirements, the solution becomes more expensive than its competitors. Getting and integrating software from several providers is also more complicated than purchasing everything from a single company.

Key Capabilities

Salesforce vs Conga CPQ

Below you can find some comparison aspects to consider while evaluating the efficiency of Conga (Apttus) vs Salesforce CPQ:

Customer Size

Conga (Apttus) CPQ focuses on larger enterprise solutions at the upper end of the market. Salesforce CPQ operates with big, midmarket, and small businesses.

Customer Support

Conga (Apttus) CPQ support resources are available via phone, online chat, video tutorials, and the partner community.

Salesforce CPQ can be reached by phone or ticket. They offer an extensive knowledge base and customer community to help users find solutions to their problems by themselves. Salesforce offers different levels of customer support. Standard support comes for free, while Premier and Signature plans can be requested at additional costs.

  • Standard Success: every license includes a two-day response time, salesforce customer support community, interactive webinars, events, and guided journeys.
  • Premier and Signature Success plans offer increased support for additional fees, with features like 24×7 Phone Support, Developer Support, expert coaching sessions, and more.

Product Offering

Both products have a strong market presence. In terms of features and configuration capabilities, they are similar. Conga (Apttus) has recently introduced Max-AI – an artificial intelligence tool that salespeople can use to build effective quotes based on instant comparisons to the company’s top reps.

Max-AI chats with the salespersons to give recommendations based on the quotes. Conga (Apttus) also provides the whole range of services required for your quote-to-cash process, including CPQ, Billing, e-commerce, and CLM (contract lifecycle management).

Salesforce also has an AI tool named Einstein. It makes recommendations for quote scoring and also offers guided selling. Other useful features include real-time forecasting right after the quote delivery.

Regarding product offerings, both Salesforce and Apttus provide excellent options for improving quote delivery.

Ease of Use

Unlike Conga (Apttus), Salesforce CPQ offers a free trial period which is a great advantage for customers who would like to test the product before making a final decision.

Apttus and Salesforce CPQ have both expanded their functionality and features to make the design user-friendly and easy to grasp. Delivering high-quality quotes to attract potential clients is straightforward with these platforms.

Customer Experience

The evaluation of customer experience and satisfaction is based on the Gartner reports on customer feedback for Conga (Apttus) and Salesforce CPQ.

Conga (formerly Apttus) CPQ users find the tool very flexible and highly customizable with outstanding capabilities. The document generation functionality is solid. It has reasonably seamless integration with Apttus CLM tools and external data sources.

On the other hand, product administration can be very challenging, and customizing requires good product understanding and some previous knowledge. Product performance and UI can also be improved.

Salesforce CPQ users usually like the mobile access support that allows them to work from anywhere. Another popular advantage is the seamless integration possibilities with other tools, friendly user interface, and increased sales productivity.

Customers might complain about the higher pricing and maintenance cost. The quality of training materials and product documentation can also be improved. Some customers find Salesforce CPQ too slow. It requires more effort and expertise for customizations and maintenance than expected.

Pros & Cons of Apttus CPQ and Salesforce CPQ

Pros and Cons of Conga (formerly Apttus) and Salesforce CPQPros and Cons of Conga (formerly Apttus) and Salesforce CPQ

Conga (Apttus) CPQ

Conga lost its Leader status in Gartner Magic Quadrant last year, partly due to the lack of product development momentum. However, its CPQ product has a wide range of capabilities that are suitable for most companies selling on the Salesforce platform.

Pros

1. Product selling: Conga CPQ supports selling product bundles and complex subscriptions. Its out-of-the-box support for subscription ramps is among the most accomplished on the market.

2. Large-scale customers: Conga CPQ is a proven solution at an enterprise scale with deployments of over 10,000 users.

3. Pricing capabilities: Conga CPQ’s pricing functionality is among the best in business and includes extensive support for list pricing, attribute-based pricing, promotions, coverage pricing, and price waterfall.

4. It comes with а community, partner portal, and product documentation for additional help.

Cons

1. Performance: Slow performance within the shopping cart product configuration and pricing calculation has been frequently reported. Conga introduced “Turbo Pricing” and “Turbo Configuration” engines to address this issue.

2. Mobile support: The Salesforce1 Mobile UI does not support the selling of configured products.

3. Customer support: Conga customer support is not efficient enough and end-users might face product support challenges.

Salesforce CPQ

Salesforce CPQ tops the Gartner Magic Quadrant charts due to the vendor’s market presence and extensive software partner ecosystem.

Pros

1. Ecosystem: Salesforce CPQ has an ecosystem of add-on software products from third-party vendors as well as a wide network of implementation partners.

2. Balanced product complexity: It is neither too basic nor too complex.

3. Mobile support: Mobile devices are supported by the Salesforce1 Mobile App.

Cons

1. Core product functionality: The core product alone has some limitations as there is a basis for improving its standard configurator and document generation.

2. Higher cost: The Salesforce core product is more expensive than its CPQ competitors. The solution price increases further if partner ecosystem products are added to meet a company’s requirements. Getting and integrating software from several providers is also more complicated than purchasing everything from a single company.

3. Product education: Salesforce CPQ is a complex system, make sure your team receives extensive product training because the tech documentation can sometimes be incomplete.

Conclusion

Both Salesforce and Conga CPQ are more than capable of accelerating the sales cycle and making the quote process more efficient.

Make sure you consider the complexity of your products and whether they require specific and multilevel configurations. How complicated are your pricing requirements? Would you need CLM, Billing, or other extensions to complement your CPQ process, and are they offered by the same vendor?

Scalefocus has vast experience with both Salesforce and Conga CPQ projects that have enabled many businesses to improve their sales processes.

Do not hesitate to contact us, our CPQ team can help you meet the challenges of today’s dynamic market and will be happy to hear from you!

Key Takeaways:

  • Both Conga (formerly Apttus) and Salesforce CPQ automate the quoting process to facilitate and accelerate sales throughout the revenue lifecycle.
  • Conga’s advantages include selling product bundles and complex subscriptions, exquisite pricing capabilities, and capacity to handle large-scale customers.
  • Salesforce’s strengths lie in its add-on software products ecosystem, balanced product complexity, and mobile device support.

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