How a brave, forward-thinking paper company implemented Salesforce CPQ

In a traditional industry with opaque and confusing pricing strategies, the ability to offer clients clear, differentiated prices helps Crown Van Gelder set itself apart. In addition to increased transparency, it offers greater control over margins and empowers the team to set appropriate prices.

A bold approach to challenges in costing and transparency

The paper industry has been around for centuries and has a very traditional approach to doing business. Cost-plus pricing and lump-sum pricing are still the norm, as it was for Crown Van Gelder for years. But while positive profit margins may seem satisfactory at first glance, they offer no insights into how profitable products should be in each respective sales region or business segment. In short, Crown Van Gelder had no real way of knowing whether the price they set was actually appropriate.

To illuminate relative profit margins and refocus their pricing strategies, they needed a solution that would allow them to determine current market prices and establish clear target margins for each sales region in response to local price levels.

In addition to this core challenge, they sought to eliminate the often confusing and complicated discount strategies that had sprung up over the years, while also ensuring that all client-facing team members had tools at their disposal that would allow them to establish prices and draft quotations quickly and clearly. By assisting Crown Van Gelder with the implementation of Salesforce CPQ, Accenture helped to increase transparency, empower sales and enable new pricing strategies.

Raising the bar in the paper industry to achieve better business results

Implementing Salesforce CPQ has helped Crown Van Gelder establish fully differentiated pricing for its products throughout its various business regions, achieving an industry first. Additionally, the project has led to the realization of significant business outcomes in related areas:

  • Fostering awareness regarding effective pricing strategies in all relevant levels of the organization and empowering team members to set correct prices;
  • Refocusing the sales vision on relative profit margins to better guide the company’s growth;
  • Increasing transparency toward clients by enabling component-based pricing decisions and eliminating confusion in discount policies;
  • Creating a strong, result-oriented collaborative foundation between the IT, Finance and Sales departments for upcoming projects;
  • Gaining comprehensive insights into the performance of price quotes in terms of relative target margins for each country in which Crown Van Gelder does business;
  • Establishing the foundation necessary to correlate Salesforce CPQ reports with ERP data in a future project and gain insight into the actual costs of production.

A unique leap forward deserves a tailored approach

After working with Accenture on the implementation of Salesforce CRM, Crown Van Gelder then asked us to help them implement and launch Salesforce CPQ. What we brought to the table was more than just technical expertise. By taking a carefully tailored leadership role, we inspired the team to make better decisions during every stage of the project.


Inspiring and supporting a strong shared vision

The project team consisted of specialists drawn from various departments. All members had years of experience in the paper industry and a longstanding professional history at Crown Van Gelder. While this provided a strong foundation of relevant expertise, it also posed a challenge. Implementing the Salesforce CPQ system and transitioning to relative margins and differentiated pricing was a significant departure from common industry practices. Moving forward meant abandoning the truths of the past. A fundamental shift in mindset was necessary.

A fundamental shift in mindset was necessary.

This was achieved by consistently emphasizing the vision for the project at every juncture. Driven by a strong shared vision, the team embraced new ways of thinking, took full ownership and developed coherent solutions for all obstacles that arose during the journey from concepting to launch.

Protecting our deadline by facilitating creative solutions

At the outset, the deadline for launch was set for January 1st, 2018. However, as the project progressed, it became clear that a full-fledged roll-out would not be feasible. Instead of moving the deadline back, which might well lead to endless delays, the team was offered an alternative: additional funds would be provided and the scope could be renegotiated, but the deadline would remain intact. This provided the project team with the means, mindset and motivation necessary to take ownership, develop alternative implementation scenarios and deliver a functional Salesforce CPQ roll-out on time for selected regions and product groups.

Guiding implementation with comprehensive design

While Agile development meshes perfectly with the technical implementation of Salesforce CPQ, the conceptual aspects of the project require a more design-oriented approach. To achieve success, it is imperative to understand the process and its impacts back-to-front and front-to-back. By analyzing the impact Salesforce CPQ would have on stock management, deliveries, order confirmations, invoicing and every other aspect of Crown Van Gelder’s business, we were able to draft a comprehensive blueprint that greatly facilitated and streamlined implementation.


Author: Accenture the Netherlands