Some say Salesforce won the lion's share of its market because it was the first to go to the cloud. But its real competitive advantage is that it reduces labor intensive drudge work, giving salespeople more time to pitch the right products to the right prospects at the right time.

That's not news, and it's hardly remarkable. But here's what is.

Late last year Salesforce acquired SteelBrick, which provides apps in the Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) space as well as for subscription billing. 

SteelBrick is now available in Salesforce’s Lightning platform, less than 90 days after its acquisition closed. And while that may be a record, what’s more relevant is what that will mean for customers.

Steelbrick's Configure, Price, Quote Options

"It will be transformational,"Forrester analyst John Bruno told CMSWire. While we were speaking to Bruno specifically about SteelBrick when he made the comment, he did note that his sentiment applied to a number of the latest generation of CPQ products as well.

What differentiates SteelBrick from other CPQ and quote-to-cash offerings — especially where Salesforce users are concerned — is that it's part of Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning. So it shares the same platform and the same data. 

"Our customers who are working with it are getting quotes in front of their customers 80 per cent faster," according to Adam Blitzer, Salesforce executive vice president and general manager of Sales Cloud.

"Speed matters," said SteelBrick General Manager Godard Abel, explaining that in a market where the buyer controls the sales cycle, customers expect accurate, beautiful, specifically targeted quotes to be delivered anywhere, at any time on any device, lest they keep shopping or buy from someone else.

For sales reps this means that there's no time to pour over price lists and product promotions, plug numbers into spreadsheets and stand before their bosses seeking sign-offs. And when legal approvals are needed, there's seldom time to reinvent the wheel. Contracts need to be customized on the fly and approved in real time.

Steelbrick Reveals 3 New Features

This morning at SteelBrick's Customer Success Summit in San Francisco, attendees learned that three new features are now available in SteelBrick as well:

Learning Opportunities

User-Defined Discount Schedules

Users can now see accurate discount schedules on the same screen where they are building price quotes. Not only does this eliminate the need to manually track fluctuating prices and discount schedules, but it also sets both the sales rep and the customer up to win by insuring that maximum discounts are applied and that customers get the best possible pricing option.

Terms and Conditions Editing

As of today these can be locked or unlocked, according to company guidelines -- and sales reps can make quick changes on deal-specific content without requiring extra internal review cycles.

Real-Time Price Rules in Configuration

Sales reps can now see a real-time display of any changes they make to product pricing when they're building product bundles. This saves time for sales reps and ensures that they are always seeing current product configurations and pricing, enabling them to easily build the best product bundle to fit a customer’s needs.

CPQ Solutions are Disruptive

Bruno told CMSWire that CPQ solutions are literally changing vendors' top lines. This is because they are also being used to guide the sale, prompting account executives to suggest complementary products that customers will actually need. 

The end result? Winning bigger deals and serving customers better at the same time.

Not only that, but SteelBrick-driven interfaces can also be delivered on self-service screens giving customers who don't need, or want, to interface with a salesperson the same benefits and delightful experiences.