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Before You Integrate Machine Learning into Your SPM, Read This

You no doubt have been hearing the rising buzz about big data and how technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning can be applied in the service of sales performance management. We’ve talked about the value of data-driven Sales Performance Management and how you can plan to take advantage of it. But are you ready for it? What does it take in terms of the underlying technology platform?

Here’s what you need to be prepared before diving in to machine learning in your SPM:

Be sure you have a robust platform

Since you are now getting into the realm of big data, you need to make sure you have an enterprise grade SPM platform with the capability to scale to handle massive data volumes and the ability to consume many disparate data sources and bring them into the platform for analysis. This requires not only cost-effective high-end scalability but another often overlooked requirement: totally flexible data consumption.

On demand scalability

Enterprise SPM solutions have always needed to be able to scale well to process large data volumes without sacrificing performance, though many have struggled with this. Data-driven SPM can increase scalability requirements by an order of magnitude, so it is more important than ever to have an ultra high performance platform.

Cloud computing has made it easier and more economical to provision the hardware and related resources needed to handle large volumes of data. The cloud can allocate resources as and when required to provide flexible access to the infrastructure needed. Most SPM solutions today provide a cloud option, though performance can vary, so it is wise to get validation that the solution you choose can handle your data volume with good performance at the desired frequencies.

Totally flexible data consumption

It has become a common lament in the world of software implementations that whenever software is the solution, data ends up being the problem. Many promising enterprise software solutions have failed to fully deliver on their promises because of difficulties with the availability or quality of data or with the ability of the software to use the data that exists.

When a system imports data, it needs both a place to put it and a way to integrate it with other sources. The problem in many cases is that the system ingesting the data doesn’t have classifications for all of the incoming information, or the data is not aligned in a way that allows for the aggregation and correlation required for analysis.

To have a data-driven sales performance management solution, the platform needs the ability to consume input from multiple data sources like sales transactions from the POS system, people data from the HRIS, leads and opportunities from the CRM, training course results from the LMS, campaign information from the marketing automation system, customer satisfaction statistics from customer support, customer billings from finance, product returns from the order management system, and so on.

Data-driven selling requires a completely flexible SPM platform that can consume data from any source. Therefore, the system needs a flexible data structure in which tables and fields can be added easily and multiple rollup hierarchies can be defined for aggregation in different ways. Be sure to consider this important capability when evaluating SPM solutions if you want to be able to leverage the power of the data in your ecosystem to drive sales performance.

Learn how data-driven SPM can impact your sales organization

For more information on how data can drive sales performance and increase revenue, and what it takes to get there, download our free eGuide:  The Data-Driven Approach to Sales Performance Management: New techniques that will drive revenue in 2019.

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