Managing sales quotas, data on defined territories, crediting processes, incentive compensation models, and overall sales rep performance can be a demanding job, especially when using spreadsheets or homegrown solutions. An effective way of streamlining these tasks is to automate and unify your Sales Performance Management (SPM) processes and to give your sales personnel direct and real-time access on how they are performing against their goals.
Typically, a sales rep must wait for a manager or an accountant to calculate her monthly sales spreadsheet before she knows how she performed. With the use of SPM technology, your sales professionals know if they are on track to meet their goals and have time to make adjustments to improve goals that are not on track.
The need for SPM technology
A research study conducted by Aberdeen highlights the benefits of SPM technology. When compared to companies not using an SPM solution:
- SPM users improve their annual quota attainment at a 49 percent greater rate year-over-year.
- SPM users improve their profit margins at an 88 percent greater rate year-over-year.
Most organizations rarely hit their overall quota. However, using a best-in-class SPM software can help you get closer to your milestones, learn from missed goals and perform better the next time.
The value of transparency and accuracy of reports provided by SPM software cannot be underestimated. This is something that most large organizations realize while experiencing accuracy challenges with their compensation calculations.
Reports produced by spreadsheets or home-grown systems fail to deliver accurate payout information. This can lead to distrust between sales reps, managers, and comp administrators and also results in a substantial amount of time spent in manually correcting otherwise avoidable compensation issues. Selecting and implementing the right SPM technology can encourage more timely compensation reporting and help organizations win back the trust of its sales reps by allowing them to participate in the QA process - before checks are cut at month-end.
Benefits of SPM technology in channel management
Today, the role of sales personnel is far more complex than it was 20 years ago. One salesperson may be managing customers in multiple channels. For example, a rep selling automotive parts may be serving both OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) clients and distributors. Trying to manage the differing expectations of these channels inside a manually-maintained spreadsheet takes a great deal of time on the part of the sales professional. With a manual method, mistakes will be made, and stakeholders will often be disappointed.
In some industries, companies utilize partners, dealers, and distributors to directly augment their sales teams. In these cases, a unified SPM solution can reduce the burden of managing your channels by providing full transparency into sales results and accurate payment details for you and your augmented parties. Gaining access to real-time reports and incentive calculations reduces administrative costs, informs quota attainment and improves relationships with all field and channel resources alike.
A unified approach for improved efficiency and increased performance
The amount of time that a sales rep spends on tracking activities is time taken away from actively selling. For this reason, advanced analytics inside more advanced SPM solutions can prove to be very valuable. With advanced analytics, Sales teams can uncover hidden insights into customer trends and can see how the information varies across channels, for example: how OEM business may differ from their distributor-driven business.
A unified and total compensation approach to SPM can also make budgeting and forecasting far more efficient and accurate as well. In many organizations, it is the sales staff that is asked to forecast future sales for their territory. These forecasts are later consolidated by the Finance team from the bottom-up to create the top-line budget for the company.
Whether a budget is developed using a bottom-up approach like the one described here or top-down based on a past baseline and market or industry prediction reports, a unified SPM platform can undoubtedly speed the process of collaborating, reviewing and approving budgets. The full transparency of data between sales and finance personnel makes sales objectives and budgets clear to all stakeholders. This transparency aligns goals and increases the probability of meeting those goals.
Companies utilizing leading SPM platforms also benefit from simulation capabilities, which help sales reps determine how they can prioritize their pipeline management to maximize their compensation. Driven by advanced algorithms, simulation allows sales professionals to understand the priorities behind their incentive plan and take appropriate action.
One particular challenge with getting sales professionals to leverage the benefits of SPM software is that they spend most of their time out of the office. Therefore, it is of little use to have sophisticated tools inside SPM technology if the sales team can’t use these features on the road. beqom is available on mobile devices, keeping all sales personnel up to date with real-time access to their own sales data no matter where they may be.
SPM technology benefits sales personnel, the people that manage them and the leadership that runs the business. Organizations using beqom’s SPM software have successfully removed time-consuming and non-value-added activities for their sales reps. Regardless of the complexity of their client mix, beqom provides transparency of data to all stakeholders resulting in increased levels of performance and motivation from your sales reps.