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The Sales Automation Revolution

Sales automation, already on a steady upward trend before the pandemic, is continuing to power forward. Purpose-built technology, big data, and artificial intelligence systems are changing the way companies manage sales teams, and that includes the arena of sales compensation.

How is technology impacting Sales Performance Management (SPM) and how can data-driven compensation management help sales teams achieve their goals?

Compensation joins the revolution

According to the most recent Salesforce State of Sales Report, which surveyed 6000 sales professionals, the use of technology is increasing in almost every area of sales operations, from prospecting to sales process automation to mobile sales apps. 84% of sales ops professionals say digital transformation has accelerated since 2019.

Sales incentive compensation, the core of Sales Performance Management (SPM), is part of this drive to automate the sales function, with 58% of companies now using a compensation management tool, up from 48% in 2018.

The SPM market has been growing quickly and is now considered by Gartner to be a mainstream technology. Advanced analytic tools and the ability to take advantage of a company’s information assets to make better decisions are a big part of the increasing allure of SPM systems such as beqom.

A better way to do data

With the introduction of SPM solutions that leverage big data, companies now have access to tools that allow them to more effectively plan, manage, and forecast their business in real-time. Looking back 10-15 years, the typical VP of Sales had access to two data sets: market data, usually based on surveys, and empirical data, from their own field results.

The problem with surveys is that they are usually answered optimistically, based on what someone wanted to happen, not necessarily on what really happened in the business, so there is inherent human bias. Empirical data may be more factual but, in the past, limitations of technology meant that you might get data that is three to six months old and no longer actionable.

New insights for go-to-market strategies

Today, the big data capabilities built into modern SPM solutions give sales managers real-time access to aggregated data sets, providing timely insights into what is happening in the field and the ability to benchmark individuals against their peers, so that they can take action in time to make a difference.

SPM solutions provide a convenient store of information for analyzing sales effectiveness.They collect and present sales results alongside sales compensation data, which is a major component of the cost of sales. With access to fresh and relevant performance and cost data, sales management is able to:

  • Adapt quickly to change by being able to act on real-time data from the field and market.
  • Find and analyze variations in sales, commission cost, etc., by product, by region, or rep to rep.
  • Catalyze performance by posting sales results in real-time to show reps how they are performing vs. their peers.
  • Control costs by being able to analyze compensation effectiveness and adjust quotas, territories, and comp plans as needed.
  • Guide sales reps using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to craft a sales plan to meet targets.

Adapting to the new normal workplace

According to beqom’s 2021 Employee Expectations in Hiring report, more than four in five American job candidates (80%) now expect their prospective employer to provide the ability to work remotely multiple days a week. They also are looking for flexibility in the hours they work (82%).

Another Salesforce study, Digital Transformation Trends During COVID-19, found that post-pandemic 41% of companies are planning organizational change to focus on digital/remote capabilities. A cloud-based, mobile-enabled sales compensation platform can help companies support a remote salesforce and even remote administration of sales comp.

Your sales comp technology matters

According to the Salesforce State of Sales report, 85% of sales professionals agree that sales ops is increasingly strategic. “During a time of upheaval in which norms don’t apply, operational efficiency and data-driven decision-making take on special importance,” concludes the report.

An automated sales compensation platform, even without big data and AI capabilities, can transform your sales operations by reducing manual tasks, improving accuracy and compliance, and providing deeper insights for strategic decision-making. With advanced data and analytic capabilities, an SPM solution can give your organization a true competitive edge.

Could new compensation technology simplify your operations and accelerate your sales? Download our free guide, 8 Signs Your Sales Compensation System is Holding Your Business Back, to find out.

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