High-value guided analytics templates for sales

Product Manager, IBM

IBM Watson Analytics can use analytics templates, or Expert Storybooks, but that’s only the beginning. Let’s discover the role that such templates can play in the context of sales.

Tracking the sales performance management maturity curve

Before diving into how analytics can be applied in sales, let’s set the context. In broad terms, sales performance management (SPM) involves designing, measuring and rewarding sales-related activities as a way of achieving business goals. A significant portion of SPM centers on designing and implementing incentive compensation programs.

As an enterprise undertakes SPM, its competency moves along a maturity curve (Figure 1) that begins with chaos, in the form of mistrust surrounding payments and program administration. The enterprise then begins to control and govern operations, establishing trust over time. As trusted data is gathered and processes are well understood and controlled, the next frontier, which brings the most added value, sees better-informed decision making. Here analytics plays an integral role.

Use cases for analytics in sales

In sales, analytics is applied in many various areas (Table 1). An industry practitioner might hope to achieve tremendous benefits by applying advanced analytic tools and techniques, and rightly so. Accordingly, IBM Watson Analytics makes such tools accessible to business users.

Creating starting points for analytics can offer significant value to business users. Accordingly, two expert storybooks pertaining to sales are part of the initial launch.

Driving performance through incentive compensation

Using SPIFFs as an incentive compensation mechanism can help drive performance in the short run. Such programs tend to be seasonal, or else to be associated with the achievement of short-term objectives. Using an expert storybook, courtesy of Deloitte (Figure 2), compare the sales uplift achieved through adoption of SPIFFs against their cost of administration to discover how SPIFFs can help companies boost their effectiveness, particularly in retail.

Balancing risk and reward

In the years since the onset of the global financial crisis, incentive compensation structures in the finance industry, and particularly in the lending business, have come under very heavy scrutiny. This storybook, courtesy of Intangent (Figure 3), examines the relationships between pay and performance in lending but also incorporates a third dimension—credit risk—in its analysis. In doing so, it provides a holistic view of incentives and risk taking, helping banks balance risk and reward in their compensation plans.

For more on how you can use guided analytics in sales, and to discover how IBM Watson Analytics can help you add value to your organization, register for a free trial of Watson Analytics today.

This post was coauthored by Fred Sass, Worldwide Marketing Executive, IBM Sales Performance Management.