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Selecting the right sales performance management solution

Financial Services Specialist, IBM

Facts are like logical razors: They allow us to cut through the jargon, buzzwords and marketingspeak that often dominate today’s business conversations. And here’s a fact of which we are all aware: Every business—from a corner store to a global corporation—depends on sales. However, here are two facts that you might not know:

  • In 2014, inefficient sales incentive and compensation plans cost 5 to 10 percent of the average company’s total sales.
  • Enterprise sales performance management (SPM) solutions save sales representatives an average of one extra work day per month that they would otherwise have spent handling compensation issues.

http://www.ibmbigdatahub.com/sites/default/files/salesperformancemanagement_blog.jpgTaking advantage of SPM solutions

Sales Performance Management for Dummies, the source of the foregoing facts, introduces readers to the complex field of sales performance management. Sharing its insights clearly and without jargon, this ebook reveals not only the business costs of inefficient sales compensation and incentive plans, but also the significant benefits offered by today’s advanced SPM solutions. As an IBM white paper has found, organizations that deploy these solutions have received a variety of benefits, among them the following:

  • Reducing errors by more than 90 percent
  • Reducing processing times by more than 40 percent
  • Reducing IT and administrative staffing by more than 50 percent

Although the business benefits of SPM are clear, identifying a solution that meets the particular needs of a specific business can be challenging. According to a survey of business leaders, increased business complexity is a primary point of concern when choosing an SPM solution:

An overwhelming majority of survey respondents (86 percent) think that business has become more complex in the past three years, with many describing their businesses as “chaotic.” This increasing complexity is often driven by the reality that organizations produce more products, sell in more market segments, through more channels and with more complex workflow processes.

Choosing the right SPM solution

In this context, Sales Performance Management for Dummies thus offers readers a notable added value: It provides key criteria that can help you choose the right SPM solution for your business. The ebook lays out 10 key criteria for use in selecting an SPM solution, presenting clear, factual guidelines to help decision makers sift through myriad vendors, solution offerings and stakeholder requirements. These guidelines include considerations such as the following:

  • Performance
    Considering the large data volumes and complexity of sales crediting, quota assignments and measures in sales incentive plans, select an SPM solution that emphasizes speed and performance.
  • Usability
    Because an intuitive user interface is absolutely essential, require prospective SPM vendors to run a proof-of-concept demo. Encourage different users from across your organization to use the demo and comment on it.
  • Cloud versus on-premise
    Whether to use a cloud solution or an on-premise solution depends on a business’s unique requirements—but never forget that your business’s requirements may change. If you can, choose an SPM solution whose cloud and  on-premise implementations offer similar features, thus setting yourself up for a seamless transition should a change become necessary.
     
  • Analytics
    Because analytics is critical to business success today, your SPM solution should include not only features such as reports, dashboards and scorecards, but also planning, budgeting and forecasting capabilities—as well as predictive analytics.
     
  • Integration
    To keep implementation costs down, choose an SPM solution that is data-agnostic and that can integrate with existing CRM, ERP, HR and payroll systems.

Discover more criteria that can help you choose the right SPM solution for your business.