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2 Major Reasons to Invest in Future-state Modeling

When it comes to including future-state modeling in a Sales Performance Management (SPM) solution, some businesses choose to opt out during the implementation process. The causes for this are varied, but mainly the business chooses to simply focus on traditional reporting rather than these benefits that allow them to look ahead. Those who make this choice are missing out of an important function that would allow their business to achieve their goals more effectively and accurately. Future-state modeling works with an SPM system to predict future outcomes related to compensation plans and incentives. Here are 2 reasons why future state modeling is a benefit for any sales business.

  1. What-if Modeling

What-if modeling involves creating scenarios for different compensation plans across different product lines or business units. You see the impact plan changes will have in the future and can factor in influences such as economic downturns and supply chain issues. This process is much faster and more accurate than trying to manually calculate using spreadsheets. This automated process is efficient and accurate, which is necessary when looking ahead, as it gives you time back to act on your predictions.  

2. Sales Target Assessment

Sales target assessment gives power to your sales team. It allows your team to predict how much they stand to make on specific opportunities, what sales they need to make to reach their targets, and know how much commission they will earn for closing certain deals.  Reps will know how to reach their targets, reduce time and risk due to the process being automated for them. It allows them to focus entirely on selling rather than calculating what they stand to make themselves.

Future planning naturally takes time and effort. If you are planning on making changes to your quotas, commissions, territories, or other metrics that define incentive comp, then you will have to bring pages of data to calculate the impact. If you are considering this capability, then you must have your data present. It must be complete, and accurate, or future-state modeling will be unable to accurately make predictions for you.  If you are already ready to make use of this valuable capability to get the most ROI, you need to talk to experts so they can help you avoid issues and implement smoothly. You need a partner who has seen this all before, and can guide you through the process

To learn more about future-state modeling, SPM, and preparing your business for tomorrow, contact us.

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3 Goals for Your Dashboards and Reports

While your Sales Performance Management (SPM) system is calculating and monitoring the performance of your employees, it provides you with Dashboards and Reports to show that performance. With them, you can track employee progress, and see areas that need improvement as well as areas of success. But how can you build out these dashboards and reports to be the most effective for your organization’s needs? There are three objectives to shoot for when designing your dashboards and reports, each will help bring clarity to your business and efficacy to your sales team.

  1. Providing Actionable and Relevant Insights

Don’t build your dashboards and reports to simply track everything. Instead, home in on the areas of your business that concern or excite you. If you are looking at everything that is happening all at once, the information you are looking for may get lost in the white noise. Instead, focus on what is relevant to your business. Identify your goals for your sales team, and track that which shows growth and areas that need improvement. Ensure that the insights provided are actionable, that something can be done about them when found

Before you design your dashboards and reports, you must first ask yourself what it is you are hoping to see. Ask the questions that you need answers for. If your dashboards and reports are giving you data that is irrelevant to the future of your company, or data that cannot be effectively acted upon, then you need to re-design them.

2. Are Intuitive and Visually Appealing

Your team is going to use these dashboards and reports every day, so it is integral that you design with user experience in mind. It is best to adhere to the “5-second rule,” which is, that it should take 5 seconds to understand the visual you are looking at. Ensure that they are intuitive and easy to read so that your insights can be more easily gleaned from them.

You can design your dashboards and reports to tell a story and also reflect company branding. These dashboards and reports are the stories of your employees’ progress towards goals and they should reflect that

3. Provide Transparency for Your Team

Just as you should receive accurate and actionable insights into your employee progress, so should they. By having access to their own progress, they will be better able to improve. They should also provide accurate information on sales incentives and payments for your team. It is important that your salespeople know what they are working towards.

By doing this, you foster greater trust in your organization. Your team will know what they need to do to grow, and they are clear on incentives and offers for them. Clarity is the best policy with sales teams, and with this clarity they will worry less about their current standing or the status of their comp plans, and do more of what they do best, sell.

SPM solutions already bring efficiency, acuity, and transparency to your sales organization, but with dashboards and reports you can bring these aspects to greater heights. Ensuring that your dashboards and reports provide you with pertinent information, are easy to read and understand, and provide greater transparency into your organization, will lead to a more effective sales team.

To learn more about how to design your dashboards and reports to bring out the best in your SPM system, reach out to us.

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4 Major Considerations for Driving SPM Requirements

The requirements development stage of implementation is the stage where a business defines what they need their new Sales Performance Management (SPM) system to do. Requirements not only define what the new system will be but also your business will be supported by the technology in the future moving forward. It is essentially creating a blueprint for your implementation team to follow as they build, configure, or install your new system.  There are 4 key considerations that should be kept in mind for this critical stage.

  1. Clearly defined end goals

There are two main directions to take your business when discussing requirements which are ‘lift and shift’ or ‘future state implementation’. Both directions help structure the direction of your requirements.

 ‘Lift and shift’ is simply put, doing your current system but better. Regardless of how your system is currently running, if there are processes you want to keep, your system can be upgraded or enhanced while adhering to current business processes.

If you are looking for an entirely new system based on the future state of the company, there is another suite of questions that must be asked. What changes are coming down the company pipeline? What new frameworks will be required? These goals must be defined in no uncertain terms, so your implementation can provide you a system that meets your end business goals.

2. A robust and field-tested requirements development process.

It is extremely important to have a comprehensive and proven process for developing requirements. This must include upfront planning and analysis. There should be standardized processes for documenting, reviewing, refining, and verification of the requirements. This standardized approach ensures the requirements team is on track for the quality and time required at this stage.

3. Availability of all critical information and data.

Your implementation needs to comprehensively understand your current compensation business area. What processes are manual? Which are off the books? Which sets of users interact with the system? How do they use it? Make this information readily available to them to help you define the future system. Ensure you have accurate, up-to-date, and complete compensation plan data the new system can support your specific business needs.

4. Stakeholder engagement through the entire process.

The people who are using the system have an in-depth understanding of what is needed from the new system. They understand what currently works best, what needs improvement, and the gaps that exist. It is critical to have subject matter experts and your main system stakeholders engaged at every step of the requirements defining process. As a result, the new system would be more effective in meeting your key business objectives. Additionally, it will be more easily adopted by your sales and incentive compensation management team.

                To learn more about implementations and how to prepare for the requirements stage, reach out and speak to our industry experts.

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Implementation: How to Prepare

After making the important step of deciding to implement an Incentive Compensation Management (ICM) system, what comes next? How best can you prepare your business, and what do you need to know to transition smoothly? There are three key areas that are focused on during an implementation, each with its own objectives.

Data

Your compensation data is the first step in preparing an ICM system. All the transactional data you have across spreadsheets, files, and the minds of your employees must be transferred to the new system. This first step often sees many hiccups, as data is altered off the books or in processes, and administrators may miss key data points. To ensure your data is correct before implementation, ensure that you speak to your employees and have a comprehensive understanding of how your data works.

Requirements

What will your system require? How will it help you achieve your business objectives? What expectations do your employees have of the system? Answer these questions to determine what your system will really need to accomplish. Know your teams activities and processes, and defining your requirements becomes simple. Also, how will your business change 5 years from now? Requirements should also consider the future state of your company. While written plans encompass the how to pay, it often misses the process that the team goes through.  Don’t just rely on written documentation, talk to your team and understand what they really do. 

Testing

The final stage is where it all comes together. Here you will test your system to see if it is returning on the requirements you set in the previous step. User experience testing is the best form of this, as the employees who will use the system most often will spend time with it, getting to know how it works and how it will help them. It is best to test in a realistic environment.. Instead of using parallel testing as UAT, use a controlled set of data and expectations to see how your employees engage with the system, and how it can increase their productivity. Parallel testing serves it purpose, but can make actual UAT testing to cumbersome to manage. 

An ICM implementation may seem daunting, but with the help of an expert consulting organization like the Blue Horizons Group, it becomes much more manageable. With our years of ICM experience, we can easily guide you through these three steps and help you see tangible results with your team.

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Flexibility: A Critical Component in SPM Solutions

It often feels as though new technology will be difficult to integrate into our daily lives. With our work, this is doubly so. Cost, deployment time, and ongoing management of technology solutions may seem to be annoying pitfalls that may keep you away from integrating new systems, but in the vein of SPM solutions, this is rarely the case. Flexibility, here meaning a capacity to change, is a core tenet of many SPM solutions and even more so for their vendors. SPM is not some difficult software to manage, it is designed to save time for all business stakeholders, and the leaders in this space are tailor-made to fit any environment.

Any given business has its own unique demands, which may be caused by its industry, its workers, its territory and quota needs, regulatory oversight as well as any number of other factors. SPM solutions which seek to enter this market must be able to meet each of these demands in order to function. The very best SPM software not only takes this requirement into account but actively caters to it. The best deployment is often rapid, flexible, and able to adapt to a host of issues. Often when a SPM solution with a large amount of flexibility is deployed, customers found the system is able to accommodate their changing business needs, simply continuing on with a product that was just right for them. The software they chose was able to keep up with whatever demand they had because it was deployed with those constraints in mind. This is one of the major strengths of a top SPM solution, the ability to aid sales teams with whatever they need and help them reach their specific goals without hindrance.

When considering the possibility of whether SPM will aid your business or not, look no further than its ability to change. There are very few situations in which SPM cannot find proper function in a sales environment, and few issues that cannot be addressed by it. SPM solutions are by their nature flexible, and they must be, in order to help manage sales in any number of businesses or teams.