Employee being Evaluated

Looking Back at 2022: How SPM can Aid Your Review Process

At this point in the year, scrutinous companies review their sales performance against their targets and determine if any changes need to be made to their team if performance is lacking.  The challenge then becomes how do you perform these reviews? How do you identify areas of concern? These identified areas need to be properly understood first. What is causing these issues? How do you implement changes based on what you find? This half-year review can become a lengthy process and creates an unnecessary burden on administrators. One of the most efficient ways to review is by using a Sales Performance Management (SPM) solution.

To best review your business, you need a system that can effectively track the progress, successes, and shortcomings of your sales team.  You need to see the performance of your team against their sales targets, with tangible, visible, and measurable metrics that provide clarity on the areas that need improvement. An ideal system also must track your growth against company goals, allowing you to compare and see if you are on target with your growth plans. Once you have identified what needs to change, your system must allow you to quickly pivot to your new plan of action. It is also beneficial to insight into individual sales performance, allowing you to identify and reward your star performers and provide support for those who need the extra help.

An SPM solution can do all this and more. Your business will have these insights and be able to act upon them. You will know your sales team like the back of your hand, and all your processes will run smoother. Additionally, these reviews will take less time, allowing you to focus on other administrative tasks. To learn more about how SPM can help your track and assess your sales team performance, reach out to our experts.

Woman Depressed Over Inflation

How to Combat Inflation in the Sales Environment

Inflation is on the rise in the US, and we are all seeing the price of goods and services increase. During inflation, your costs are going up, and naturally, you will have to offset increased costs with increased price of your own products and services. This may negatively influence your customer base. At this time, it would be critical to retain and better compensate your sales reps in an inflated economy.  So how do you protect your bottom line? Some ideas that can work are as follows:

  1. Basing comp plans on margins versus revenue

In times of inflation, your sales reps may be forced to offer discounts in order to get the sale across the finish line. If you pay your salespeople on the margins, they will work harder to keep that margin and will drive investment in your business. Giving them this greater transparency into what your margins are will create greater trust for your organization.

2. Bonus structure and other incentives

Salespeople love recognition, competition, and being paid for performance. They engage with contests and awards, and it gets them invested in your company. In this volatile market, it is critical to invest in your people. Consider non-cash incentives, rewards, and recognition when adjusting your comp plans.

3. Utilizing an agile sales comp management system

Having a system ready from the start that is flexible for changes will allow you to pivot to protect your business needs in changing times. Legacy homegrown systems are rigid and require a lot of time and effort to implement change. Instead of being held hostage by your system in times of crisis, invest in a modern, flexible solution that can change with your needs.

Smart organizations use all the help they can get in being prepared to navigate uncertain times. They find strategies to pivot and adapt that not only help them survive but also thrive in such times. A sales performance management (SPM) system can provide a holistic and cohesive solution to develop and manage these strategies for change.

Crumped Blue Paper over Sketch of Lightbulb

Is your SPM solution helping you drive a successful sales organization? 

Business leaders know that improving top-line revenue is hard.  After all, business is competitive and you will need all the help you can get. There are many software platforms out there that ‘claim’ to help you manage your organization’s sales performance. But oftentimes they just end up being yet another administrative or business process management tool that misses the mark on enabling you to achieve your strategic business objectives.  

One of the key benefits of an effective Sales Performance Management (SPM) solution is providing data-driven insights that enable Sales Executives and Business Decision Makers to make informed decisions for their sales and compensation strategies. An SPM solution should add value to the decision-making process for any organization that has implemented one.  If it does not, it may not be the lack of capabilities in your system but key factors missing from its implementation.   

A productive system will allow business decision-makers to determine if the sales of the company are aligning with company goals. This may include exporting data from the system and into a Business Performance Management or Financial Performance Management system to see how it relates to the health and viability of the organization. It should also provide the data these business decision-makers need to understand and make decisions to ensure: 

  1. Compensation plans are attracting and retain quality sales resources.  

  1. Compensation plans are incenting company growth in a manner that is a value add to all parties, including the shareholders. 

  1. Compensation plans are aligned with the business goals. 

  1. Sales efforts are focused on areas where there is the greatest need.  

  1. Sales executives are focusing their time where it’s needed most:  product marketing, sales support, etc. 

Additionally, a good SPM solution should allow for the auditability and traceability of data, so that existing trends can be tracked from a historical perspective and new trends can be identified.  Just because a compensation plan worked 20 years ago, does not mean that it will appeal to or work within the current market.  Just because a compensation plan worked a quarter ago, does not mean it will work today.  Society changes based on cultural impacts, including things like the recent Covid-19 pandemic.  Priorities change in response to economic shifts.  Staying on top of decision-making data is critical to making sound business decisions.   

A successful system should also provide sales managers the ability to review sales resources’ progress and identify which resources may need additional training or guidance. Keep in mind the success of the sale is not always about the numbers, but about retaining your customers and the ability to train and retain key sales resources.  Executive attention into your sales resource’s progress matters.   

If you are not utilizing your system to its full potential, then you are missing a large piece of the value of this system.  What do you need to be able to utilize your system to start aiding in these key decision areas and even beyond?  When we consider the decisions that a sales organization is driven by, then we must consider the viability of the system and the organization.  It is critical to define what the Executive team and business decision-makers need to fully utilize a system. This goes beyond understanding only the compensation portion, and into the decision-making process.   

Often times new systems are implemented to recreate the current state of your business processes. This approach causes the loss of the true value and potential of what a new and better system could provide.  An out-of-the-box system will not meet every business requirement. Therefore, it is critical your implementation partners understand your goals, objectives, and most importantly your business. Your implementation partners should collaborate with you to optimize the solution within your business framework and processes to derive the best value from your flexible solution aligning it with your short-term and long-term company goals.  

The goal of any SPM system implementation is to not only provide compensation of sales resources, transparency of plans, and payout information but also to enable strategic decision-making. As a business decision-maker or sales executive, are you getting all you need from your Incentive Compensation Management system?  If not, maybe it is time to assess the gaps and take the next steps to close them.

By Susan Major, Senior Consultant, BHG.

Team Collaborating Together

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.