Leveraging SPM to enable Sales Force Retention Strategies

Recently one of the top concerns for sales leaders and executives has been the phenomenon of the great resignation. Between April-June 2021, a staggering 11.5 million American workers left their jobs. And according to Gallup polls, 48% of America’s working population are actively looking for new job opportunities. The sales department within organizations is no stranger to feeling this pinch proportional to these overall numbers and this is often the result of sales representatives losing trust in their organizations and feeling less valued. At this delicate time, how can you retain a loyal, motivated, and engaged sales force?  

The biggest piece of this puzzle is trust. Consistently inaccurate payouts, with little or no insight into the payout transaction details, will result in suspicion and bad blood between the employees and their leadership. Accuracy in compensation plan payout is critical as is providing easily accessible insights into their compensation details. In addition, creating a nurturing environment that offers support and guidance as and when needed can go a long way in creating a healthy employee culture aiding retention. 

This is where a good Sales Performance Management system can help create high value. A platform that automates compensation plan calculations with high accuracy develops trust where it matters. An intuitive user interface that provides consumable insights into payment transactions will eliminate the need for shadow accounting allowing more time for your sales representatives to do what they do best – sell. A well-designed and effective dashboard and reporting solution will allow your team to track their progress against their objectives fostering engagement and motivation. In turn, your sales leadership team will have insight into the progress of your team, so that they can identify where additional training and guidance may be needed, create, and execute actions to support their sales force, and track their improvement.  

SPM platforms have the potential to be excellent tools that enable organizations to reduce sales employee turnover. The key is to optimize the platform implementation to your team engagement business objectives. Your technology implementation partners should work with you to understand your business goals and implement a solution that helps you achieve them.  

 To learn more about how you can leverage an SPM tool to create a loyal, engaged, and motivated sales force, write to

SPM get most

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.




Managed Services: What’s the Right Fit?

Incentive Compensation Management (ICM) Solutions provide a powerful tool to improve the accuracy, timeliness, and transparency of incentive payments. However, in a fast-paced world with a constantly changing market landscape – organizations need to focus on their sales and compensation strategies instead of their administration. The logical solution is to invest in ICM Managed Services. Managed service is a solution where some or all our company’s ICM support needs are outsourced to an expert managed services partner. It’s a popular choice for growing businesses or businesses with complex ICM frameworks that become inefficient to support in-house. Managed services help to manage costs, improve scalability, provide expertise, and reduce risk. The challenge then quickly becomes determining which model of managed services is right for you based on your business needs. 

Does your ICM team need support during the crunch times such as annual planning or calendar close, that happen in a six to eight-week window? Instead of overburdening your administrators, consider an elastic workforce that can be utilized as support. This managed service support model is scalable to your needs and can be extended to provide year-round support, enabling your key staff to focus on higher priority tasks.  This scalable elastic workforce can be Technical (support with plan and other system updates) or Operational (support with administrative tasks). If your resource strategy is primarily focused on growing your business and does not want to incur the administrative burdens of developing an ICM team in-house, a more comprehensive support model that provides end-to-end ICM services from annual plan design to full-year incentive compensation administration may be right for you.  

Company size, bandwidth, or industry should not be barriers to reaping the benefits of an ICM solution. Based on your organization’s strategy and business needs, there is a bespoke managed services model that can provide the level of support. The key is to partner with an ICM services provider that can help you separate the signal from the noise and help identify the solution that is right for you.  

At Blue Horizon’s Group, we provide the exact opposite of the “one size fits all” approach to managed services. Our managed services packages are based on Seasonal, Year-Round, and Turnkey models. Each of them can be tailored to your specific needs. Whether it is enterprise-level support or just an extra pair of hands to get you over the busy weeks, we have the support you need.