Sales Performance Management (SPM) solutions have proven extremely valuable. A solid solution will reduce payment errors, cut processing times and significantly improve the efficiency of your sales operations.
Just that the road to a successful SPM implementation can be challenging. You must align multiple objectives and stakeholders from sales, HR and finance; address technical issues such as multiple data inputs and integrations between systems, and also pay close attention to project management, coaching and other behavioural issues that can significantly affect success or failure.
Here are 10 factors that will help you maximize your success in selecting and implementing an SPM system.
#1 Prioritize your requirements
- Streamline manual processing.
- Reduce overpayments.
- Incentivize your salesforce.
- Ease your payroll processing.
Prioritize these requirements and consider releasing the solution in phases, focusing on your must-have needs first and minimizing risk. For example, plan to demo multiple solutions multiple times, in order to guarantee the most complex requirements are met.
#2 Scope the implementation project accurately
A trusted partner can also help you determine the level of effort required from your internal teams during implementation, advising you on what is reasonable to expect. This will save you time and money in the long run.
#3 Ensure compensation plans can be easily changed
Depending on the solution selected, building new plans can be complicated and time-consuming, so it’s important you understand how this is done. A simplified interface is essential to making that possible, giving you the power to change comp plans easily. To complete the process most effectively, ensure that your subject matter experts (SME) are involved and comfortable with the SPM implementation.
#4 Consider total cost of ownership
Also, evaluate the cost of future compensation plan changes. Many companies plan for expenses related to managed services or consultants hired to apply complex changes each year, under strict timelines. Furthermore, as your solution evolves, you may want to expand and explore additional SPM capabilities and analytics of year-over-year data.
#5 Select a solution that will scale with your business
Speed and performance are also critical. Consider the complexity of sales crediting, quota assignments and large data volumes in sales incentive plans. Looking forward, make sure your system can scale and efficiently provide the increased analytics, modeling and reporting capabilities needed by compensation analysts, managers and sales reps. When evaluating any SPM system, conduct a scalability and performance test based on your estimated future requirements.
#6 Verify data quality prior to implementation
- Transactional data attributes map to your various compensation plans.
- Reference data is complete and consistent within your source system.
- Hierarchies are accurately reflected.
In addition, identify how often the source data changes or receives updates, and plan the frequency of your compensation plan feeds accordingly.
#7 Assign a strong internal project manager
Your internal PM should have good communication and interpersonal skills, in order to control timelines, manage resources, and keep the project on track. A good project manager will be strong enough to keep personnel on task and on schedule, and will also have a realistic view of what and when resources – internal, vendor and third party - are available. This will ensure the project is completed on time and on budget.
#8 Transform behavior using coaching
A built-in coaching model includes ongoing tools and assistance for scheduling coaching sessions with each sales rep, defining tasks, providing immediate feedback, and analyzing coaching results. An innovative SPM system can also meet coaching needs by providing real-time reports, charts and graphs.
#9 Leverage real-time metrics to motivate payees
Real-time quota or goal attainment reports help payees know where they stand at any given time, giving them a clear line of sight to their personal goals. Dashboard views and an array of standard out-of-the-box reports are also essential for providing clear direction for payees, as well as actionable management information. These standard reporting capabilities cut down on the follow-on costs of developing customized reports.
#10 Don’t skimp on training
Power users should have a good grasp of your sales compensation practices and processes before the initial training. These users should approach training as an opportunity to understand how the SPM product will function in your unique environment. This is crucial to a thorough user testing process, ensuring that the product will work the way you intended. After implementation, you should plan for ongoing user education as well. Notably, while general training can be helpful to learn standard practices, in-house training, in the users’ actual environment is the mark of successful SPM implementations.
To learn more about our approach and capabilities, view a demo of our Sales Performance Management solution.