Information is vital to the growth and success of any sales organization. Luckily, businesses today generate an abundance of data based on a handful of functions including CRM. What makes the difference between the best and the rest is the ability to convert this influx into meaningful insights that help leaders drive better outcomes.
This is a cumbersome, tricky process that requires a lot of time and expertise. In large sales organizations, it falls under the sales operations umbrella — the place where the most relevant insights are distilled and spread across the organization. Sales Ops is responsible for the sales organization’s outcomes, which will ultimately be much better when CRM and SPM are aligned. But along the way, they have to solve many challenges. The one that gives the worst headaches is gathering data from disparate places and probing its accuracy.
CRM: when tomorrow never comes
One of the main data sources that enable sales operations to deliver meaningful insights is Customer Relationship Management (CRM), a “veteran” function that has been helping organizations to manage clients and sales data for many years. As the name suggests, CRM is used for customer relationships and offers a bird’s eye view of open leads and opportunities.
Though it provides valuable data, CRM by itself fails in its mission, recent research shows. “Too many companies blindly bulk up their CRM deployment with interesting bells and whistles, treating CRM adoption inappropriately as a lagging, rather than leading, indicator of sales effectiveness,” Aberdeen Group said.
To reap all possible benefits from their CRM, organizations first have to motivate their sales people to update the system regularly, not “tomorrow.” Most of them dislike doing so because they don’t see the immediate benefits. They view the system as a data management function that only keeps track of their activities without giving them any valuable insights into their work, performance in relation to their peers and – most importantly – their compensation. This eventually has a direct impact on their overall motivation and sales revenue.
From CRM to SPM: a bird’s eye view
Large organizations are elevating their CRM function by integrating it into Sales Performance Management (SPM), a function traditionally managed by sales operations. Along with other sales sources, integrating CRM data within the bigger, more important SPM function brings many benefits.
When customer data is linked to personal earnings, sales reps are motivated to update the system regularly. This connection also enables them to peak into their own performance and hone strategies to achieve more. In the end, sales operations should be able to turn all this data into meaningful insights for sales managers and other executives. This brings more value to sales operations and enables the entire organization to become more successful.
CRM under the SPM umbrella
Apart from just motivating sales people and feeding insights to the leadership, there are other positive outcomes from integrating CRM into the broader SPM function. Here are the areas where sales operations can reap additional benefits:
- More effective sales compensation plans
Sales Compensation is the key component for the success of any sales organization. It is the calculation engine that makes the SPM function superior to the CRM database and one of the reasons companies continue to invest heavily in this area.
To make sure the plan continues to work as time passes and business changes, sales organizations need to perform ongoing evaluations. Integrating CRM within SPM offers leaders more accurate data and help them analyze plan effectiveness. By providing better sales performance information, executives can make informed decisions, such as replacing or coaching poor performers and aligning compensation plans with strategy. To find out if your incentive compensation plan is working, take a look at this infographic.
- Better, more accurate modeling
From forecasting to workforce planning, the ability to predict current and future business scenarios is critical to all sales organizations. Modeling different sales compensation scenarios based on accurate CRM & SPM data helps sales operations to concentrate their sales people on the most fruitful opportunities and prevent risks.
- Effective territory management
Integrating CRM within the SPM function helps sales operations create better territory management plans. When salespeople are assigned responsibility for a specific set of accounts, customers and prospects receive adequate services. In the end, this leads to better customer satisfaction and a larger customer base.
- Enhanced quota management capabilities
Quota attainment fell from an average of 63% in 2013, to 58.1% in 2015, according to CSO Insights. One more reason for organizations to align CRM with their SPM function.
- Improved gamification strategies
A powerful SPM solution embeds the latest gamification technology to instill healthy competition and transparency across the organization. If the latest CRM data feeds the system regularly, sales reps get real-time visibility into the performance of their peers and become more motivated. According to recent research, gamification works particularly well with Generation Y employees, because it leverages their dynamic behavior.
- Valuable reports and dashboards
An integrated data management, reporting, and analytics platform speeds time-to-value by making it easier to access and review key sales data and metrics across the entire sales organization. Customized reports and dashboards allow sales operations, managers, and sales reps to make decisions based on real-time data rather than gut instinct.
By integrating CRM within the broader SPM function and placing sales operations as a key driver of this alignment, companies can multiply the benefits of their investments. They can also gain better insights into performance and improve the effectiveness of their sales compensation plans. When these two powerful functions come together under the sales ops umbrella, a traditional “data repository” turns into a dynamic, supportive solution, and sales operations are enabled to drive success.