In the first of the two recent blog posts we’ve published about SPM, we made the case for implementation. In the other post, we focused on aligning people and processes for SPM. Of course, increasing company revenue is any sales leader’s ultimate goal.
Aberdeen’s findings show that SPM users do just this, year over year, at a rate of 9.51 percent. To be fair, non-users increase revenue annually by 9.02 percent. The difference, though, is that SPM users grow revenue in a way that also grows profit margins. That is, SPM users increase profit margins by 88 percent more (year over year) than non-users. They keep a greater portion of that top-line revenue growth.
This is the kind of nitty-gritty efficiency that SPM users should look for: small upticks in key areas that, taken together, bring big value to the organization. By managing the many details of sales operations through one system, SPM technology gives sales leaders granular control over sales performance.
To get the most out of SPM, sales leaders must also align expectations and objectives accordingly. It’s neither sufficient nor sensible to seek the status quo, for example, when mechanisms are in place for continuous, steady improvement. In deploying SPM, sales leaders should expect to strengthen sales performance piece by piece: learning what works, cutting out what doesn’t, and recycling insights so that improvements can be made the next time around.
To help set expectations accordingly, we’ve detailed six areas of sales performance in which SPM users have a significant advantage.
Improved Attainment of Quota
SPM users show a 49% year-over-year improvement in quota attainment as compared to non-users. Most organizations rarely hit their overall quota, but SPM users learn from their misses, address the factors that resulted in sellers coming up short, and perform better the next time around.
Higher Data Quality/Accuracy
As noted in a previous post, sorting out data challenges for an effective deployment of SPM technology is critical. Fortunately, users enjoy the fruits of this data labor after an SPM implementation is completed. Year over year, the quality and accuracy of data improve by an average of 60% over that of non-SPM users.
Improved Customer Retention Rate
Customers more effectively won are more effectively won back. They’re loyal. Through sales process improvements, SPM users average a 115 percent greater increase in customer retention rates as compared to non-users. Retention produces dividends; the more customers that are retained, the fewer new customers needed to meet or exceed sales goals. This eases the selling burden on reps.
Sales Employee Retention
But it’s not only the customer-retention rate that increases with SPM implementation. Organizations that rely on SPM increase their employee-retention rate by 3.92 percent, year-over-year. Conversely, non-users increase sales employee turnover at a 1.11 percent rate. Though few things fully run the gamut of serving strategic ends and providing tactical value, the benefits of SPM do trickle down to sales reps and make sellers more inclined to stay with an organization. SPM can identify the specific offers that produce the greatest upticks in rep performance, thus incentivizing managers to offer reps more competitive compensation and rewards based on their achievements. Nowhere is SPM’s benefit to reps more evident than in this correlation. Instead of prodding sales reps with sticks like commission cuts if X number of calls aren’t made, reps can be rewarded with bonuses, higher commissions, or even simple company-wide recognition.
Shortened Sales Cycles
Managing the twisted, three-way dance between time, money and effort sums up the life of most sales professionals. By shortening sales cycles, though, more time to close more money – with the same or even less effort – opens up. The noted uptick in profitability for SPM users may, in fact, partially stem from their ability to increase efficiency in the sales cycle. SPM users shorten the length of their sales cycles, year over year, at a rate of 2.46 percent, while non-users increase the length of theirs at a rate of .1%.
Lower Customer Acquisition Costs
Above and beyond the profitability advantages, SPM users decrease customer acquisition costs by 2.09 percent year over year, while non-users increase costs by .45 percent. In other words, businesses using SPM grow in overall sales efficiency year over year while reducing costs. Those without the technology increase costs and decrease efficiency.
Overall, sales leaders who implement SPM should expect to see measurable improvements. Going for a special offsite sales team retreat, or bolstering sales culture with mantras, might make a sales team feel better. Winning more net-new accounts might make sales performance seem better. But because facts drive the decisions that SPM-users make, sales will perform better. It is a systematic step away from guess-and-check, gut-feel sales management. And a step toward a scientific understanding of how to get the most out of a sales team year after year while delivering more value to the business year over year.
Aberdeen Research – Best-in-Class Approaches to SPM
Best-in-class players not only automate incentive compensation, territory and quota management, but also embrace emerging trends and technologies.