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Leverage Technology to Get Your Sales Force in Pole Position for 2016

The end of the year typically marks the development and rollout of sales compensation plan changes. As you reflect on your organization’s performance and develop your compensation strategy for the new year, it’s also a great time to evaluate the business processes and systems that support sales compensation. Will they put your sales force in pole position next year? Or push them to the rear of the pack?

Sales Force Pole Position 2016

 

Now is the time to consider all the potential vulnerabilities in sales compensation management and figure out how to minimize them. Supporting technology is one area not to overlook.

The drawbacks of an inadequate technology platform for sales comp include poor territory coverage, low visibility into performance, and even errors in sales comp calculations. Does your current solution enable greater performance, or does it hold you back?

As you can see in this Aberdeen graphic, best-in-class companies achieve considerably better results by leveraging their software solutions.

aberdeen

Source: Aberdeen Group, October 2014

Here are five positive business outcomes that a few technology upgrades will help you achieve:

1. Give sales reps insights into their performance and enable them to reach goals. A strong sales compensation solution should provide real-time dashboards and reporting to your sales force, giving them quick performance insights and bringing reps closer to their goals. By giving your team access to this valuable information, you increase the level of their engagement and help them do their jobs better.

2. Reassess and optimize territory coverage regularly to stay ahead of evolving conditions. Although territory planning involves multiple parameters and sometimes may seem an exhausting activity, it is worth the effort. A sales compensation plan will not perform well unless you optimize territory coverage. Make sure your sales planning solution includes geographic intelligence so you can calibrate skill distribution, tenure, turnover and territory sizing.

3. Reduce administrative burden and increase selling time. Don’t let your sales reps slide into the abyss of redundant tasks and shadow accounting, instead of pursuing new customers. Automate key, recurring sales processes to take the place of manual, one-off activities. Automated workflows for processes like adjusting goals, resolving compensation disputes, and generating individual performance reports, will save sales reps and sales operations staff countless hours.

4. Roll out comp changes quickly. The field will not be very productive in the new year if they are still waiting on the new comp plan. If your processes are not agile and aligned, it impacts your ability to model comp plans, adjust goals, or distribute goals to the field. Consolidating processes onto a common platform will allow you to roll out changes to sales comp strategy more efficiently. This will help your salespeople adapt faster and focus on executing the strategy right away.

5. Give your sales ops team more time to strategize. Don’t forget about your sales operations team! Substandard technology that still requires a bevy of manual processes can lead to a narrow, operational focus. Enable your sales operations team to spend more time on strategy in the new year via process transformation and automation. The sales force will feel the benefits as their sales ops support team tackles forward-looking, strategic items.

Technology enablers help position your  sales force for success. Don’t hesitate to use them, but don’t ignore the importance of the processes behind technology. If you want to ensure best-in-class sales operations, use technology as part of a mix, along with an attractive compensation plan, timely communication, and a culture of long-term employee engagement.

Ben Thoren

Director of Strategic Engagement

Ben has 8 years of experience in partnering with clients to improve operational efficiency and sales effectiveness via sales operations process transformation.

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