Budgeting, Planning & Forecasting

- 5 min read

Driving Effective Sales Performance Management with Data

The constant pressure on sales teams to deliver results is nothing new, but the approach that different sales organizations take to achieving targets varies greatly. Proactivity in the sales process can make the difference between poor and outstanding results. Still, sales professionals in many organizations do not have the tools required to provide the detailed insights they need to achieve it with ease.

Driving effectiveness in the sales department requires a sales incentive management system and accurate, timely data for sales reps to identify the right course of action at the right time. Using a world-leading electronics company example, we explore how a Sales Performance Management (SPM) solution can achieve this.

Data challenges within sales departments

Think about the amount of data a business may hold on any one customer and where it might be stored:

  • CRM system: Containing contact details, interactions with the customer, won orders, and current opportunities, to name a few.
  • Customer Service platform: Monitoring aftersales delivery of services.
  • An ERP system: Holding details of past or current orders and the assets a customer can access.
  • support system: Holding details of customer support tickets or current support status.

This list is not exhaustive but highlights the number of potential sources of valuable information for furthering the sales process. From a sales representative’s perspective, finding all this information presents a time-consuming challenge in itself, never mind comparing the different factors to identify the current position of the customer and the chance of them purchasing something new.

It is likely that several ad-hoc spreadsheets also come into play as reps try to monitor their pipeline and keep track of where their customers and prospects are at, requiring regular manual updates, which create further time delays.

Multiply the time spent by each rep by the total size of the sales team, and the inefficiencies start to show – not ideal when you consider that the team’s primary function is to sell more as quickly as possible.

What is sales performance management?

Gartner defines SPM as “a suite of operational and analytical functions that automate and unite back-office operational sales processes.” By bringing information together and automating time-consuming processes, SPM solutions make it easier for sales teams to gain clarity over the entire sales process. They can focus more on selling with managers gaining complete visibility of how sales teams perform across all business entities.

In an ideal world, all relevant customer data must be brought together for SPM to be at its most effective, achieved with a unified analysis, simulation, and planning solution.

What are the benefits of a sales performance management solution?

To explore the benefits of SPM, let’s look at the example of a European-based electronics giant. The company has utilized the Board Decision-Making Platform as a unified solution to consolidate customer data from its 25 operating entities, including 4.6 million customer records, 5 million sales activities, 750,000 open sales opportunities, and over 9 million service activities.

Due to past acquisitions, the company previously had several approaches to the sales process in different countries, and the above data was held in multiple systems and locations, making it difficult to get the complete picture to drive sales performance.

Now, through the use of Board as a standardized SPM solution, the business has:

  • Realized a 360-degree view of every customer with complete information from all data sources, making it easy for sales reps and managers to understand the profile of each customer without any manual work
  • Given each sales rep visibility of their pipeline and the ability to evaluate it in detail through a set of key KPIs, highlighting top opportunities to help drive them forward
  • Optimized the sales process to enable easy comparison of sales performance and targets, help sales reps identify which customers to visit, and suggest additional activities to undertake to achieve assigned objectives
  • Provided a user-friendly, consumable salesperson report, supported by weekly one-to-one meetings with management, showing key KPIs around opportunity creation, wins, and pipeline, helping salespeople to more proactively and efficiently manage their activities
  • Increased the accuracy of sales forecasts by enabling the comparison of historic sales insights and forecasts to be compared with actual results in real-time, driving continuous improvement
  • Identified customers who need more attention based on a combination of KPIs and feedback analysis from the last six months of customer visits.

These factors combine to transform the entire sales process, bringing together front and back-office data to drive sales performance.

The benefits don’t stop there. Sales performance management solutions also make it possible to allocate sales goals across different territories, channels, sales reps, and product lines in a top-down or bottom-up approach. The link between all data sources enables this allocation to be carried out while considering both historical performances and predicted forecasts, providing complete visibility at every stage.

Improving sales performance: The bottom line

Every organization has access to a wealth of information on its customer and prospect accounts, but it is often difficult to access without considerable manual effort. By implementing an SPM  approach, leadership teams can instantly empower themselves and their sales teams to access information. This, in turn, drives transparency across customer accounts at every stage of the sales pipeline and improves the efficiency of sales forecasting and reporting activities business-wide.

To learn more about the benefits of SPM  solutions and to understand why Board was ranked #1, download the report now.

One reply

  1. Mary says:

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!

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Learn more about SPM in this Dresner report

Better understand the features and company-wide benefits offered by a Sales Performance Management solution and learn why Board was ranked #1