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How does Vendor Consolidation affect Sales Performance Management customers?

The sales performance management environment is currently undergoing an interesting transformation.  Buoyed by optimism presented in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant which has projected a 12% to 13% growth rate over the next five years, this shift in objectives has been quietly happening for some time now.  What once was a heavily segmented market is now almost the polar opposite.  In the past, there was a necessity for sales organizations to harness separate tools for individual needs. For example, territory management and territory planning required multiple solutions.  In today’s environment, that need to have multiple software vendors performing siloed objectives is being challenged daily.  Organizations seeking an edge in managing and motivating their sales force have never had so much choice.   This trend should continue as incumbents continue to invest in complementary SPM capabilities.  Choices lead to competition as software vendors jockey for position.  For customers, this is a wonderful outcome.  With the proliferation of choice, how does this affect an organization’s decision-making processes?

Consider these two scenarios:

Scenario One: Choosing synergies between platforms

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There are many different software solution providers available within the sales performance management space today.  Some platforms will offer great territory management capabilities while others will offer useful territory planning options.  This leads to organizations needing to leverage multiple solutions to meet all the needs involved with territory objectives.  Choosing synergies between platforms provides flexibility.  At the same time, it can also create complications.  Satisfying all stakeholders throughout this scenario can seem like a daunting task.  Executive leadership dictates a strategy that can lead to complications for IT departments.  Finance teams could come into conflict with human resources departments.   

For example, IT departments may experience difficulties as they need to find cost-effective solutions without losing sight of the overall business objectives.  This approach can hinge on whether a sales organization is able to find combability tools that help different applications interact smoothly with each other.  Does IT build a solution from scratch? Do they find a third-party tool? Either way, this decision will be impacted by cost-effectiveness and trying to work within the parameters of a yearly budget.  There is a tricky balancing act required for this approach that can yield tangible benefits if implemented strategically. 

Many organizations may choose to follow this route because their needs and business objectives are unique.  If they’re unable to find one product suite that delivers on everything that is crucial to sales success, then they must make an executive decision to pursue outside-the-box thinking. 

Scenario Two: Choosing Best-In-Breed

With increased overall SPM investment and development, organizations looking for a provider that satisfies without compromise don’t need to search too far or wide anymore.  With this expanded level of choice, perhaps the new dilemma is selecting a suitable vendor that reduces the level of risk traditionally involved with hitching your proverbial wagon to a one trick pony.

Here at Intangent, we’re strategically positioned to provide sales organizations with the most in-depth vendor selection assistance.  If you’re currently going through the multiple stages of vendor selection decision making and require some help, we’d love to talk! 

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By choosing to align your business’ sales objectives with a best-of-breed vendor, you can potentially eliminate some of the hardships more commonly involved with engaging multiple vendor solutions.  With some of the more established players, you will find that they have already created the necessary tools for integrating third party applications.  In theory, you also gain more access to a larger pool of support resources.  This potentially removes some complexity for your IT department while also providing easier implementation. 

The Innovation Arms Race: Diversify and Consolidate

Sales performance management software providers such as CallidusCloud, and IBM (to name a few) have long been industry stalwarts. They have successfully carved out their market share over that past two decades and continue to invest in the internal development of solutions.  They’re aware of the need for further innovation because it contributes to the overall strength and success of their automation suite. 

For example, CallidusCloud has established its position within sales performance management since 1996 and was recently acquired by SAP.  They have consistently invested and re-invested in their product offering either through internal development or external acquisitions (RevSym, Datahub).  These actions have contributed to their Lead to Money suite being recognized as a leading sales performance management solution.    This approach provides substantial benefits to organizations that rely on their software upgrades and solutions.  It also provides incentive to remain with the same provider as opposed to exploring alternatives.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, other software solution providers who are also hungry for market share have seized on the opportunity to introduce and develop robust solutions of their own.  Xactly and Anaplan provide unique yet similar capabilities tailored to specific niches within the markets that they exist in. 

Taking a closer look at Anaplan, they first entered the sales performance management industry back in 2006.  Over the past decade, they have provided quality quota and territory planning functions.  Many sales organizations are on the Anaplan platform for this reason.  Anaplan has three core offerings within the SPM environment: Sales Planning, Sales Incentives and Sales Insights.  More recently Anaplan has been focusing on incentive compensation management.  They are diversifying their capabilities and passing on these benefits to the customer with the main objective to secure a greater market share.

Xactly began its journey in 2005.  Like Anaplan, Xactly has three main products that target distinct levels of industries depending on the size of the organization.  They also focus heavily on customer service and have recently made inroads into territory planning with their acquisition of Alignstar.  In the past, territory planning was only available and applicable to enterprise clients.  Xactly has now made this solution available for small-to-mid sized sales organizations.   This continues the growing trend of vendors selecting to expand and integrate their product offerings in hopes of retaining loyalty and enticing potential customers.

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It’s clear that it’s an exciting time to be in the SPM market.  This competitive landscape has created the ideal conditions to encourage industry wide changes.  As potential customers, it’s important to follow a golden rule: always look out for #1.  Find the solution that works best for your sales organization because no one else will.  This will be a weighty decision that will shape the direction of your business and should be treated with the utmost importance.  It’s true that vendors are focusing their attention on delivering improved, holistic solutions.  However, your business objectives may lead you to invest in multiple vendors; there is no right or wrong answer here.  Remember, there is no one magic cure-all in SPM. 

Do the research and be exhaustive in your evaluation process to ensure that your organization is aligned with long-term success.  Intangent is uniquely positioned to assist you throughout your entire vendor selection process and we’re always free to discuss your needs!  Let’s Talk, schedule your free consultation here!

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