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How to Implement an SPM Solution While Minimizing Costs

With unpredictability in the global marketplace, limited staff, and restricted finances, more organizations recognize the benefits of a flexible, cost-effective Sales Performance Management (SPM) solution. See our previous post, “How to Make Data-Driven Sales Decisions in a Shifting Global Economy” 

Take advantage of decreased sales activity to focus on a strong rebound and long-term strategies for streamlining sales force administration. Smart SPM implementations can provide maximum benefits while minimizing costs through multiple strategies.

Minimizing SPM Costs Strategy 1: Phased Implementation

There are several ways to manage a major project on a budget. The first strategy is to implement the project in phases.

Discovery first

Before selecting a vendor or solution, use a discovery or blueprinting phase to demonstrate how the project meets your company’s goals. Take advantage of this transition time to allow stakeholders to get involved and investigate questions. By asking for input before starting, you’re more likely to have buy-in. This strategy can smooth the jagged edges of the “drop everything and help” environment that an intensive project can sometimes impose.

Break down the project for successful phasing

Every sales performance system can be broken down into smaller pieces based on similarities between comp plans and workflows, as well as logical aspects unique to a given SPM software. A strong blueprinting and discovery process allows the team to tailor a plan to maximize efficiencies in implementation. With a phased approach you can start small, implement a high-impact phase, learn, and iterate.

If one business group does the bulk of revenue for a company but has a distinct payment structure, it can be worked on in one stretch and released to the sales force. Remaining business groups with unique requirements can wait for a later phase. This approach maximizes the benefit the company receives from early phases. The project should be planned to leverage groundwork so that each phase can be implemented with little time required to get back up to speed.

Minimizing SPM Costs Strategy 2: Simplify

Simple solutions that are aligned with the rest of the payout structure reduce ongoing implementation, maintenance, and training costs. Last year, we ran an internal analysis “health check” and found that it’s common for 80% of the cost to be spent on 20% of the plan functionality. Eliminating overly complex requirements will maximize return on investment. SPM implementations offer several opportunities for simplification:

  • Eliminate legacy pain points and streamline the overall payout structure. Antiquated, cumbersome business processes waste time and budget. A new SPM implementation is an ideal opportunity to review existing configurations and eliminate legacy adaptations.
  • Optimize the strengths of your SPM platform. Each vendor’s SPM software has different strengths and weaknesses that a consultant can help navigate.
  • Identify complex plan logic. Complexities should be simplified or accomplished with manual adjustments to reduce implementation effort.
  • Eliminate exceptions. Plans or plan components that are only applicable to a small number of sales reps should be calculated outside of the system.

Minimizing SPM Costs Strategy 3: Reduce Transaction Volume

Many SPM platforms factor in transaction volume in pricing. Ensure that only transactions necessary to calculate compensation are included in your data set. You can also aggregate transactions to a summary level, while keeping necessary attributes for compensation calculations. After optimizing, you can estimate the minimum number of records required to calculate commissions to price lower transaction volume scenarios with your vendor.

Minimizing SPM Costs Strategy 4: Use Your In-house ETL Team

A large portion of any implementation is spent on extracting, transforming and loading (ETL) source data. If you have an in-house ETL team available, they can send data feeds in the exact format required so the solution team does not have to do any manipulation. Your solution partner can help identify the necessary data and data structure.

Minimizing SPM Costs Strategy 5: Build a Scalable, Maintainable SPM

The sales strategy of today is not the one of tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean the SPM solution can’t be built to last. When likely changes to pay plans are foreseen, the model can be designed and built to provide future flexibility, turning a potential months-long build and test phase into just another plan update at year end.

Properly designed and implemented models can provide significant future savings by reducing churn in training, maintenance, and adjustments to the system. Knowledge transfer between the team and builders allows maintenance to be transparent and simple.

Well-planned, Well-built SPM Solutions Have Multiple Payoffs

Combining these simple strategies has compounding benefits that provide long-term administration and maintenance savings. A well-designed SPM model and well-built, durable solution can reduce the workload of IT and Finance departments, while providing the sales force with maximum insight into the workflow. The result is a modern solution that will reap benefits for your organization for years to come.

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