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Incentive Compensation Management

Intangent’s View: The 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Performance Management

In late March of this year, Gartner released its latest Magic Quadrant report on the Sales Performance Management software market.  This report is highly influential; customers in the SPM space hold the report in high regard and use it as a reference piece when evaluating Sales Performance Management software.

To help our audience better understand the report, we’ve put together a few points that should be considered when reviewing this year’s report.  We’ve also included some thoughts on our vendor partners’ performance in the report.

What do I need to know before reading the Sales Performance Management Magic Quadrant?

Readers familiar with Gartner’s Sales Performance Management Magic Quadrant should be aware of some changes in this year’s report.

The first significant change is with the analyst who researched and co-authored the report.  Melissa Hilbert joined Gartner last year and has taken over coverage of the Sales Performance Management market at Gartner.  Melissa has worked in SPM for over ten years, having held several roles with SPM software vendors.  She has considerable experience with many offerings in the Sales Performance Management product suite and has shared her expertise in her inaugural report.

The second change is with the vendor group and market definition.  The report has been slimmed down, with a more narrow definition of Sales Performance Management that no longer includes sales training, coaching, and appraisal solutions.  It includes the three core components of SPM (incentive compensation, territory management and quota management) along with near core capabilities such as territory and quota planning, objectives management, advanced analytics and gamification.  Two vendors were also removed from consideration in the report based on a change in inclusion criteria in that the vendor must have native incentive compensation management.  We believe this focused view of SPM is more in line with the direction of the market and is less confusing to customers.

If you are evaluating a Sales Performance Management solution this year, we recommend a thorough review of the report.  However, if you’re just looking to get a quick refresher on the market, here are a few things you should know:

1. This year’s Magic Quadrant, which is the centerpiece of the report, stands alone. Gartner’s definition of the Sales Performance Management market has changed, which makes comparisons with previous years meaningless.

2. When jumping into vendor reviews, keep in mind that all of the strengths and weaknesses are comparative. This means that if a vendor has a weakness in customer experience it doesn’t imply that the vendor offers an objectively bad customer experience.  It means they are underperforming only relative to other vendors in the space.

3. Readers should be aware that data collection for the report was closed in November 2016. Things change, so it’s best to confirm facts with vendors and third parties closer to the date of your own evaluation.

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What about Intangent’s Sales Performance Management partners?

We’re pleased to see that our partners performed very well in the report.  Here are some highlights for our vendor partners that we believe deserve emphasis:

Anaplan – This year, Anaplan has been placed in the “Leaders” quadrant for Sales Performance Management, and Gartner notes that Anaplan’s ability to align corporate strategy planning with execution as one reason for this. We think that Anaplan’s ability to integrate data and business processes across a single software platform will help Anaplan customers achieve a strong ROI with their investment in this platform.

CallidusCloud – A new partner to Intangent, but positioned as a “Leader” for four years straight, CallidusCloud continues to be a force in the SPM market. One area that Gartner has noted is the breadth of offerings that CallidusCloud has brought to market.  This is valuable to customers because they can deploy a broader SPM program that incorporates rich out-of-the-box functionality across many use cases.

IBM ICM / Varicent – Intangent’s longest-standing SPM partner was also placed in the “Leaders” quadrant this year. IBM’s strength is in its analytics roadmap, which includes integration with IBM’s Watson Analytics suite, and was one of the highlights of IBM’s product offering this year.  We think SPM customers should pay close attention to the analytics capabilities offered by vendors, as we are still in the infancy of solutions that marry Sales Performance Management data with analytical tools.

Obero SPM – Obero SPM gets a nod for being an up-and-comer, but not ready for full coverage in the Magic Quadrant report.  We’re excited about Obero’s prospects as a newer software vendor, and recommend that customers take a close look at Obero’s integrated SPM solution offerings as an area of strength.  Their SPM platform approach is helpful for customers looking to extend the operational needs of ICM with planning, forecasting, and analytical capabilities.

Xactly – Xactly was once-again named a “Leader” in this year’s Magic Quadrant report, partly due to providing a high-quality product and customer experience for its customer base. We see these strengths as a result of being an early pioneer in cloud software.  Xactly customers benefit from a mature cloud operation through better monitoring of customer needs, smooth product and feature deployment, and overall platform stability.

How should I use this report to help my Sales Performance Management software evaluation?

Our recommendation for businesses evaluating Sales Performance Management software is that they should include the Magic Quadrant report as a source for research.  Many data points can be lifted from the report which can be used to establish initial vendor candidates, develop RFI or RFQ questions, and set expectations around capabilities.

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How can I get a copy of the report?

The easiest way to get a copy of the report is to click on one of these vendor links and fill out the contact form:

 

 

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