May Madness: A Recap of Four Conferences Focused on the Global SPM Community

June 06, 2013

I’m still catching my breath from a whirlwind tour of four conferences hosted by some of the top leaders in sales performance management (SPM). Each year, conference attendance increases dramatically, a clear sign these companies are generating serious momentum in the marketplace. Both vendors and customers are quickly evolving from ICM to SPM strategies, and every attendee I spoke with wanted more insight on achieving this transformation as painlessly as possible. Here are some of my main takeaways from each conference:

CallidusCloud Connections (C3)

This year’s C3 conference focused on improving sales performance by building a more effective sales team, enabling smarter sales and driving the right behavior with optimized incentive compensation administration and gamification.

To support these goals, Callidus announced a new Q3 product for quota and territory planning delivered through SaaS so it can be leveraged across platforms. This announcement was very well received because one of the biggest challenges of managing quota and territories is the lack of an effective model and management tool. What is even more exciting is to see this delivered as a cloud application. And, by integrating configure, price, quote (CPQ) capabilities in the TrueComp solution, Callidus will enable sales teams to sell smarter deals by building out a complete end-to-end SPM roadmap. I look forward to seeing it launch in Q3 this year.

Overall, Callidus is very focused on helping clients build out a complete SPM solution set, not just one piece of the puzzle. This approach really helped set the stage for the presentation by Trevor Dunham, OpenSymmetry’s director of business intelligence, which offered strategies for moving your organization from transactional to strategic business intelligence. It was extremely well attended by new and existing Callidus users.

Xactly CompCloud 2013

Xactly continues to prove that their 100 percent pure SaaS solution is easy and nimble enough to serve a vast and increasingly diversified customer base — from small to extremely large and complex organizations.

It’s not hard to understand the enthusiastic loyalty of Xactly’s customers: The company is continually optimizing its approach to meet the evolving needs of companies everywhere, all while maintaining the strength of its core competencies. This is key, because Xactly appears to be the first company to leverage ICM data within the SaaS platform to share empirical benchmarking and deliver real-time insight into how your company stacks up at the plan component level. I look forward to seeing how this evolves when it rolls out.

Xactly attendees clearly understand and are driving the need for more intelligence from their sales processes. The full attendance at my session, “Maximize the Benefits of Your SPM Strategy,” illustrated just how much the focus has shifted from a narrow view of incentive management to full-scale optimization across the end-to-end SPM system.

IBM Vision 2013

As the name suggests, IBM Vision is all about increasing visibility into business processes to drive results. The conference centered on analytics, and many keynotes were delivered by customers who outlined the impressive results they’ve achieved. Not only have they been able to achieve their sales performance goals using predictive analytics, they’ve used the results to place sales operations in the strategic center of their organizations. For anyone questioning the value of analytics, these testimonials provided clear evidence a strategic BI approach is the difference between delivering breakthrough results vs. just surviving.

As part of the roster of customer-focused presentations, OpenSymmetry held a joint breakout session with Huntington Bank. Our presentation explained how our multi-phase implementation of IBM Cognos (Varicent) helped the firm implement change management strategies, mitigate the risk of changes in the sales organization and plan for future compliance challenges. Not only did we have a full house at the presentation, there was a line of attendees eager for additional Q&A!

We also announced our partnership with Ironside, which clearly demonstrates our alignment with IBM’s vision. Together, OpenSymmetry and Ironside are helping customers to transform static transactional data into dynamic visualization reporting to achieve higher levels of performance and predictability, pinpoint new revenue generating opportunities and allow for faster problem solving.

At this conference, one thing became absolutely clear: If you’re not thinking about building a full SPM implementation, you need to be.

Anaplan Hub Conference

Although Anaplan is not known as a primary SPM vendor, they are delivering incredible budgeting and financial planning value to CFOs and CSOs. Just ask their customers, who are among the most satisfied companies we’ve ever seen. Anaplan is clearly doing something (or rather, a lot) right. Here are some of the secrets to Anaplan’s success:

  • Once models are live, there is a limited need for implementation consultants
  • Implementations are fast and user-friendly, helping users to quickly learn the system and become model gurus themselves
  • Anaplan helps analyze and optimize plan effectiveness with capabilities such as regression analysis and “real” quota planning

After hearing the compelling results Anaplan has delivered to their customers, I believe this will be a company to keep an eye on in the coming months.

Did you attend any of these conferences? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions in the comments below!




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