SPM Response to COVID-19: One-Stop Resource Center

May 21, 2020

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a huge response from industry experts and thought leaders on how to adjust sales and sales compensation. However, the sheer amount of literature out there for sales and sales ops leaders may be overwhelming and cause analysis paralysis. Where do you even start?

This blog serves to be that starting point by categorizing webinars, white papers, articles, and other resources to lead you in the right direction to getting your top questions answered.

Resource Hub

The following are resource hubs by industry thought leaders and SPM technology vendors that serve as a one-stop shop for all of their articles, webinars, infographics, and events related to addressing the business challenges presented by COVID-19.

Xactly: Selling Amidst Disruption
A leading sales performance management platform vendor, Xactly has produced webinars, articles, and guides for empowering businesses to be adaptable during times of disruption.

SalesGlobe: COVID-19 Rapid Response for Sales Organizations
Sales effectiveness consulting group SaleGlobe has published resources specific to sales organizations for responding to COVID-19, including an ongoing roundtable series, white papers, and more.

The Future of Customer Engagement and Experience (by SAP): Coronavirus and Business
The Future of CEE provides weekly updates on the COVID-19 impact on business with categories including e-commerce, customer experience, sales leadership, employee morale, virtual events, and more.

The Alexander Group: Revenue Leadership During COVID-19
The Alexander Group provides consulting services for revenue-focused business challenges. Their resource hub is focused on revenue leadership, categorized by industries such as health insurance, manufacturing, life sciences, and more.

Gartner: COVID-19 Resource Center
Gartner’s COVID-19 resource center highlights business action plans for everything from managing remote employees to supply-chain planning for economic uncertainty.

Global Sales Operations Association (SOPSA): Market Disruption Resource Center
SOPSA has resources for sales planning and analysis, sales technology, selling from home, and more.

Adjusting Sales Comp Plans, Territories, and Quotas

The following resources address adjustments to sales compensation plans, sales territory mapping, and quota-setting in light of the changing economic landscape.

OpenSymmetry White Paper: Best Practices for Managing SPM Solutions During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Each of these five areas of best practices for designing, supporting, and executing changes for sales performance management solutions during COVID-19 include a checklist of questions to ask.

OpenSymmetry Blog: Making Changes to Your Sales Compensation Plan During COVID-19: When? How?
Sales compensation plan design expert Donya Rose of The Cygnal Group covers best practices for responding to COVID-19, such as adjusting for quotas that are now too high.

OpenSymmetry Webinar: COVID-19 Impacts on Sales Compensation
This joint webinar with Donya Rose of The Cygnal Group covers recommendations for challenges in sales compensation plan design due to COVID-19, such as unattainable quotas, excess sales capacity, income preservation for sellers, and sales that are way beyond expectations.

Varicent Blog: COVID-19 - The Importance of Evidence-Based Decision Making
Sales Performance Management vendor Varicent examines survey results from several firms observing the impact of COVID-19 on incentives and how to consider this in the approach of evidence-based decision making.

The Alexander Group Survey Results: Sales Compensation: COVID-19 – Save the Sales Force
The Alexander Group’s COVID-19 Impact on Sellers’ Pay 3-Day Update Survey reveals sales leaders are looking at a variety of pay replacement methods, including guarantees, quota changes and payout formula modifications. Learn more about this survey that featured 219 companies that provided their perspectives on how to treat the loss of sellers’ incentive pay.

The Alexander Group Blog: COVID-19: Should You Protect Sellers Pay?
Sales compensation expert David Cichelli answers the question: should salespeople’s pay take an incentive pay “hit” because of economic dislocation by COVID-19?

The Alexander Group Blog: COVID-19: Adjustments to Sales Quotas
This blog answers these questions: how do you keep sellers motivated and paid in a crisis? Should you adjust sales compensation or quotas? What is the best timing? What about crediting?

Joseph DiMisa (Korn Ferry) Article: A Sales Comp Response to COVID-19 
Global sales strategy and rewards advisory leader Joe DiMisa shares his response to sales compensation in times of crisis with his LinkedIn article – one of the first articles published on this topic during the COVID-19 crisis (March 10, 2020).

Xactly Webinar: When Disruption Demands Change
This webinar discusses incentive compensation plan design changes, both at a high level and in the details. Xactly Sr. Director of Strategic Services Justin Lane and VP Erik Charles discuss forecasting, using recoverable draws and guarantees, and more.

Xactly Webinar: When the World Changes and the Territories Have to Adjust
In this video, Xactly Vice President Solutions Evangelist, Erik W. Charles, and Solutions Consultant, Kaitlin Fantasia, demonstrate how easy it is to shift around sales territories and quickly rebalance them based on changing sales team staffing levels.

Xactly Blog: Sales Disruptors: Territory Edition
This blog answers the questions: How should territories be managed when there are backfilled positions and a freeze on hiring? How does historical data inform the territory changes you should be making in current times?

Xactly Webinar: Plan A through Z: Tactics to Manage through Disruption
Join Erik Charles, Xactly Vice President Solutions Evangelist, and Jeff Ray, Xactly Technical Customer Success Manager in this webinar where Erik challenges Jeff to build out two plans - one pre-COVID-19 and one post-COVID-19 and compare the impact of the business decisions. 

Willis Towers Watson Blog: Revisited: COVID-19’s Impact on Incentive Compensation Plans, Sales Compensation
Consulting firm Willis Towers Watson explores survey results measuring impacts of COVID-19 on sales incentive plans, including the most common types of impacts such as adjusting targets and delayed goal setting.

Shifting Business Strategies

Xactly Blog: 4 SPM Industry Analysts Weigh In on COVID-19
Forrester, Gartner, Enterprise Irregulars, and Ventana Research provide perspectives on the current state of business and how to move forward in terms of people and technology strategy. 

The Alexander Group Blog: Revenue Leadership Actions for Disruptive Times
The Alexander Group explores actions for revenue leaders to take in terms of strategy and planning, coverage and roles, performance management and enablement, and leadership during this market disruption.

Varicent White Paper: SPM Amidst Uncertainty Report
Users of sales performance management (SPM) software reported a clear advantage in the ability to pivot during times of uncertainty in the recent Varicent survey. Read more.

The Future of Customer Engagement and Experience (by SAP): 3 Things Businesses Should Focus on During and After COVID-19
Consider these three key things businesses should focus on today, to better navigate this moment and to stay on top of their customer’s needs.

Working from Home

Xactly Blog: How to Build a Work-from-Home Sales Team
Here are Xactly VP Erik Charles’ tips to build a work-from-home sales team effectively, including applications of activity-based incentives and tools to leverage to overcome WFH challenges.

Xactly Webinar: Supporting a Distributed and Remote Sales Team
In this 15 minute video, Xactly VP Erik Charles asks Gary Cottrell to show him how a company can make it easier for users to be led down the path to learning the key features of their tech stack when sales operations employees are scattered across multiple locations.

Strategies for Sales and Sales Ops Leaders

OpenSymmetry Blog: 5 Books Sales Ops Leaders Should be Reading While Shelter In Place 
Build your knowledge base with these five books recommended by sales comp and sales ops industry experts.

SalesGlobe Event: Rapid Response Rethink Sales Round Tables
Join SalesGlobe for a virtual executive round table to discuss your thoughts and hear from peers and industry leaders about leading sales organizations and continuing operations in a disrupted economy.

Gartner Report: Leading Sales Operations through the Coronavirus Pandemic
The global reach and rapid onset of the coronavirus pandemic changes the definition of normal for sales operations. Moving forward, sales ops leaders must adjust quickly to preserve their teams’ productivity and to anticipate the changing needs of their sales organizations.

Global Sales Operations Association (SOPSA) Blog: 4 Impact Areas to Mitigate COVID-19 Related Risks 
Gartner gives recommendations in this SOPSA blog on focusing on sales ops professionals, forecast uncertainty, sales analytics, and costs of sales.

Xactly Blog: Navigating Troubled Sales Waters
This blog answers these questions: Knowing things have changed for most, how can we identify and accurately profile our customers and their needs? How should we deploy our sales team to focus on what's valued by customers today? How do we ensure measures, goals, and compensation are aligned with this short-term shift in focus without disrupting longer-term operations?

Xactly Blog: Planning for Post-COVID-19 Recovery: Addressing Your Real Sales Challenge 
Mark Donnolo of SalesGlobe writes this guest post on what leading sales organizations are planning in order to keep their companies achieving strong results.

Harvard Business Review Blog: Lead Your Sales Team Through Uncertain Times
Scott Edinger of The Edinger Group outlines principles for facing the challenges of driving growth in difficult circumstances, based on his observations from the economic downturns of the 1980s as well as the 2001 recession.

Harvard Business Review Blog: 4 Things Sales Organizations Must Do to Adapt to the Crisis 
Faced with recent challenges, sales organizations need to refocus, retool, retrench, and, in most cases, to prepare for the eventual rebound.

The Future of Customer Engagement and Experience (by SAP) Blog: Preparing for a Q2 Unlike Any Other: How Sales Teams Can Cope
As business has come to a halt for many companies, how do salespeople still provide value and start conversations? Here’s some advice for the short term, as well as the long haul.

Industry Spotlight

The Alexander Group Blog: How Health Insurance Companies Survive the COVID Recession Part 1
The Alexander Group Blog: How Health Insurance Companies Survive the COVID Recession Part 2

Alexander Group draws on its experience helping carriers through multiple downturns to outline the crucial leadership imperatives that will allow leadership to create a Revenue Management Plan that realigns sales/support resources. Part 1 explores protecting and repositioning vital accounts and sales resources, as well as shifting sales activities. Part 2 explores adjusting sales compensation and quotas, shifting the customer success approach, and speeding governance and decision-making

The Alexander Group Blog: Manufacturing: Sales Comp Strategies for COVID-19 Disruption
Here are four strategies for manufacturing sales leaders to review their sales compensation programs and to consider potential adjustments as we enter what could be (even if temporary) a “new normal.”

The Alexander Group Blog: Healthcare Leadership Response to the COVID-19 Crisis
Key themes from Alexander Group’s healthcare leadership round tables include shifting focus and resources from product sales to customer engagement, making necessary compensation adjustments, and planning for reality beyond the crisis.

The Alexander Group Blog: 68% of Media Execs Consider Sales Comp Adjustments
This blog highlights four immediate actions Media Ad Sales leaders are taking in response to COVID-19, including reducing headcount and considering sales compensation changes.

The Alexander Group Blog: Life Sciences: Invest In Growth After Disruption – Part 1
The Alexander Group Blog: Life Sciences: Invest In Growth After Disruption – Part 2
When the pandemic ends, Life Sciences and Analytical Instruments commercial organizations need to be ready to serve their clients to get projects back on track. There are four steps that commercial leaders must take to emerge on top. Part 1 explores building an action plan for winning new business and retaining accounts, as well as focusing your sales team. Part 2 explores calibrating sales compensation and quotas, as well as maintaining remote work momentum.

Next steps

To discuss your strategies and next steps for sales and sales operations, join our round tables that will feature peers and industry leaders on emerging stronger in a post-COVID-19 world.

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