Selecting the Right SPM Solution the First Time

Perhaps a byproduct of pandemic-isolation decision-making, but we’ve noticed quite a surge in companies who have discovered the Sales Performance Management (SPM) solution they deployed, or are still deploying, does not meet their needs, or has insurmountable flaws that make the tool unsuitable for them. 

To be realistic, every SPM solution has its shortcomings.  The key is to figure out which solution’s shortcomings you’re most able to live with. 

One of the biggest challenges buyers face is that the solutions all look very capable (both the mature solutions and the many startups), so buyers inadvertently take a mindset that neglects important functional and technological nuances in favor of a flashy user interface or amiable sales rep.  For example, necessary crediting or data handling requirements may be overlooked in the excitement around a point-and-click interface, enhanced reports or potential future-functionality espoused by the vendor. 

As a case in point, in a recent roundtable with 20+ participants, approximately 40% of the audience stated that they were processing all, or at least some of, their comp plans outside of their SPM solution, and then feeding values into the system for reporting only!  Many cited that the solution they had deployed was unable to handle nuances of the plan/crediting rules, or it was too much effort/cost to configure the new plans in their SPM solution. 

With this unsettling trend in mind, I submit 3 keys to help ensure you select the right SPM solution, the first time: 

  1. Go beyond your “table stakes” requirements (e.g., basic calculations and reporting) and really consider the nuances of your crediting rules, plan metrics, payout rules and inbound data.
  2. Focus on detailed demos and less on RFPs – the point here is that RFP responses generally include a “yes” to every requirement with convoluted explanations that ignore solution shortcomings, but a well-crafted demo script should reveal true capabilities.
  3. You can save your reputation and your company’s revenues by having an expert in your corner.

The Benefits of an SPM Expert on Your Side: 

  • They know market trends and are up to date on SPM vendor strengths and weaknesses; and more importantly, they know where the vendors are investing in their solution and where they have an Achilles heel(s). 
  • They know how to get the demo you need to see, not the vendor showcase demo.  
  • They bring pricing and negotiation insights that will generally more than cover the cost of their services. 

To learn more about considerations for a successful SPM solution selection we encourage you to read 6 Common Mistakes of Selecting a Sales Performance Management Solution. Being a vendor-agnostic SPM consultancy, OpenSymmetry is uniquely qualified to provide expert guidance in picking the right solution the first time. 

Article written by: David Barber

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