SPM Vendor Selection Criteria – The Gartner Magic Quadrant, and Then Some
Selecting the right technology solution for your Sales Performance Management (SPM) program is no small task. The number of vendors selling award-winning technologies has increased over the years, and according to the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for SPM report, the SPM market grew 13% in 2018 to $950 million. While most leading solution providers have similar offerings for core SPM components, they often vary greatly when it comes to specialized requirements such as analytics, workflow, and modeling.
So then, the question is: where do you start in terms of selecting the right vendor for your company?
Challenges to technology vendor selection
Resources such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant for SPM provide an objective view of the industry’s leading vendors, but they are not comprehensive enough for companies to adequately compare and select SPM technology for their specific objectives and needs. Several challenges companies face when it comes to SPM technology vendor selection include:
- Internal resource availability: Outside of procurement teams, it is tough to find dedicated personnel who will have the time and/or experience to manage a vendor evaluation.
- Lack of expertise: Without intimate knowledge of solution capabilities, companies struggle to develop selection requirements that will provide clear differentiation between the applications and how they will best meet the companies’ needs on a go-forward basis.
- Insufficient information: Without extensive exposure to SPM vendor price strategies and contracts, companies often end up either overpaying for a technology and/or signing on to contracts that will erode the ROI of an SPM investment.
To address these challenges, there are a number of steps you could (and should) take when looking for the right SPM vendor.
Ensuring an effective selection effort
Before diving into the research pertaining to each SPM technology vendor’s capabilities, customer service scores, demos, and online reviews, begin by considering your organization’s business needs and vision. Here are four important steps to get you started on your selection effort.
- Identify current & future state needs for SPM. Have a clear vision of the future state you desire to achieve. SPM technology is the enabler, but the design, process and approach need to be aligned.
- Articulate business goals for SPM. Automate incentive design in a way that will drive and reward the right behaviors from your sales team and model expected outcomes.
- Establish a realistic business case. It’s not uncommon for organizations to have a robust platform that is much bigger than what is needed to achieve desired results. Narrow your requirements down to business priorities; this will also help manage cost limitations as you consider RFPs.
- Have a rigorous selection process. This is a multiyear investment, requiring the right planning upfront. Evaluate SPM vendor capabilities against your business requirements, based on industry benchmarks and best practices.
As you begin the research and demo process, consider consulting a vendor-agnostic third party to provide a big-picture perspective of the SPM technology landscape as well as real-life examples from prior clients.
OpenSymmetry works with the majority of the technology leaders represented in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for SPM. This enables us to provide unbiased insights on capabilities and user experience that our clients can leverage as we determine the best technology to enable your business.
Our proven approach to SPM technology vendor evaluation and selection gives our clients confidence throughout the process by providing:
- Selection criteria based on unique, client-specific current and future state SPM needs
- Clear differentiation between vendor capabilities
- Clear expectations on functional coverage being provided
- Guidance and support during license and contracting
- A process based on best practices, ensuring an efficient selection process