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This Pandemic has Reinforced The Power of Data

These last 12 weeks have been a traumatic experience for many. For all of us, it has been a steep learning curve on basic epidemiology. We have become accustomed to a daily deluge of statistics on the pandemic. Since March, we are now all over the key stats such as total case numbers, mortality rates, comparisons by country on a total and pro-rata basis, and more. So, what does this have to do with Sales Performance Management?

One of the interesting learnings from the pandemic is the way data can powerfully influence behavioral change. To be sure, our lifestyles and daily routines have been directly impacted by government regulations on the lockdown. But I think it would be fair to say that none of these regulations could have been introduced without solid data on the pandemic.

This is why the daily press conferences repeatedly hammered the messages on case numbers and projections for case numbers. The case for introducing and retaining lockdown measures has been bolstered by the supporting data. And it’s not just data. It is the power of data when it is communicated in three ways:

  1. Data that is transparent
  2. Data that is presented frequently
  3. Data that is presented visually

Transparency means that everyone has access to the data. That has been the situation writ large for the pandemic. In the first 4-6 weeks, there was wall-to-wall coverage of the numbers. I noticed that only yesterday (June 15th), the newspapers have started to drop the case numbers from their home page headline feed.

Frequency means that the data is updated on a daily basis. And often more frequently than that.

Visually. This means more than just a slick presentation of numbers and infographics. Probably the most powerful visual presentation of the data in this pandemic has been the projected bell curve lined up against hospital capacity. That visualization more than anything convinced people of the need to go into lockdown.

I don't want to stray into politics, - but there’s an argument to be made that people have focused too much on total cases and deaths, and not enough on the data for active cases or mortality rates relative to other health risks.

So, what does this have to do with Sales Performance Management?

The big takeaway is that it reinforces what we have always known but often underestimate about managing sales performance and incentive compensation. That is, the power of sales performance data to change behavior. Too many sales organizations fail on the three ways data provides this power:

  • Transparency: few people have access to the full picture on sales performance (individual, team, company)
  • Frequency - the full picture is released once per month, and often days or weeks after month-end
  • Visual - sales numbers are buried in spreadsheets and are difficult to interpret

Effective implementation of an Incentive Compensation Management Software like Performio can help your sales organization drive the behavior it needs by capitalizing on these three principles. Achieving true automation of your incentive compensation management program allows you to:

  • Provide full transparency to all salespeople. Each salesperson has full access to the data they need to track performance and pay.
  • Provide frequent (e.g. daily) updates on sales performance across individuals, teams, and the entire organization.
  • Deliver insights through reports and dashboards using the rich data from your sales performance management system.

Of course, this pandemic re enforces above all else, the importance of our health and those of our loved ones. When we come out the other end, there will be time to reflect on the likely changes to our lives; both business and personal. More on those themes later.

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