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Important Questions to Ask SPM Vendors

Important Questions to Ask SPM Vendors

If your company has a sales team, having a good sales compensation plan is essential for your company’s success.

Sales incentives and sales compensation are the key ingredients to helping to attract top sales talent, it plays a key role in keeping the sales team happy and productive, and it saves time and money by making sure people are paid the right amount at the right time..

So, what happens if you don’t have a good sales compensation plan? Just look at Hewlett-Packard.

Although there were some serious signs of problems even before HP split into two different entities in November 2015, their sales compensation software just couldn’t handle the transition.

For months, it had incorrectly calculated employees’ paychecks. And the initial efforts HP made to correct this problem were woefully inadequate. The result, as we know, was a sales compensation manager’s nightmare.

Employees all but removed themselves from sales, having to find a solution to their payment problem when they should have been selling. Dozens of reps got tired of not being paid and left, including top salespeople who knew they could go work for other organizations and be paid on time. Those who stayed behind because they cared about HP had to deal with not being paid for their job performance while trying to pick up the pieces from lost sales opportunities.

HP was finally able to fix many of these problems but only after a long and exhaustive period.

So, if you’re thinking about making that step up and using an SPM and ICM provider to help you implement your sales compensation plan, here are some questions that you should keep in mind:

how much is out of the box?

1. How Much of the Demonstration Is Out-of-the-Box Working?

In an ideal world, every problem would have an out-of-the-box solution. You would merely open the packaging, slap the product in place, and voilà! Your problem is solved and you are making money.

It doesn’t always work that way. We know that companies like to claim that their product or solution can be implemented right out of the box, or that you can do it yourself in a few days.

And we have on occasion made those claims, as well. But the key is that we have had a lot more success at this than some other companies — with one client, we were able to go live within two weeks of our Five-Day Initiative Sprint workshop.

Admittedly, that’s a pretty good “out-of-the-box” experience. But for the most part, we rarely believe it when a vendor tells a customer their solution can be ready to use it within a week. This is one of the reasons why we advise you not to pay any license fees until you know that the ICM solution is working for you — and doing so in the way that you want it to.

Using a cloud-based solution like Performio means that you will be up and running faster than normal, but just because the company has "cloud" in its name doesn’t mean you’re going to get the kind of experience you’re expecting.

Remember: don’t pay licensing fees upfront. Work out an agreement with the vendor where the license fee starts once the agreed scope of work ends. This will allow you to see how competent the vendor is and if they can deliver their product. If they don’t do a good job, this means that you can walk away and look for a new vendor without having already paid a ton of money upfront.

2. How Tech-Savvy Must You Be to Operate the Administrative Side?

Maintaining the integrity of your data and ensuring quality control is essential when it comes to understanding how your business is doing. You want to be able to use a software program for your sales compensation plan that doesn’t take hours every week and is simple to understand and implement.

Performio is that kind of tool. When you use Performio’s ICM software, you have access to sales commission tools that work together with licensing models, recurring purchases, specific products, third-party software, and a whole lot more. You can control every category and metric independently, which gives you the flexibility to develop a commission plan that rewards sales where you need to incentivize people the most.

Performio lets you give priority to your most important channels and create the processes for ICM to help you understand commissions, benchmark goals, and give your sales team the rewards they deserve that will help encourage your company’s growth.

Among the many things we think you will like about Performio is its look and feel. It quickly creates understandable graphs and reports. It allows you to personalize important features and easily navigate between different modules. Its responsive interface provides access from your desktop or your mobile device anywhere and at any time. Plus, its dashboard will give you quick links so that you can easily find your most important modules.

To go back to our question, you don’t have to be a tech wizard to use Performio. An attractive design and accessible interface allow even the not-so-tech-savvy to use the company’s sales compensation program effectively.

3. What Resources Do You – the Provider – Have to Dedicate to Making It Work for Us – the Client?

Performio can do a lot to help make your business a successful one. Here is what some of our clients have had to say about the Performio product:

“I like the speed at which you can implement a solution and see tangible results for customers. The flexibility to see all the data being loaded and calculated is great for analysis. Performio will speed things up in your business processes, and it will make everyone happy to have their information available.”

“I have seen that Performio automates the data upload process and transformations admins or users just enter the site to check their reports and dashboards. So because of the automatization, there is less chance for human error, and time to focus on other duties.”

  • Finally, for this client, his ability as an administrator to use the Performio product makes a difference.

“Performio is a very flexible solution that caters for the various plans in our business. The end user experience for our sales staff and managers is visually impressive and easy to navigate to track all of their performance measures. The Performio team provides excellent local support with quick response time to our queries. From an administrator point of view, the system is very easy to navigate and to build new commission plans or sales reports is simple.”

4. How Much Time and Money Is This Going To Save?

Ezidebit Australia, an international company that provides direct debit services, faced a big challenge – how to calculate commissions resulting from a large volume of transactions, many of which were quite complex. But their existing system, however, was unable to include dishonor fees in the calculations or integrate arrangements that called for custom payments. The company required seven administrators to calculate sales commissions on a monthly basis and payments were not made until the third week each month.

The company then started to use Performio.

Performio enabled Ezidebit to create a reference table that contained specific commission and rebate information that was necessary to perform calculations on sales commissions. The company could update incentive plans at any time because the calculation process remained automated. These calculations were tuned to the specific rules in the actual commission plan. After the company loaded important data, these calculations that required so much time in the past were accomplished with a single click, producing needed reports in 30 minutes.

The result was a 50 percent reduction in the number of hours it took those administrators to calculate monthly sales commissions. Even more critical, the commissions based on these calculations were paid on the third day of the month rather than in the third week. This meant that the sales team was much happier and remained more focused and motivated.

Case in point, by using Performio, you’re probably going to save a ton of both. We suggest a two-stage approach:

  • For your sales team, design a “Five-Day Initiative Sprint” to help them understand the software and how to use it.
  • Show and train your financial team how to use the software to accomplish their sales compensation goals
how much time and money?

5. What Are the Cost Benefits of Integration?

This is a question you should ask of any technology you bring into your business. Shiny bells and whistles don’t matter to your bottom line; times and money does.

We’ve been around the SPM market for nearly 20 years, long enough to see some trends. Two stick out in this area:

Refusing to update your sales compensation calculation methods.

For many years, companies were forced to use spreadsheets to do the calculations for the sales compensation plans. This, in a word, sucked.

At the time, spreadsheets were better than calculations done on the back of an envelope. But they were tedious and devoured employee hours. They were also notoriously inefficient, and mistakes were easy to make. Salespeople had to devote hours of time and energy calculating their own commissions and then haggling with management as to why their math was right.

Sadly, there are still companies that run sales commissions this way. We saw this firsthand when two telecommunications companies merged, but their ICM was managed through excel. Thankfully, we were able to step in and avoid an epic disaster — and instead helped the new company's new sales compensation administration costs by 50% while achieving an 80% take-up rate within one week of launch.

Important Note: If you work at one of these companies, don’t worry — help is on the way! Check out our How To Sell Sales Commission Software To C-Suite article for some tips as to how you can get your leadership team on board. Your company will finally start to make real money from sales, your salespeople will be grateful, and you’ll be the hero. You’re welcome.

Buying the biggest, shiniest SPM on the market — without evaluating its efficacy

We’ve also seen this trend, which is actually worse than the first.

Not all SPM software is created equal. Some ICM software comes with huge brand names, a giant price tag, and all sorts of bells and whistles. To the uninformed, this type of ICM software can look enticing. After all, if it’s expensive, it has to be good, right?

We’ve cleaned up enough messes at this point to tell you that’s just not true. While quality will usually cost you something a little extra, you should be paying for just that: quality. If you aren’t getting what you paid for, it’s probably not you who is doing something wrong. Your SPM software just happens to not be worth it.

Using Performio overcomes these problems. Performio integrates easily with so much of the software you already use to calculate sales commissions as well as many other vital elements of your business. Like the companies mentioned above, using Performio means you’ll spend a lot less time preparing sales commission reports while at the same time producing reports and tables that are far more accurate than using spreadsheets or any other method.

And the hours that you’ll save because of this integration has a direct impact on your bottom line. It also means that you won’t lose money because of mistakes in overpayments of sales commissions.

cost benefits

6. How Secure Is Your Service?

It’s hard not to have concerns about the security of information when the media regularly reports on hackers stealing the data of millions of customers from companies' databases. Part of this concern comes because customers may be concerned about the security of their information in the cloud.

Performio takes security very seriously and protecting our clients' data is one of our most important jobs. All our workstations received patches against vulnerabilities like the Meltdown or Spectre viruses. We also run our application on Amazon Web services servers, which has stated that it offers its clients production from “all known threat vectors.”

Performio has also updated the kernel on our instances. We monitor all of these threats and vulnerabilities closely, and if necessary, we will implement new patches.

7. How Often Is the Product Improved?

An excellent question and an important one for any business. Let’s look at Performio version 6.

From the time we released v. 6.0 in April 2017 until November 1, 2018, when we released our latest update, v. 6.5.6, Performio has strived to continually update its software with features and improvements that will enhance your company’s ability to create a dynamic sales commission program. These improvements included items like new customer filters, improving drop-down menu items for administrators, and adding the ability to send reminder emails for impending tasks. In our most recent version, we added an API that allows you to import and upload files and run calculations.

These are just a few of the many vital improvements the Performio team constantly makes to improve your experience when you use Performio to create and manage your sales compensation plans.

8. What Kind of Support Is Provided?

Performio delivers value to your company throughout the term of your contract by creating a Customer Success Plan (CSP). We understand that no company executive or administrator likes to feel that they are on their own when installing and learning to use a new software program. Too many companies promise big but deliver small when it comes to customer support.

They’ll be there while you need to get their application up and running. Once the contract for the license fees is signed, however, many companies fade away. And when you need support at critical moments, all you hear is crickets.

We tailor every CSP to be a unique collaborative approach that focuses on what you need to make sure you are receiving every last drop of value from our applications and products. We understand the importance of Return on Investment (ROI). Our customer success team will work with your sales comp team to make sure you get that ROI. We can help you find new ways to improve important initiatives like pay-for-performance. We will ensure that all our existing features give you the performance you desire and you can count on the fact that we will listen to your feedback on ways that we can improve how our product works for your company.

support provided

9. How Long Does It Take to Implement the Platform?

Every implementation at every company is unique. Performio will help you and your company implement our product in a timely and efficient way. Our Five-Day Initiative Sprint means your salespeople will have all the knowledge and information they need to successfully use Performio. We will train your finance team so they can use Performio to create sales compensation plans that build on your company’s goals and help attract the top people to meet those goals.

what happens when plans don't work

Let Performio Help You Create a Dynamic Sales Compensation Plan

When you develop a dynamic and thorough plan to implement ICM and SPM technologies, your business and your people will prosper.

If you are serious about creating a high-performance culture in your company, we offer a demo of our software. We invite you to give our fabulous product a try.

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