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Posted By ECT News Network on 02/26/2018 in CRM

Insights on Advanced Selling Strategies

Insights on Advanced Selling Strategies

One of CRM's overlooked benefits, accrued over many years, is its influence on business processes. Twenty or so years ago, front-office business processes were simplistic, due in part to the lack of technology support.

For example, business leaders might have wanted to peer into a sales process or develop detailed compensation plans to better incentivize sales reps, but because those jobs required a lot of data and data reduction, they rarely were pursued.

This isn't about complex regression analysis that can predict actions or advise about next best steps. Just being able to manage a lot of data (OK, big data) about the sales or compensation process could light up a business like never before.

SPM Rising

Vendors like Xactly were instrumental at capturing and managing that data, and that has resulted in new and better business processes.

For instance, and forgive me if you've heard this before, in the last 15 years compensation management has gone from a process done quarterly to one that can be done daily. At the same time, it has moved from the back office to the front.

This column was originally published on CRM Buyer as part of  Denis Pombriant's Insights series.

With data, comp vendors like Xactly can give vendors the ability to run incentives that match the company's plan for individual products and territories without breaking a sweat. They also can recommend which deals look most promising when there's less than 30 days left in the quarter. That's no small thing.

All that is retrospective, though, and as valuable as it is, leaders also need radar for the quarter ahead.

Earlier this month, Xactly announced its acquisition of Obero, a sales performance management (SPM) company with credibility in new revenue recognition regulations -- ASC 606 in the U.S. and IFRS 15 in Europe -- that have a direct impact on how reps are paid.

Adding this capability to Xactly's set of incentive compensation technologies seems like a good fit. It's also timely.

SPM seems to be in the news lately, and it makes sense. For instance, Adaptive Insights just announced its business planning for sales product.

In many markets, especially tech, the easy days of greenfields and sporadic competition have been over for some time, and sales leaders find themselves in need of greater sales insight and discipline to bring in increasing quotas.

My Two Cents

Compensation and planning tools have become indispensable in sales, and the market is responding with good, credible solutions. Using them effectively will take some new understanding, as well as the thing that sales people dislike more than death and taxes -- change.

Most of the industry is comfortable with SFA tools today, though there are still vendors whose claims to legitimacy include telling customers that CRM is bad or difficult to use, or that reps won't use it. But that train has left the station.

CRM is no longer optional for most companies, and facility with these tools is required for most job seekers. Planning and compensation management are taking their places in the expanded definition of CRM, simply because we can't live without them any longer.

Announcements like this week's from Adaptive Insights and Xactly accurately reflect the state of the marketplace, and we ignore them at some risk.

Denis Pombriant is an author of two books and a thought leader in CRM. He is also a leader in the emerging field of sustainability and the author of "The Age of Sustainability." His CRM writings are collected here and his sustainability writings here. Pombriant lives in the Boston area and is working on a new book.
Email Denis.


Vendor Profiles

Xactly delivers a scalable, cloud-based enterprise platform for planning and incenting sales organizations, including sales quota and territory planning, incentive compensation management, and predictive analytics. Using this sales performance management (SPM) portfolio, customers mitigate risk, accelerate sales performance, and increase business agility. Combined with Xactly Insights™, the industry’s only empirical big data platform, Xactly provides companies with real-time compensation insights and benchmarking data that maximize the bottom line. With an open, standards-based architecture, Xactly integrates within an enterprise’s existing infrastructure, with the ability to work with any ERP, CRM, or HCM application, while meeting the highest enterprise standards in security, reliability, and privacy. Xactly is headquartered in San Jose, California.


Adaptive Insights is powering a new generation of business planning. Driving business agility in a fast-moving world, the Adaptive Insights Business Planning Cloud provides a way for people in any size organization to collaborate, gain insights, and make smarter decisions faster. Its Adaptive Insights Business Planning Cloud enables a comprehensive set of cloud-based software solutions supported by a powerful, in-memory technology platform that enables functional and company-wide business planning and built-in analytics at very large scale. Adaptive insights is headquartered in Palo Alto, California


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