How to Overcome 5 Top Sales Planning Challenges with Sales Performance Management

One area where most companies struggle is sales planning. It is a complex process, and if your sales team does not have the right tools, the chances that your team will excel are bleak. Without a defined process, the struggle is ongoing for the team. Fortunately, you can ease out your revenue-growing strategies with SPM. Sales Performance Management helps you smoothen your sales planning journey.

Sales Performance Management (SPM) is a set of operational and analytical functions that automate and unite back-office operational sales processes. When you implement SPM strategies in your organization, you improve operational effectiveness and efficiency. The market of sales performance management reached USD 3193.7 million in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 13.09% during the forecast period of 2021 to 2026.

Now let us have a close look at five common sales planning challenges and how driving automation with Sales performance management gives you an action plan to improve sales performance and their solutions.

Challenge 1 - You can't make decisions promptly

Solution -

You should bring stakeholders from different departments into the discussion early. When the team size is too small or too big, the decision-making process slows down, and there are delays and setbacks in the process. To ensure the process works smoothly, you need to have stakeholders from different departments. With this approach, decision-making becomes a lot easier since everyone knows the point of contact if there are any road blockers.

How SPM helps -

As a company, you need to understand how you have performed in the past and how you need to perform in the future. When you have SPM in place, you can analyze the data you have with you clearly and identify trends that may impact your company's future performance. With each sales planning implemented, you can use the SMP tool to model different performance scenarios to design more accurate incentives, territories, and quotas.

Challenge 2 - It may be the case that everyone in the team may not understand the plan.

Solution -

You need to have an effective communication plan. When you do sales planning, you have to successfully communicate the plan and ensure each member of the sales team understands it completely. However, such clarity and transparency often lead to a few challenges. There are few reasons for such hindrances -

  • the communication is not clear as the leaders cannot communicate clearly
  • There is a belief in sales reps that their compensation plan will result in a loss for them.

As a leader, you can avoid confusion by following simple steps like start your communication plan from the top leaders and work your way through and be transparent on telling the team why change is happening and the impact.

How SPM Helps -

With an SPM in place, the reps can see earned commission in real-time as the incentives are automatically calculated in real-time. It also lets managers address any potential issues, dive into individual rep performance, and provide additional training where necessary.

Challenge 3 - Struggle to report and consolidate sales performance data.

Solution -

Use specific metrics to ensure sales effectiveness. Once you create a new sales plan, it is very important to monitor the performance and also analyze the performance of your plan. There is software available that shows leaders today how much money is in a certain period and also the "what-if" models. These models help leaders to figure out deals they should target to maximize their income. You should have the infrastructure to be able to quickly analyze your sales data, automate the functions and also use modelling in order to optimize the sales strategy.

How SPM works -

There is so much data around the sales process, gathered from varied sources that it gets difficult for leaders to analyze and utilize them to their advantage. One of the primary functions of SPM is to centralize the sales data and make it available for optimal performance. When the data is centralized, everyone is able to access the same information in real-time. It helps leaders analyze the performance, provides a holistic view of revenue-driving strategies, and simplifies decision-making.

Challenge 4 - Too many incentive components make sales planning complex.

Solution –

Create a simple sales plan by following the ABCs of sales compensation. When you create a simple sales plan, it is easy to communicate, understand and execute the plan. You have to consider employees’ interests while creating the incentive compensation strategy. While creating one make sure there aren’t too many layers to it. Even the employee at the bottom of the pyramid should be clear with what they get when they meet their targets. ABCs of sales compensation planning include - A - Aligned to different sales roles B - Benchmarked against industry data C - Constructed to drive the right sales behaviour

How SPM helps -

SPM helps you analyze incentive performance quickly. It also allows salespeople to access information on their incentives in real-time. This helps them plan their activities ahead of time to ensure maximum potential is achieved at all times. The platform also allows leaders to delve into the data and examine the effectiveness of sales incentives, and make the required changes if the impact is not positive (sales are not continuously coming).

Challenge 5 - The top rep leaves and the team is behind the target

Solution -

Continuously planning and performance analysis is the key to overcoming the challenge. The top performance brings in the most sales number and if the star sellers leave, your targets and revenue can take a massive hit. To avoid getting into such a situation, you have to do precise sales planning and ensure you have the right number of people in the team. You should always have a replacement ready to ensure that if the top rep leaves, the sales numbers as well as the revenue do not fall drastically.

How SPM helps -

SPM tools are much advanced, they can deep dive into your sales team and present data that will help you forecast the workings of your sales team. By examining trends in performance, the SPM can identify patterns in rep behaviours that signal they may be at risk for turnover. With such deep insights, leaders can prepare for attrition.

Conclusion

There are many other reasons to use the SPM solutions. When you offer a positive sales experience to your agents, you retain your top sales talent and also attract new ones. Sales Performance Management not only helps the organizations to automate processes, but it also helps them to constantly improve sales strategy and planning. This is very critical to hit increasing goals and also positively impact growth in any situation. With Sales Performance Management, the organization can achieve higher returns from the existing efforts of its team.

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