Archive for the ‘Sales Performance Management’ Category

Webinar Galore – 2 SPM Webinars Tomorrow

July 28, 2008

I will try to provide coverage on this blog for these 2 webinars taking place tomorrow. The webinar hosted by Callidus features an Accenture partner discussing the insurance industry, and the Xactly webinar features Jeff Kaplan discussing on-demand sales performance analytics. Follow the links to register.

Callidus 7/29 @ 9A CST – Best Practices from Accenture – Align producer and advisor behavior, maximize mindshare – and effectively manage compensation
https://callidussoftware.webex.com/callidussoftware/onstage/g.php?d=570992696&t=a

Learn about insurance industry best practices from Jon Walheim – Accenture Partner – North America Insurance Marketing, Sales, and Service Lead. You’ll learn about key trends in the insurance industry, challenges that organizations are facing, and what insurance leaders are doing to gain competitive advantage.

Xactly 7/29 @ noon CST – The Business Case for On-Demand Sales Performance Management Analytics
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/415893690

In this Webinar, Xactly’s Karen Steele and THINKStrategies’ Jeff Kaplan will discuss how post-sales analytics can provide new and strategic insight into an organization’s selling patterns, commission spend, product performance, sales rep and team performance, and sales plan effectiveness. They will examine how post-sales data – traditionally scattered across a variety of disparate systems including ERP, HR, and Payroll – can be now be integrated and analyzed with an eye towards enhancing business strategies, changing sales rep behaviors, and super-charging sales organizations.

New web forum for the EIM Community – Get your Answers Now!

July 24, 2008

Today I came across a web forum called “Ask Jon!” by OpenSymmetry. It’s a great knowledge exchange platform where anyone can submit questions and answers.

Most posts are currently related to Callidus TrueComp, but there are new categories to discuss solutions by many other SPM vendors such as nGenera, Oracle, Practique & Merced, Sungard, Varicent, Xactly, etc.
Such forums are only as good as the content being posted, so I encourage everyone to visit and contribute in making this forum a one-stop shop for Sales Performance related information.
Of course my blog is still THE number one source of SPM information, but I may not [always] be able to answer all your questions, about every product on the market.

Don’t wait, go have a look and sign-up.

Offshore Outsourcing – Humor of the Week

July 19, 2008

Here is one of my favorite Dilbert strip:


A friend also sent me this funny conversation between a consultant and an offshore resource:

Consultant: So, today is the checkpoint for the designs, status should be on 90% completed, meaning everything’s done and waiting for final review. Are you finished?
Inder: Yes, I put the status on 90% completed
Consultant: Ok, let’s have a quick look at the document. Well… the document is basically empty? How can you put it on 90% completed?
Inder: Yes, document is empty – but it’s all in my head!

In Summary:

  • The communication infrastructure in some countries can be unreliable.
  • Risks associated to offshoring should be identified early.
  • Expectations need to be set and communicated clearly.

Compensation Architect: The New Blog on the Block

July 17, 2008

I mentioned Santorini Consulting a few times in previous posts and they just told me they had started their own blog called “Compensation Architect – Your guide to designing, implementing and managing effective compensation solutions“.

So far, David Kelly, a fellow compensation management expert, is the main contributor. Sheryl Friesz, Founder and VP of Partnerships, and Brian Silverman, President and CEO of Santorini Consulting, are also planning to contribute their perspective on related topics. Each have acquired years of experience working at Callidus Software before joining Santorini.

Their 3 first posts which have been published at a frequency I hope they will be able to maintain, provide insightful information about sales compensation, policies versus procedures and the difference between reports, queries, feeds and analytics.

Hopefully, over the next few weeks we’ll see some synergy between our blogs, and rather than creating redundant entries, we will each be able to provide fresh perspectives and information to our readers. Even in a field as specialized as incentive compensation, there should always be a place for blogs from product vendors, consulting companies and especially from independent guys.

Go on, take a few minutes for a visit.

Offshoring Sales Performance Management Implementation Components

July 16, 2008

Based on my experience and on common sense, there are some project components which are easier to offshore than others.

Requirements and Functional Design
Early phases of a project are more challenging to offshore; these phases include the requirement gathering and the functional planning of the project. Offshoring these activities can be difficult because they require a lot of interaction with stakeholders, users and subject matter experts. This type of interaction usually works much better face-to-face than over the phone.

Technical Design, Implementation and Testing
Once the architecture of the project is established, components of the technical design, implementation and testing phases are good candidates to be offshored. Interaction with project stakeholders will obviously be necessary, but the “what” of what needs to be done should be obvious.

Sales Performance Management Implementation
There are many strategies to leverage an offshore team to implement a sales performance management application. Compensation plans can be divided between on-shore and offshore teams, or both teams can collaborate on all the plans. I prefer the collaboration approach; coordination will be a bit more complicated, but many of the risks will be mitigated. As a result, the onshore team will have a clear idea on the status of the offshore team at all time, and there will be less communication issues such as misunderstandings of the requirement and functional design documents.

Here is a list of several common SPM activities which in my experience are good candidates to be offshored. If the design documents are detailed enough, there is no reason why an offshore team could not work on everything. However, there is probably less risk in offshoring well defined activities.
  1. ETL: A large project will use an Extract, Transfer and Load (ETL) tool to move data where it can be used by the SPM solution. With proper access, an offshore team can make a significant contribution to this process.
  2. Configuration Management: An implementation is usually carried in different environments; development, various testing envionments, and production. Moving the latest files from one environment to the next can be very time consuming, and often can’t be performed while a team works in the environment.
  3. Reference Data: Loading all the reference data including participants, titles, positions, relationships, territories, etc are activities which will not impact the building of plans, until required for testing.
  4. Quotas, rate tables and lookup tables: Creating and updating these objects can be a very time consuming activity.
  5. Formulas and rules: Sometimes, several formulas and rules which are almost identical to each other are required. Not all SPM solutions have an easy “clone” feature, making this activity very tedious.
  6. Processing: Also called pipeline in Callidus TrueComp, with a large number of participants and of transaction (in late testing phases), processing can take up to several hours. It can be very nice for the onshore team to work on the implementation during the day and come back the next morning to find the results ready and analysis of issues that occured.
  7. Testing: Testing can be a tedious job. As I discussed before, test scripts should exist which will be executed again and again… and again. Some of the first testing phases such as unit testing and system testing can be almost entirely offshored, but later phases such as integration testing and user acceptance testing are often kept onshore to be able to better monitor quality.
Note: Offshoring all the boring and repetitive activities could have negative impacts on the moral and efficiency of the offshore team, just as it would on any team.

Does anyone have other examples of SPM components which can be offshored easily?

Incentive Compensation Industry News

July 11, 2008

Callidus Software Reports Preliminary Financial Results for the Second Quarter 2008

  • Subscription and support revenues for the second quarter are expected to be approximately $10.0 million, an increase of 68% over the second quarter of 2007.
  • Callidus On-Demand (subscription) gross margins for the second quarter are expected to be within the range of 45 to 50%, up from 22% in Q1 2008.

WageWorks Selects Centive Compel(R) to Automate Sales Compensation Management

Centive, the leader in on-demandsolutions for sales compensation and sales performance management, todayannounced that WageWorks, the leading provider of tax-advantaged benefitsprograms, has selected Centive Compel to automate sales compensation and drivesales performance. Here is another related article.

Xactly Named World’s Best New Company by 2008 International Business Awards(SM)

Xactly Corporation took home theprestigious International Stevie(R) Award in The 2008 International BusinessAwards.

Sales Resource Group’s PlanIt solution earns finalist award at 2008 International Business Awards and for for Microsoft Bluesky Finalist.

Popularity Burst

July 10, 2008

I’m not sure what is happening to my search engine ranking on Google, but it has been climbing very quickly over the past few weeks! Here are a few examples as of this afternoon:

  • Incentive Compensation: 10 (1st page!)
  • Sales Performance: 17
  • Enterprise Incentive Management: 20
  • Incentive On-Demand: 7
  • Incentive Offshoring: 2
  • Incentive Compensation Implementation: 1 (woohoo!)

And that’s not including all the vendor-specific keywords where I’m also ranking very well.

Thanks to everyone who kindly link to this blog. Your help in making it more visible is very appreciated. Please keep the comments, topic ideas and questions coming.

Julien

Upcoming Sales Performance Analytics Webinar, July 22nd 1pm Central

July 10, 2008

There is a very promising webinar coming up, hosted by OpenSymmetry and presented by Greg Livengood.

I particularly wanted to promote this event because I worked with Greg for several months on an Accenture project, and I know that when it comes to Sales Performance Analytics, he REALLY knows what he is talking about. Expect a very insightful presentation by a friendly, dynamic and easy-going individual who built a world-class reputation as a sales performance analytics leader and pioneer.

Event Description:

With the economy in a downward slope, sales leaders more than ever need ‘Sales Performance Analytics’ and efficient ways to proactively identify potential problems and opportunities.

Most companies have the information they need to improve sales performance, however, many sales managers are challenged with accessing and correctly interpreting the data.

Greg Livengood, Senior Business Analyst with Livengood Consulting Group, will discuss how to leverage the 5 best practices in sales performance analytics that can boost your sales force performance.

• Visualize Sales Performance
• Develop Corporate Alignment
• Simplicity
• Build a Self-Sufficient Solution
• Engagement at the Executive Level

Click here to register.

ICM Implementation Offshoring Pros and Cons

July 8, 2008

Projects can be partially or completely outsourced. The outsourcing can be done partially or entirely offshore. The most common scenario I usually encounter is when a company outsources a project to a consulting company. The consulting team usually works on-site, and often have several resources located offshore. There seems to be a trend for consultant who used to work on-site, to be allowed to work remotely.

As I pointed out, many EIM/SPM solution vendors and consulting companies will discuss the benefits which can be achieved by outsourcing parts of an Incentive Compensation Management implementation. I agree with these benefits, but there are also many challenges which must be carefully managed to be successful.

Working with an offshore team through a consulting company reduces a lot of the risk; you don’t have to worry about contracts, quality, infrastructure, intellectual properties, etc. Furthermore, consulting companies usually have a good relationship with their offshore arm.

Setting aside all ethical and macro-economics discussions about offshoring, here are some of the main pros and cons.

Main offshoring benefits:

Labor: Skilled labor can be very expensive, but it can especially be very difficult to find. Even a large consulting company may have problems finding an available consultant with the right skill set.

Cost: Offshore locations are usually developing countries where labor is significantly cheaper.

Speed: When a project is well managed, more people usually mean a more aggressive schedule.

Work 24/7: For North-American people, working with a country such as India makes it “easy” to work around the clock.

Some of the challenges to be managed

Communication and language barriers: Most of us have some experience working with team members who are located somewhere else, and have faced communication challenges related to this. Offshoring brings another layer to the communication challenges, a topic to which I will dedicate another article.

Coordination: Because of all the communication challenges, complex coordination activities become even more complex.

Cultures: Each culture have their own principles and values. Not being mindful of cultural differences can lead to big problems.

Cost: Savings could be only marginal, especially with rising labor costs in some countries (especially in India)

Quality: This is a challenge for on-site and offshore team alike. Offshore teams are usually very good at achieving very high quality standards. However, quality is still perceived as a higher risk with offshore teams.

Security: Quality is another concern most companies have, especially when dealing with confidential employment information. There are very secure mechanisms to collaborate, even across continents, but security is a topic which requires particular attention.

Key to Success

In my opinion, the key to successfully leveraging an offshore team is in:

  • Having a good manager and team leads experienced with offshore projects
  • Having A good [formalized] communication strategy, “hand-off” mechanism between onshore and offshore teams and processes in place
  • Having a good understanding of which project components can be tackled “at night” by the offshore team and handed to the onshore team “in the morning”, and vice-versa.

Don’t Automate Chaos

June 25, 2008

I came across an interesting article by Roy Altman: Avoiding “Gotcha’s” – Tips and Techniques that Drive Successful Implementation Projects.

Roy describes some of the common pitfalls that can undermine an HR System implementation project, including the importance of getting buy-in, of planning early, of knowing your organization, of not reinventing the wheel, etc.

There is one point which I haven’t talked about on this blog so far: Don’t Automate Chaos.

If your processes currently result in chaos, and you automate them, you end up with automated chaos.

That’s something a lot of companies implementing EIM solutions don’t always seem to understand. Many Compensation System implementations are subject to delay, budget issues or even failure because processes are not re-examined. Implementing a new large-scale system should be seen as an opportunity to redefine and improve these processes.

In a typical Customer Relationship Management (CRM) implementation such as SAP or PeopleSoft, business processes generally have to change to be in line with the application. However in the case of an EIM solution, it is easy to make the mistake to try to implement the system in the same way it is currently working… and that can result in automated chaos.

When planning your implementation, set some time aside to map out existing processes and logic to assess if/how they can be improved. Better processes should result in a higher quality implementation which will fulfills business requirements.