BSC’s Design Guide to Success – Part 9

Each week, we will highlight one of BSC’s Top Ten Tips from our acclaimed Design Guide to Success. To download the full guide, click on to the Articles page.

9. Secure “Can-Do” Systems Participation

Companies are less likely today to accept systems limitations or unresponsiveness of IT staff as a reason to prevent enabling the optimal sales compensation plans.  In fact, more companies have invested or are evaluating the acquisition of a Sales Performance Management solution, so they can have better tools for enabling new plan designs.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t other systems priorities or competition for limited budget dollars, but at least you can get your calls returned.  Our advice follows:

  • Include budgeting needs in last year’s budget. What, too late?   Okay, well let’s not make that mistake for next year!  Whether you need a new SPM solution, an upgrade to an existing solution, or programming changes to existing administration software, build the dollars you might require into the budgeting process to protect your team from a non-funded project.
  • Consider the functionality of supporting systems, not just plan administration tools, which impact your project.  Sales reporting processes represent a critical element to driving salesperson engagement and to activating the motivation you hope your plan is driving.   Make sure sellers know where they stand and what they need to do to achieve that next level of payout or accelerator.  Other data/systems like territory account assignment, along with quota allocation and management, are intricately involved in the success of plan administration; they require focus and updating as the company shifts selling strategies or reacts to new or lost headcount. These tools need your love too!
  • Get your IT folks involved in planning early.  Start by understanding their timeframes and availability and ask them to help you with your design and implementation scheduling.  Seek their participation to help the team understand what the company “can do” to enable certain plan objectives, and have them help you with problem solving to find the optimal way to evaluate and administer any plan changes.
  • Learn from the market.  Specifically, use your contacts developed under Tip Eight to identify leading and new practices to address similar problems or challenges you are tackling.  They may also have references for vendors that can support you in the evaluation of new tools and solutions.  Learn from their experiences and share that with your IT stakeholders.