November 10, 2011

New Michael Dunne White Paper and Webinar now available

Many organizations are working hard to improve their sales effectiveness.  Increasingly many of these organizations are turning to information technology to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their incentive compensation and sales performance management processes.  Many of these organizations are now in varying stages of rolling out Sales Performance Management (SPM) solutions.

During these deployments, organizations go through a number of distinct phases as they mature.  The first phase is to ensure that the processes they have in place are efficient and produce accurate results.  As organizations look 'beyond the numbers' they go through increasingly complex phases ending with business agility and overall SPM optimization. 

I asked Michael Dunne, X-Gartner analyst, and long-time veteran  of sales effectiveness and sales performance management to write a report, outlining these stages of evolution, and to provide some guidance for organizations who find themselves in different levels of  SPM maturity.

The result is a new report which provides great insight as to the evolution of SPM systems within an organization.  This is a must-read for anyone trying to educate themselves on the Sales Performance Management landscape.   I have also asked Michael to discuss this paper and answer any of your questions in a webcast. This is now scheduled for December 6th.

November 8, 2011

Six Trends document

On this blog, I have been writing about the 6 new trends in Sales Performance Management that I have observed over the past few months.  I have also had the opportunity to present these at  conferences and seminars.   Based on the feedback I have received, and some requests for a complete document,  I packaged up the list and put it in one document.    If you would like a copy it's posted at  or leave me a comment here and I will forward it to you.

6 New SPM Trends - Trend 6 - Integration with More Applications

Traditionally a lot of Sales Performance Management Systems have been focused on the incentive compensation process.  While there can be many (occasionally hundreds) of input sources to an SPM solution, organizations generally consider outputs to be - commission statements, a payroll feed, and few summary reports.   

As SPM systems mature, it is more often the case that the SPM system houses the highest quality information in the organization about who is selling what to whom, at what price.  As commissions are paid of this data, it is normally the most scrutinized, up-to-date and accurate information in the company.  Organizations want to leverage this asset, typically by demanding new management reports.  This quickly moves to requests for more complex and broad-based reporting, often requiring new and different source data.  The natural evolution is then to make this information available to an even broader set of recipients.  This expansion generally requires feeding data to other systems.

 Some common examples are:
  •          Feed information into a corporate data warehouse or business intelligence system
  •          CRM integration between commissions and customer data
  •          HR systems to integrate commission data with other payroll and compensation data
  •          ERP system so that this information resides in the original system-of-record
Ensuring that your SPM system can pass data to other applications through standard interfaces like ODBC, web services and star schema generation allows compensation teams to provide compensation data in any format required by the receiving application.

November 5, 2011

Michael Dunne - 4 stages of Sales Performance Management

I just finished reading the draft of a whitepaper I commissioned with Michael Dunne.  Most people involved in Sales Performance Management know Michael from his years as an industry analyst with Gartner. He has a wealth of experience, and a unique perspective on this market.  

I asked Michael to write-up his thoughts on the evolution of Sales Performance Management.  He has segmented the adoption of SPM into four distinct phases and he provides guidance for organizations in each of these phases.  The full whitepaper and accompanying webinar will be announced shortly so keep an eye out for the announcement over the next few days. 

Follow @bhartlen or @varicent for regular updates and to get the details on the webinar and whitepaper when they are announced.

November 1, 2011

6 New SPM Trends: Trend 5 - Transition to the Cloud

Much has been written about the advantages of cloud based computing.  It’s not that cloud computing is new in 2011, but rather that many large organizations had thought that cloud based computing was only appropriate for small to medium sized businesses.  They were concerned that cloud solutions:
·     Would not scale to their volumes
· Would take away the ability to control upgrade timings
·   Would fail strict security and audit requirements
·  Could not offer the flexibility to meet specific and demanding requirements of large enterprises

There are compelling arguments for why cloud based solutions do provide significant benefit.  These include:
·      Reduced burden on existing, overburdened IT staff
·      Faster project start times (avoiding hardware procurement process)
·      Reduced initial investment and shared risk pricing model
·      Improved vendor support  - as they manage the entire hardware/software environment

The good news is that cloud computing has matured; the early adopters have paved the way, and software vendors have expanded their capabilities, offerings and platforms.  There are more options available to meet the specific needs of today’s complex organization.  For organizations that don’t want to co-mingle their data, there is a single-tenant cloud solution.  For those with security and firewall concerns, there is a new movement towards private cloud deployment. With this flexibility and configurability in deployment options, most organizations are now choosing cloud-based options for new Sales Performance Management implementations.

With the increasing array of options and flexibility in SPM offerings, it’s not simply an on-premise versus cloud decision facing organizations.  It’s much more complex.  Project teams are well advised to make sure that they consider both their requirements, and the specific options offered by their short-listed vendors.