4 SPM Industry Analysts Weigh-in on COVID-19

Apr 06, 2020
5 min read
Many organizations have been quick to react with care and empathy to the business effects caused by the Coronavirus. Here’s what four analyst firms are saying about COVID-19 and the responsiveness of the market.

​Marketplace reality check: as of right now, every organization needs a firm understanding of the current threats facing their business and must develop a contingency plan in order to avoid serious disruption of its operations.

Open your internet browser and chances are the first new stories or headlines you see will be centered around COVID-19. Healthcare and White House officials see this pandemic sticking around for longer than everyone would hope for, so it’s time for companies to now shift their strategy from reactive to proactive. 

Here is a quick compilation of industry expert advice on a broad range of topics that affects every aspect of a business. This includes what types of technologies are crucial during this period of time, how to shift your strategies to reflect the current state of the market, and how to implement a strong remote plan within your own workforce. 

Forrester’s Recommendation for Essential Technology:

According to experts at Forrester, now is the time to revisit your remote technology strategy in order to maximize productivity, focus on connectivity, encourage collaboration, grant crucial information access to employees, and guarantee data security. 

Let’s just start by saying this: Sales Performance Management software has never been more important than it is now. When sales reps are remote, it can be difficult to stay motivated and focused, that’s where communication and performance tracking solutions, like Sales Performance Management (SPM), becomes a crucial addition to your business. 

Besides SPM, what other technologies or advice does Forrester recommend your organization needs to ensure a productive working environment? Here are four pieces of advice from their experts on how to navigate our current situation:

  1. Amp up enterprise social channels to keep employees feeling connected
  2. Ensure employees update their passcodes prior to working remotely for an extended period due to security issues
  3. Relax demands around employees being available 24x7—but set clear expectations for communication and output
  4. Leave detailed instructions for how to receive tech support remotely 

Gartner’s Advice For Your Current Strategy:

Gartner’s team of analysts and advisors have recommended that clients begin to develop COVID-19 scenarios to help plan for a range of possible outcomes—and quickly. Any singular scenario will get it wrong in a variety of meaningful ways that could leave your company unprepared and vulnerable to market threats.

Instead, you should weigh a spectrum of potential situations, ranging from best- to worst-case. That way, you can prepare the actions, communications, and data you need and be prepared to act in any circumstance. 

The key to leaving reactive mode behind and protecting your brand is to prepare now for every plausible development. Here is Gartner’s recommendation for your short-, intermediate- and long-term COVID-19 plans:

  • Short-term: Your business is already dealing with the short-term impact. Given the escalation of our current situation, you can expect this period of disruption to continue for some period. 
  • Intermediate-term: Your worst-case scenarios should not assume an immediate recovery once the short-term period is complete. Some experts foresee alternating periods of loosened and tightened restrictions. Thus, your intermediate-term view should prepare for all possible outcomes. 
  • Long-term: At some point, the world and nation will enter into recovery mode. This stage must consider how rapidly consumer and buyer optimism will return, how COVID-19 may impact future values, needs, and expectations, and what your organization can learn from this period to prepare for future, unexpected disruptions, big and small.

The Enterprise Irregulars:

Remember this—investing in the right solutions and technologies will offer immediate and noticeable improvements to the remote working experience for your employees. According to some of the experts who publish and coordinate at the Enterprise Irregulars, this approach can deliver a drastic improvement in your downstream results, such as higher productivity, better engagement, stronger work/life balance, and greater overall work quality.

According to Dion Hinchcliffe’s latest article, there are four levels of strategy when it comes to enabling a remote workforce, and they should, in general, be approached in this order:

  • Strategy 1: Create a safe and effective foundation for remote digital access
  • Strategy 2: Provide access to productivity, line of business applications, and communications/collaboration tools 
  • Strategy 3: Develop remote working skills 
  • Strategy 4: Cultivate a remote working culture and mindset 

He believes that even though COVID-19 may end up making us—at least temporarily—far more isolated than most of us ever have been at work, we have a key opportunity to create a compelling new digital remote environment that is far more engaging, participatory, and full of human connection, context, and contact than we’ve ever had before. How’s that for a silver lining?! 

Ventana Research’s Advice on Shifting Customer Strategy 

It’s been a tough few weeks for, well, everyone as we begin to navigate what seems like our ‘new normal’ amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Mark Smith, Analyst from Ventana Research, has to say this about the current state of business

We need to help ease tension and delight all those who do business with us – in both the present and the future – by providing value that enables them to achieve success for their organization and their own career. This requires that we rethink what we are providing and what could be useful for them and move beyond the references to or reminders of COVID-19.

This could take life in any form that is meaningful between you and your customer base, but it’s crucial to restrategize and provide your buyers the help they need to survive in this time of uncertainty via your organization’s patience, expertise, education, and technology. 

When it comes to building deep, long-lasting relationships with your customers—in the best of times, but especially in the worst of times—it’s important to be constantly learning, adapting, and listening to your customer base to help gain insight on what they need or want in order to move forward in the best way possible. 

Will We Ever Go Back to Business-as-Usual?

Business-as-usual may not be a reality for quite some time, and when we return to it, it might not look like the workplaces we were once accustomed to. No one can tell you with certainty what will happen, but the business leaders that best prepare for an uncertain and rapidly-evolving future are the ones who will be the best prepared for any outcome. 

In today’s volatile business environment, Sales Performance Management (SPM) can help you achieve access to accurate data insights that drive your organization’s remote work strategy and help you create sales plans in an effective and efficient manner.

If you don't have a solution to help keep a thumb on the pulse of your sales organization, you might find it difficult to survive such turbulent times. Some of them may also feel disconnected and disengaged when no work peer is around on a regular basis.

Reach out to us, we can help you.

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Erik W. Charles
VP, Business Operations, Japan

Erik serves as a subject matter expert on the interlocking fields of revenue intelligence, revenue performance, and revenue optimization. Erik focuses on helping Xactly drive expansion and growth by better aligning positions, responsibilities, and incentives to be in sync with achievable strategic and tactical goals. He is an accomplished professional with more than two decades of experience in marketing, consulting, and product evangelization.