Automation, for many companies, is a term that often accompanies growth. However, it’s not something that is necessarily high on the list until it’s absolutely necessary. No matter how you look at it, it’s easier today than ever to notice that the benefits stretch far beyond easier processes. But before you write it off as another buzzword, consider the following question:
How many processes does your company follow on a regular basis for your sales team to operate effectively?
Don’t bother counting—more likely than not, it’s a lot. The more important question is this: how many of those processes do you manage manually in spreadsheets or other homegrown systems?
Here’s the hard truth: you can’t be strategic if you’re managing even ONE of your critical planning, compensation, or other analysis processes manually. Why? Because you’re focused on tactical measures instead of strategy—and even worse, your data is static, so your decisions are reactive instead of proactive.
There’s an easy solution—it’s automation.
Making Your Data Useful
Sales automation tools help make your processes more efficient by collecting your data from multiple spreadsheets and homegrown systems and compiling it into a single source of truth. Ultimately, this does one key thing—it makes your data usable—and that is vital for designing a strategic sales plan.
With your data all in one place, you can gain better visibility and holistically analyze it on a deeper level. From sales capacity and quota planning, to territory mapping and incentive design, this data gives you key insights that can be applied to your sales organization at every level.
When you combine these data insights with automated sales performance management (SPM) tools, you can model planning scenarios, identify problems sooner, and proactively make changes to plans in real-time—all of which you wouldn’t be able to do with static spreadsheets.
The Benefits of Automation
So—beyond the insights a single source of data can bring your organization, what are the real benefits of automation? Here are five ways automation helps you use your sales data more effectively and strategically.
1. Increased Data Accuracy
Data plays a crucial role in planning and forecasting. If you can’t trust your data, you can’t trust your plans, assumptions, or even that your team’s commission checks are accurate. Automation reduces human error—ultimately, eliminating more than 90% of errors—so you can be confident in your data and trust that your decisions are backed by fact.
2. Improved Sales Productivity
Distracted sales reps mean lower productivity, and ultimately, lower revenue. Inaccurate commissions data can have a big impact on sales productivity–especially if reps spend a lot of time shadow accounting.
Automated incentive compensation management (ICM) calculates commissions—so reps can see their earned commission in real-time before they’re surprised with an incorrect commission check.
3. Efficient Compensation Processes
Automatic incentive compensation management helps improve financial time to close up to 50%. Because commissions are calculated within the ICM program, the time needed to complete payout processes is dramatically reduced.
In fact, the average company using automated ICM completes payouts in less than three weeks—compared to up to six weeks for non-ICM users.
4. Agile Planning and Forecasting
Agile sales organizations who are aligned in their planning can adjust easily to any unforeseen changes within the company or market. Automation allows you to become more agile as an organization by allowing you to proactively adjust plans and model different scenarios in real-time—all while staying aligned and making changes to forecasting as needed.
5. Key Data Insights for Strategic Planning
When you have deeper visibility into your sales performance data, you can use it to gain strategic insights to drive planning and decision making. Data-driven decisions make you a smarter sales organization, helping you optimize plans to drive peak performance, identify areas for improvement, and maximize top- and bottom-line growth.
It Takes More Than Just Automation
For sales organizations to be successful, they need to do more than automate their processes. In all honesty, if you haven’t automated yet, you’re already behind and falling farther behind as we speak. However, automation is the first best step to achieving optimal sales performance.
Once you’ve automated, you’re ready to take on the larger goal of sales performance management (SPM). SPM solutions help you take your automated processes and use your available data to make strategic decisions and apply artificial intelligence (AI) to help optimize your sales planning and performance.
Want to see where you stand and next steps to take in your sales performance management journey? Take our free 60-second SPM assessment.