Don't Rely on Your Gut: The Future of Management is Data

5 min read

If you’re reading this article carefully, you’ll notice some of the words are spelled slightly differently than you’re used to, and that’s because we were lucky enough to have our Vice President, EMEA, Tom Castley, write this insightful post. Make sure you’re following @XactlyEMEA and @castleyt on Twitter to stay up to date with all of the exciting things going on across the pond. We are living in the golden age of digital, surrounded by increasing amounts of data every day. One way or another, data finds its way into almost everything we do, from online shopping to targeted ads, and even healthcare. So why not apply that to business – and more specifically, management? A company’s most valuable asset is its people, and great management of teams is essential for success. Businesses need to ensure they are making use of data to ensure they are supporting employees effectively and helping them to perform at their best. With careful interpretation of this data, businesses can track and analyse employee performance. Using smart performance management tools, managers can both reward great performances and identify where further training is needed. These platforms can track specific areas of performance depending on what the business’s priorities are – for example, customer acquisition, accelerating revenue, increasing margin, account penetration, and the list goes on. So how can data help organisations to improve their business and drive motivation with their workforce? Start with these three steps:

  • In the first instance, businesses need to start collecting the right information. Automating incentive compensation schemes is a great way to do this. For example, companies with salespeople can use the Xactly solution to track the performance of their teams through automated commission calculations. This means that salespeople are able to track and analyse their own performance, giving them the insight to improve. And for the business, having an automated platform collecting employees’ performance metrics helps accumulate the data efficiently, and provides a holistic view of the entire company, whilst saving the costs associated with a manual ‘black box approach’.
  • Secondly, once businesses have begun collecting the data, managers need to be supported to analyse it effectively and use it to identify successes and also areas for concern amongst their sales teams. As a result, managers can work with the employees to reward them accordingly, or develop a personalised training plan to address any gaps that arise. For employees, viewing the data on their performance (and what it means in terms of commission) will motivate them to excel.
  • Finally, businesses need to ensure they use this data to optimise, by relaying the information back to other business functions, such as HR! How do businesses know what good looks like if they have nothing accurate to measure it against? Businesses can use data and feed this back to HR to help with their recruitment efforts. Xactly Insights™ can help businesses take this one step further, enabling companies to benchmark within their company, and also against peers in the industry. This can drive the justification for some very competitive packages, without companies being blind to the behaviour of the industry as a whole!

At the end of the day, data is the key tool in a manager’s toolbox. In the absence of data, managers rely on their gut – in the same way that Sunday League football managers use their instinct when coaching. Premier League managers on the other hand rely on reams of data, from Opta statistics to TV replays and more. Data provides managers with an evidence-based view of their team and supports them in making tactical training decisions that get the most out of each employee to drive success for the whole business.