Sales engagement is on the rise again, but it’s still not where it needs to be. This was the key takeaway from the Xactly and Salesforce hosted Dreamforce session (see pictured below), "Supercharging CRM, CPQ, SPM." And while Gallup State of the Global Workplace reports that sales professionals have shown a higher level of engagement over the past 4 years, there’s definitely a ton of room to boost rep performance.
Xactly VP Strategic Marketing Erik Charles speaking at Dreamforce.
Improvement starts with the tools. But instead of suggesting that sales reps use yet another tool, the talk turned to maximizing and consolidating the one sales platform that’s not going anywhere at your organization: Salesforce. Before we jump into how you could be getting more from your SFDC instance, let’s take a look at the obstacles that are getting in between your reps and their numbers.
What’s Getting in the Way of Your Reps Selling
Too many tech tools result in two obvious, yet often, unacknowledged consequences. The first is wasted time. This leads to the second, unnecessary costs. In an ideal world, reps would go from customer to customer seamlessly selling. In reality, their day-to-day looks more like logging in and out of different online software.
This incessant sign-in dance can take the form of jumping into email, CRMs, reporting software, commissions tools, etc. The consequence for reps is that this flow acts like a hill climb, slowing down progress and giving time to processes that do not actually involve selling.
The irony, of course, is that these tools are often meant to increase rep performance. Instead, email communications, Slack chats, lead research, and report building prove to be obstacles on the path to productivity. There’s a turning point for these technologies that transform benefit into hinderance. And this should come as no surprise as the sales tech landscape currently looks like this:
Sure, you’re not using all of these (or hope you’re not!), but even just a handful of these tools are enough to slow down your reps and put undue stress on the company’s wallet. The solution, then, is to cut the fat and optimize the path to a sale. Best way to do this is to centralize the must-have components of a modern sales platform: CRM, CPQ, and SPM.
Centralize CRM, CPQ, and SPM
Salesforce makes creating a single source of truth for CRM, CPQ, and SPM easy. With Salesforce CPQ, you can configure, price, and quote with ease and without the fear of errors slowing down the sales process. Salesforce CPQ helps you configure complex products, control pricing discounts and approvals, and deliver branded proposals while never leaving a single platform.
Salesforce Billing helps your revenue teams drive subscriptions by creating and sending invoices, managing billing, helping to recognize revenue through back-end ERP systems, and reporting on quotes, orders, invoices, and payments. But this doesn’t cover what’s arguably the most critical component of your digital sales engine. The compensation that keeps your reps running forward. For instance:
- Locke et al: Incentives drove a 30% productivity increase
- Stajkovic & Luthans: Incentives drove a 17% performance increase
- Condly et al: Incentives drove a 22% gain in performance (average of 64 studies)
The question, then, becomes what’s the vehicle for deploying incentives.
What Drives Your Sales Team?
The trick to making these incentives effective is the right delivery mechanism for your proverbial “carrot.” In this case, your SPM (sales performance management) system will make the needle move forward. But the same rules about tool usage apply. Your reps shouldn’t need yet another separate tool to check their commissions, estimate earnings, or track quota.
And fortunately, with Xactly they don’t have to. Xactly’s SPM/ICM plugs right into your SFDC instance, so salespeople never have to leave the platform. Beyond keeping everything within one solution, the benefit stems from Xactly’s ability to easily provide rep performance enhancing information:
- Allow reps to see how changes in products & pricing impact their commissions
- Maximize the Revenue Potential of every deal
- Quote to cash to commissions in minutes
The best part of this SPM/ICM integration is the way it reinforces your other Salesforce functions. Managers are provided with actionable data to make decisions that drive the bottom line. Clear visibility into SPIFs drives better use of CPQ. Lastly, relating Incentives to every step keeps sales teams focused and sets up a faster path to the right deals, closed faster, with a repeatable process. No one states these facts better than Salesforce themselves:
We used Xactly to introduce a SPIF for Service Cloud that drove an 80% increase in sales volume in the first year. – Sr. Director, Global Sales Compensation, Salesforce