Modeling and Forecasting for Sales Compensation Plan Changes

May 21, 2020
2 min read
Review tips from OpenSymmetry on how you can use sales performance management solutions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Sales teams are adjusting their strategies with multiple approaches, from commission rate adjustments and quota modifications to shifts in sales roles and changes in territory coverage. Monitoring sales performance may seem like a daunting task in the midst of these adjustments – so where do you start? 

Prepare to support or lead discussions about making changes to the sales strategy or sales goals by considering potential scenarios and how to model them. Best-of-breed SPM solutions provide the modeling capabilities to help identify the best approaches to address the anticipated challenges in the sales forecasting process.

Modeling various scenarios will help you address the following questions and assess the impact:

  • What is the anticipated impact on our cost of sales?
  • How do these changes impact our top, bottom, and average performers?
  • When should we make these changes to ensure the best result?
  • What is the impact if we reverse or soften these changes before the end of the year?
  • Will the changes influence any year-over-year measures?
  • How do these changes impact other incentive components?
  • Will the plan continue to function properly with temporary changes?
  • Does system-generated reporting properly display the impact of changes?
  • Are there existing caps or minimum earnings that need to be adjusted in conjunction with these changes?

When changes are made, it is important to have the tools available to test and revise sales forecasts, as well as to model alternative concepts that align with the changing business landscape. This is not feasible in a production environment where it comes down to the wire to generate up-to-date sales and compensation numbers for sales teams to track their progress.

One approach to use here is to simply leverage and maintain the testing and QA environment as a place to model out sales scenarios on a go-forward basis. This should result in an easy transition once all your plan changes are in place since all the proper people should already be engaged to prepare the environment for this purpose.

As you make transitions, be sure to consider these questions:

  • Will you still need the environment for continued testing and other activities unrelated to the changes recently made
  • Are you able to load all the same data feeds into your modeling environment as you load into production?
  • Who is responsible for sales forecasting and modeling? Are there people already supporting this effort?
  • How will you make use of the information you gain from sales forecasting?

Even though the current situation is uncharted waters for everyone, by having clarity on the answers to the above questions, sales comp teams will have the confidence to execute the required changes. This then gives sales leaders and sales reps a clear understanding of new sales predictions and changes, as well as the impact to them.

 As you navigate this challenging time, OpenSymmetry has published a white paper on best practices for managing sales performance management solutions amidst the changes. Download the full OpenSymmetry SPM white paper here.

The following blog is a modified excerpt from a recent white paper on Best Practices for Managing SPM Solutions During the COVID-19 Pandemic by OpenSymmetry, an Xactly implementation partner.

  • Sales Performance Management
  • Sales Planning
Eugene So
Eugene So
Senior Content Writer at OpenSymmetry

Eugene So is a Senior Content Writer at OpenSymmetry and an avid advocate of all things useful for sales ops and sales comp professionals. She earned marketing and advertising degrees from The University of Texas at Austin (hook’em horns!) and is fluent in SEO, social media, and content marketing strategy.