Three Sales Enablement Issues Solved with Sales Performance Management

sales enablement happy team concept

While working as a Compensation Administrator, I used IBM Cognos ICM, a sales performance management software solution, to empower account executives to understand their compensation plan quickly, so they could get back to selling. The visualizations and rankings available in IBM Cognos ICM are excellent sales enablement tools for motivating individuals at all levels of a business. When leveraged correctly, these resources allow territory and channel managers to speed the production and delivery of scorecards and other reporting deliverables, leading to faster, more strategic decision making.

Sales performance management solutions empower organizational leaders as well as their sales forces. These organizations often struggle with sales enablement, which provides a set of tools, knowledge, and processes that allows a sales force to succeed.

Struggles with sales enablement regularly include the following three issues:

1. Changing Business Objectives – new products or marketing campaigns
2. Organizational Change – territory and quota changes
3. Reporting – communicating and motivating

A stated earlier, the key to sales enablement is in empowerment – enabling business leaders and administrators to facilitate change while also supporting the sales people working for them with the right information.

Let’s explore the challenges above in a bit more detail.

Aligning a Compensation Plan with Business Objectives

Most companies change products or services or add marketing campaigns over time, which in turn changes company objectives. Despite this common need, a third of companies still cannot modify their compensation plans within one quarter. In fact, some need more than six months¹. The ability to quickly modify your process to the business goals can be crucial to survival, especially when the competition can adjust.

Managing People and their Targets

Sales force turnover is above 20% currently. That level of change requires businesses to adjust territories or quotas easily and requires flexibility while new reps ramp up. The number one behavior that compensation plans impact is meeting territory targets, while number three is ensuring most reps meet their individual quotas¹.

Reporting – Effective Communication

Everyone needs to know where they stand today; especially if plans, territories, or quotas change. Fewer than 10% of companies are able to exceed sales manager’s expectations in regards to performance metrics¹. Good decisions, whether from sales reps or chief executives, only come out of good information.

Solving Sales Enablement Issues – SPM in Action

There are many ways to help enable the sales force. One critical solution is Sales Performance Management (SPM) software like IBM Cognos ICM. SPM empowers everyone from Compensation Plan designers to Account Executives to Sales and Marketing Executives. Considering the three issues mentioned above, how can IBM Cognos ICM software solve them?

First and foremost, it provides the right amount of flexibility to make and facilitate change. Executives can easily make adjustments as the business environment changes. Depending on the adjustment needed, managers can modify quotas or Administrators can implement a compensation plan design modifications.

Additionally, IBM Cognos ICM provides these other advantages:

– Guided User Interfaces instead of coding help businesses to change plans as fast as possible.
– Workflows facilitate managers to making, reviewing, and approving quotas or territory changes.
– Presenter, a powerful reporting module, promotes effective communication at all levels.

Again, my experience is from implementing IBM Cognos ICM in industry. I know it works and I would be happy to talk about it. Tell me what struggles you have with enabling your sales force, and my fellow Ironside consultants and I will do all that we can to bring you the benefits of this dynamic and empowering solution.


1) 2013 Sales Compensation & Performance Management, CSO Insights