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A recent Alexander Group survey showed 59 percent of participants reported quota setting as the top challenge among over 20 choices for their sales compensation program. Accenture research tells us that about 90 percent of companies leverage some quota-based incentives. Clearly, quota setting and management is a major focus for most sales teams. Read more

Squeaky wheels usually don’t go away; they just get louder.

Imagine you purchase a new car. The car is shiny and runs great, but after a year maybe there are few things you wish were different – the seat design could be more comfortable or the road noise is louder than you expected. Maybe you just bought the standard model. Now you wish you researched a bit more or requested a few more accessories. Or maybe in reality you just need a quick tune up. Read more

In the age of cloud-based applications and anytime access across many devices, having digital security in place that’s smart, flexible, and reliable is essential. Every day, RSA sales reps help businesses meet these requirements with industry-leading security solutions, providing them with the peace of mind and confidence needed to be successful. RSA in turn wanted to give reps that same level of certainty about their compensation payouts so that they could move from deal to deal without having to worry about the accuracy of those numbers. Ironside’s Sales Performance Management (SPM) team partnered with RSA to help make this a reality. Read more

Medical devices save lives every day. You’d think a product with an upside like that would sell itself, but in reality it requires a knowledgeable, highly motivated sales force to deliver it where it’s needed most. Nova Biomedical, one of the leading manufacturers of blood analyzers, wanted to be certain they were giving their sales reps the support they needed to excel in their space. To accomplish this, they partnered with Ironside to establish a modern sales performance management (SPM) system and strategy that would be capable of providing the robust compensation and reporting assets needed to accelerate sales success. Read more

“Content is King” is a phrase made most famous by Bill Gates in a 1996 essay, but it’s been used many times before. I believe he was referring to what will drive the internet for years to come. In my mind, this saying was and is still true in media. Just take a look at Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and other organizations creating original content. You can even go further outward and consider any social media platform and all original (or shared) content in a company’s data stores. Read more

I belong to many Sales Operations and Sales Compensation social media groups. Recently, I read a post regarding what defines Sales Performance Management (SPM) that was very tool-based.  It prompted me to think about all the systems and data utilized and captured in a mature sales data strategy and to ask myself the following question:  What is the heart of SPM? Read more

Continuing from where we left off in the last article, I wanted to go more in-depth on which incentive compensation management (ICM) reports you should start with as you begin moving toward a full-scale sales performance management (SPM) strategy. In my experience, ICM implementations include at minimum both a compensation statement containing high-level compensation information and a detail statement, also called an Individual Performance Report. Although the quality can vary, these two reports cover the immediate needs of an ICM system in which the primary goal is to calculate and pay variable compensation. Read more

Maria Ippolito Director Sales Performance Management

Ironside is excited to welcome Maria Ippolito into our organization as our new Practice Director for Sales Performance Management. She’s a high-energy, results-driven executive who has over 25 years of experience in engineering, marketing, sales, and sales operations management. Maria’s dynamic blend of expertise and industry experience perfectly embodies Ironside’s commitment to meeting the unique requirements of each of our customers’ sales performance management (SPM) goals and provides the foundation needed to take our existing SPM practice to the next level.

With a proven track record of driving overall profitability and effectiveness of sales channels in both startup- and enterprise-level technology and life sciences companies, Maria is able to hit the perfect mix of technical skill and strategic awareness needed to show clients the value that SPM processes can bring to their organizations.

During her career, Maria has directed and supported initiatives around many SPM-related activities, such as:

  • Business planning tool implementation
  • Sales analytics and reporting
  • Quota setting and territory design
  • Compensation design and administration
  • ICM system implementations
  • CRM implementations
  • Sales process design and optimization
  • Mobile sales enablement deployments
  • Competency profiling for sales force recruitment and expansion
  • Sales training and coaching

Regardless of the project she takes on, Maria’s core focus is always transformation to drive top line revenue and bottom line cost savings. She redefines how companies think about their sales process and the technologies they’re using by building highly functional teams, planning and rolling out process changes, and acquiring the tools organizations require to improve and optimize.

Maria’s list of credentials is extensive and distinguished. She has held key directorial positions at places like Smith & Nephew, Sales Science, Bolt, Beranek & Newman, and ITP Boston, Inc. and has overseen major process changes and improvements at all these companies. She also served as a cofounder of her own company, which was based on manufacturing simulation software that she took part in developing after receiving her Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Industrial Engineering and Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.

Here are some highlights from Maria’s numerous accomplishments:

  • Successfully integrated two separate sales forces into a single unit after a $1.7 billion acquisition by Smith & Nephew, the largest they had ever made. Assimilated three different sales channels and restructured the entire US field organization, including new territory alignments and compensation plans.
  • Built a world-class ICM system from the ground up at Smith & Nephew, transforming what was a manual process relying on Excel spreadsheets into a robust automated database for compensation plan design simulation and compensation plan efficiency analysis. The infrastructure she put in place now supports 1200 reps on 40 plans across 5 channels.
  • Established a center of excellence for commercial process optimization at Smith & Nephew to drive internal efficiencies and sales force effectiveness.
  • Championed Smith & Nephew’s transition to a modern business intelligence (BI) framework, providing a self-service sales analytics tool to the company’s field reps to encourage data-driven sales activities.
  • Rebuilt the North American sales team at Bolt, Beranek & Newman, motivating the existing employees and recruiting new sales executives and technical consultants to create a high-performance sales engine.
  • Developed and marketed the first commercially available input-driven manufacturing simulation software for optimizing discrete part manufacturing processes, cofounding her own company, Horizon Software, Inc., based on the technology. Horizon was later acquired by ITP Boston, Inc.

If you’d like to see what SPM can do for your company, check out our SPM page.

Are your reports an asset or a liability? It’s an important question, but it’s one that many compensation administrators typically see as secondary as they put on and take off the many hats they wear on a daily basis. It’s time we started reevaluating that assumption. Of course, the number one priority with incentive compensation management (ICM) is paying commissions correctly and on time, but a strong reporting strategy tied to that process can make a huge difference in terms of building employee trust and increasing productivity. Read more

Selling financial services effectively requires a highly motivated, deeply knowledgeable team that can keep up with all the shifting recommendations, regulations, and investment options endemic to the industry. In this kind of a chaotic atmosphere where priorities change by the minute, it’s crucial to know with certainty that your sales organization is not only taking action to secure new customers but is also targeting that action and optimizing it to have the largest impact possible. One of the top mutual fund and financial services groups in the world engaged with Ironside to put this kind of transparency in place and establish strong sales performance management (SPM) strategies that would drive effective actions from the executive level down to the individual field reps. Read more