One of the primary benefits of an Incentive Compensation Management (ICM) system is reporting on sales performance metrics.
With the data available in a single location, staff can immediately produce reports with the most up-to-date customer, product or sales information. It’s a key driver for a company’s sales and management teams.
But how do you know whether your company is getting the most from its sales performance metrics?
How do you remain confident that the data is accurate?
When it comes to adopting ICM and reporting metrics, every company is at a different stage in terms of comfort, need and usage. At each stage there are factors that determine the reliability of the sales performance metrics and whether a company can be confident of its accuracy.
The Awareness Stage
Most companies begin their ICM experience by understanding they need better insight into performance, but they struggle with getting reliable sales performance metrics.
Frequently, at this stage:
- Reporting is limited to spreadsheets
- Data is accessible to the spreadsheet owner only
- Specific metrics are often unavailable
- Data accuracy is untested
As the company progresses, it works to make sure the data is available and reliable. Data availability is normally the result of one or more automated systems coming online, such as CRM or ERP. However, the reporting tools are limited and the data is not yet integrated.
At this stage you will find:
- Reports are mostly built in Excel
- Charts appear as a “one-off” rather than as an update in an ongoing series
- More complex reports are often created with assistance from IT or consultants
Most importantly, at this stage reporting is not linked to the master dataset. There is no drill-through or drill-down ability to conduct in-depth research. There are also no ad-hoc analysis tools such as slice-and-dice or pivot.
Advanced companies use an Incentive Compensation Management (ICM) solution to produce reliable and accurate reports. The ICM solution acts as a data mart to the reporting engine. Users are able to present data using graphs and charts and offer reliable period-over-period comparisons.
Advanced users may require some outside help navigating the dataset or producing the reports, but the ongoing maintenance of the reports is done entirely in-house.
At the expert level, the company builds its own reports with in-house resources. By this stage, the company is well versed on the benefits of ICM and is able to navigate the data structures independently.
Managers rely on their ICM solution to provide comprehensive, user-friendly dashboards with key business metrics.
Reports are designed according to the end-user’s specific needs, including:
- Required metrics, targets, and benchmarks
- Timelines for period-over-period comparison
- Report filters used to target specific results by preconfigured attributes
- Drill-through where additional detail may be required
- Other specific factors such as sales representatives, customers, prospects and territories
Expert companies also focus on the user experience by ensuring:
- A consistent look and feel across all reports
- Ease of use through report design standards
- A well-defined report accessibility framework
Climbing the Sales Performance Metrics Ladder
As a company “climbs” the ladder from awareness to expertise, the benefits derived from the sales performance metrics increase.
The initial stages will provide insight into sales effectiveness, while more advanced capabilities provide valuable business intelligence, speed-to-market advantages, and inform strategic discussions.
To learn more about the significant benefits of ICM, contact Intangent today.