Sales Performance Management

Sales performance management software assists sales management teams in monitoring the activity of sales personnel throughout the sales lifecycle by tracking progress toward target sales quotas and goals, and monitoring sales closure rates.

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Varicent helps businesses accurately track, manage, and report on sales processes through the Sales Performance Management (SPM) solution. This solution helps businesses realize bottom-line efficiencies and top-line results throug...Read more about Varicent

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Buyers Guide

Last Updated: May 24, 2022

Software Applications for Sales Performance Management

Your sales organization has the difficult task of managing and incentivizing your team of sales personnel, each with their own compensation packages and commission structures. It’s also vital for your company to have accurate predictions for upcoming sale closures in order to forecast future revenues and maintain proper inventory levels to keep up with customer demands.

With sales performance management software, you can manage these issues, track performance of the entire team, and monitor sales targets and goals in one place. We can help you understand how to choose the right software that will suit your type of sales organization.

Here’s what we'll cover:

What is sales performance management software?

Sales performance management software assists sales management teams in monitoring the activity of sales personnel throughout the sales lifecycle by tracking progress toward target sales quotas and goals, and monitoring sales closure rates. It also provides an interface for sales managers to design sales incentive programs, create reports that show how well sales personnel are progressing, and distribute rewards as they are earned.

Common features of sales performance management software

While features vary from product to product, sales performance management software typically offers some or all of the following functionality:

Incentive management Create and track sales incentive programs, such as profit sharing, stock awards, and individual bonus plans.
Online voice transmission Convert your voice into a digital signal, compress it, and send it over the internet. On the receiving end, the digital data is uncompressed into the sound that can be heard through a headset or speakerphone.
Reporting and analytics Compile information about the individual salespeople (or the team as a whole), such as prospecting output, progress toward incentivized goals, and sales cycle timelines.
Sales planning Analyze sales cycles to predict future revenue and plan for product delivery and training.
Commission management Store a record of employee compensation programs and monitor commission payment timelines.
Forecasting Predict future cash flow based on past and present sales cycle timelines.
Goal setting and tracking Track progress of salespeople toward established measurable goals over a specific period of time and allow managers to change goals as needed.
Quota planning Analyze past and present sales personnel performance to help plan future target quotas.
Territory management Allow managers to organize employee target territories based on geographical, vertical market, or customer buying trends.
Application programming interface (API) Integrate software with third-party applications and databases.

What type of buyer are you?

As you begin narrowing down your options for sales performance management software, you need to understand the type of buyer you are. This will help you better understand your organization's needs and the required software features:

  • Retail stores: Due to the typically brief nature of brick-and-mortar retail sales employment, managers may not necessarily have proper management experience to adequately assess sales personnel performance. Sales performance management software can provide a reference tool to these managers and guide them through incentivizing salespeople and monitoring progress.
  • Commission-based sales organizations: These buyers employ salespeople whose income relies partly on commission and bonuses related directly to their earned sales revenues. It’s vital that these companies have management and tracking tools to manage sales quotas, sales contest totals, and commission payouts and timelines.
  • Hard goods: These companies sell physical products—such as automobiles, computer hardware and clothing—and need to be able to confirm current and future inventory in order to keep up with customer demand. By analyzing sales lifecycles and probabilities, these companies can avoid potential supply or inventory deficiencies.

Benefits of sales performance management software

  • Empowers salespeople and management: Salespeople are by definition motivated by commission and incentives. Sales performance management software allows managers to create customizable commission structures for individual salespeople while simultaneously creating shorter term incentive programs, such as sales contests. This allows managers to play a more active role in assisting salespeople in achieving their goals.
  • Monitors sales activity: By tracking customer sales cycles and closing probability rates, companies have a better understanding of future cash flow, necessary product inventory, and resources required for delivery and billing. Sales performance management software also provides a great tool with which management can set performance quotas and identify underproducing employees.

Key considerations

Although sales performance management software provides significant benefits to a sales organization, there are some potential issues to keep in mind:

  • Need for in-house support: Turnover rates in sales organizations can be quite high as sales reps come and go. This puts a lot of pressure on in-house IT staff to provide support software on a variety of personal devices and operating systems. Additionally, considering that all sales personnel will have the ability to enter customer information, proper training will be required to ensure the integrity of input information.
  • Security of commission structures: In sales organizations, it can be common to have sales personnel that are compensated with different commission rates. Proper security measures need to be in place so that salespeople are not aware of how their fellow coworkers are being incentivized.
  • Standards for data entry: The old adage garbage in, garbage out applies here. Considering that information collected in the field will be entered by a variety of users, extra care should be taken when defining customer information fields. These fields should also force salespeople to use the proper formatting when inputting data and reject data entries that don’t follow entry criteria.

Market trends to understand

When researching the sales performance management software market, there are some market trends to consider to help you make the right decision for your business.

Mobile device dependence: Outside sales representatives ideally spend most of their time in the field, visiting new clients in person. Direct input of customer data via a mobile device is vital in updating information on client needs, buying cycles, and product requirements while in the field.

Integration with third-party software: Application programming interfaces (APIs) are increasingly being made available for companies that require integration with other line-of-business applications, such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems. By providing open programming architecture, sales organizations can more easily create custom code that makes use of interconnectivity between applications.

Note: The application selected in this article is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation. It has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.