Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

Sales Agenda for Applications and Technology in 2015

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 17, 2015 8:36:29 PM

Most people in business management admit that sales is more an art than a science. Organizations have long struggled to find the right mix to improve its effectiveness, and few get the most out of available technology. For many the default is still to use sales force automation (SFA) and spreadsheets to manage processes and try to increase the productivity of sales staff. In our view they should take a holistic approach to sales processes from contact to close and support everything from sales forecasting to pipeline management to compensation with applications designed for these purposes. Those in sales operations need to apply analytics to understand and fine-tune sales activities. Those in sales management need applications that can help recruit, engage and retain the best talent. Even more than elsewhere in business, in sales people matter, and the organizations that most empower their teams are likely to get the best results. Optimizing people and processes requires a balance of information and technology to support the various needs of the sales organization.

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Topics: Sales, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Recurring Revenue, sales analytics, Sales Compensation, Sales Forecasting, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), SFA

Managing Sales Compensation Requires Commitment

Posted by Ventana Research on Jan 21, 2015 9:18:08 AM

Sales organizations are under constant pressure to maximize their potential. To accomplish this they need to integrate their people and processes with those of the finance and operations groups and have access to all available information and useful technology. This is particularly true in the area of sales compensation, which when managed properly recognizes accomplishments, rewards success and motivates people. However, we find that few sales organizations take a comprehensive approach to sales compensation management.

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Topics: Sales, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Compensation, Sales Operations, commission, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM)

Beqom Simplifies Compensation in Sophisticated Ways

Posted by Ventana Research on Jan 15, 2015 10:00:51 AM

It is more important than ever for businesses to attract and retain the best talent, and managing compensation effectively is an essential tool for doing so. Obviously companies must pay well to compete, but managing salary, merit pay, variable pay and incentives for employees, tracking their hiring anniversaries and conducting accurate performance appraisals make total compensation management a complex process. All of this must be managed within budget and policy guidelines. As organizations grow and require more employees, the challenges multiply and the difficulty increases. Our benchmark research finds that inconsistent execution is the top impediment to effective compensation management for nearly half (47%) of organizations. Software designed for this purpose can help.

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Topics: HCM, human resources, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Compensation, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Compensation, Customer Performance Management (CPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), HR, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Talent Management, TCM, total compensation management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Oracle Provides Cloud Platform and Applications for Everyone in Sales

Posted by Ventana Research on Nov 4, 2014 9:13:46 PM

At its Oracle OpenWorld the multibillion technology provider showcased the breadth and depth of its cloud computing applications and platform. Chairman Larry Ellison proclaimed it the only unified and open approach in the industry. He criticized other large application vendors that use multiple platforms to support their applications, use a proprietary layer that is not fully extensible, provide only a portion of applications needed to run the business or run on Oracle’s database technology. These technical merits may not be relevant to the decision-making processes of business but can be critical for CIO and IT. But the strength of the Oracle Cloud Computing portfolio, which includes infrastructure, platform, tools and applications, is so impressive that our firm awarded Oracle the Technology Innovation Award in Cloud Computing for 2014. This builds from my analysis earlier in the year on the overall efforts of Oracle for cloud computing.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Compensation, Sales Operations, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA

Xactly Delivers New Inspiration for Sales to Maximize its Potential

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 9, 2014 11:22:25 AM

In an analyst perspective at the beginning of this year I wrote that sales organizations must step beyond conventional wisdom to generate the best outcomes. One such step is to invest in software that delivers immediate value to manage sales and be efficient in its operations. Our latest research on sales organizations finds that inconsistent execution (53%), scattered information (48%) and limited visibility (42%) are motivating investment to improve sales. At CompCloud, its annual conference, Xactly unveiled advances in its software to help improve the effectiveness and productivity of sales organizations. Spokespeople said the company’s sales compensation products have helped users manage US$10 billion in commissions in the past two years.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales, Forecast, objectives, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Commission, Sales Compensation, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Insights, Quotas, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Xactly

The Business of Sales and Marketing – Our Research Agenda for 2013

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 11, 2013 12:39:29 PM

Most organizations see improving the effectiveness of sales as a way to increase productivity. Those organizations that take advantage of the latest sales applications and technology are finding themselves with a competitive advantage, but many organizations lack the time and resources to assess and deploy appropriate platforms. That’s a shame, since most sales organizations have plenty to improve in their selling, forecasting, incentives and planning according to our latest research on sales performance management. We found a high demand even for many of the basics; for instance, many organizations still use personal spreadsheets or outdated applications that are costly to manage. At the same time, marketing organizations are investing heavily to be more revenue- and sales-focused to ensure they maintain relevance and contribute to their organizations’ performance and profitability. Both sales and marketing have fixated on specific processes and how they can work better together.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales, Social Media, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), PIM, Sales Compensation, Sales Forecasting, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), CPQ, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

The Business of Sales Research Agenda for 2012

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 6, 2012 10:28:00 PM

Investing wisely in sales-related people and processes is a key to business success. In 2012, helping sales staff perform at their highest levels should be a top priority for management. That may take some effort, according to our benchmark research, which indicates that only 14 percent of sales organizations operate at the highest level of innovation and competitiveness. In recent years, most organizations merely discussed moving beyond using only their sales force automation application and Microsoft Office for improving sales efficiency. Now sales organizations can move beyond systems that were designed decades ago, thanks to the availability of a broad range of applications to support sales activities and processes. In fact dozens of new types of sales applications are available to help sales focus on selling, which creates another issue. Where should sales organizations focus their limited resources and budgets?

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Topics: Planning, Sales, Social Media, assets, forecasting, leads, Learning, Mobile Business, objectives, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Performance, pipeline, Reporting, rewards, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, sales force automation and territory, social enterprise, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Business Performance Management (BPM), channel, coaching, commission, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), incentives, pricing, promotion, proposal, quota, quoting, Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

NICE to Acquire Merced Systems for Excellence in Customer Service and Sales

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 6, 2011 11:45:21 PM

NICE Systems last week announced an agreement to acquire Merced Systems, a provider of business applications for customer service and sales organizations. This acquisition slipped by with little fanfare, but it marks a significant milestone for NICE, a major provider of applications and technology for call centers and a player in their evolution into multichannel contact centers. Building on a good 2010, as my colleague Richard Snow noted, NICE expects to reach almost $800 million of revenue in 2011, which would make it one of the largest companies in its segment. NICE has made multiple acquisitions to build its software portfolio, including purchases of Actimize, CyberTech, eGlue and others mentioned below. It recently won our 2011 Ventana Research Leadership Award in the contact center category with its customer deployment at Alliance Data. NICE Systems plans to have Merced Systems as a foundation of its enterprise systems and a complement to its contact center workforce optimization offering. This purchase builds on its other acquisitions, including FizzBack recently and IEX and Performix in 2006, which helped NICE establish its customer service and back office agent performance management software. That area has not grown as quickly as NICE would like, mostly due to marketing that was not aggressive enough in attracting customers. NICE recently rebranded its NICE SmartCenter for helping agents, as Richard noted, and is leveraging its assets into the back office, which he also assessed. Our benchmark research on contact center technology found that companies’ priorities for future investments match up well with NICE Systems’ focuses on expanding customer service agent applications and analytics applications.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Marketing, Merced Systems, NICE, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, sales analytics, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Business Performance Management (BPM), Call Center, CFO, CMO, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Excentive Provides a Simpler Path to Total Compensation Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 30, 2011 2:26:56 AM

Retaining talent and managing financials related to compensation should be a top priority for the HR and finance functions of companies, and many of them realize this. In our recent benchmark research in total compensation management, 72 percent of participants said it’s important or very important to have a compensation system aligned to their processes. One newer provider to the market, Excentive, started in 2002 in Europe and expanded globally in 2009. Its Excentive Compensation Cockpit supplies more than just a managerial view of compensation; it’s a total compensation management application that enables users to design and model compensation across an entire workforce or for the specific needs of the sales and service lines of business.

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Topics: Performance Management, Human Capital Management, human resources, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Compensation, Sales Operations, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Compensation, Excentive, Financial Performance Management (FPM), productivity, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Talent Management, total compensation management, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Gaining Sales Traction with Merced Systems

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 30, 2011 9:23:37 AM

Looking to make your sales force more effective by automating its operations? Merced Systems can provide the traction your sales team needs. The company has been providing applications for more than a decade to customer service and more recently sales organizations, helping both measure and manage performance. Several years ago Merced Systems made a substantial investment to expand to the sales organization with new applications and now offers analytics and reporting, compensation and incentives, and coaching and talent development.  

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Topics: Sales, Social Media, Marketing, Merced Systems, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, sales analytics, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)