Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Sales Compensation Style
On-demand sales compensation management specialist Centive has made generally available fall 2006 release of Compel, the vendor's fourth major release over the past 18 months. The multitenant solution, which features capabilities like custom reporting, document workflow with automated plan approval, and operational enhancements, automates the entire sales compensation process in a secure, centralized system, according to the company.
As its name suggests, the release's custom reporting tool, Compel Report Builder, is a "capability for business users, not IT, but for sales operations people and finance people to build their own reports," says Jim Triandiflou, COO. The tool enables users to "capture and package the atomic level data in a way that gives them insight into their business."
The solution also features several operational enhancements centered on automating the sales compensation management process. Perhaps the most notable enhancement centers on workflow automation catering to salespeople's ability to accept their sales compensation plans. Triandiflou cites a typical scenario that many companies deal with--designing next year's comp plans, and then sending them out via email to their hundreds of sales reps who have to print, sign, and fax them back to accept the plan. The release replaces this manual approach, allowing "comp administrators to send out with the push of a single button the compensation plan to their sales reps," Triandiflou says. Each rep opens the plan and clicks the accept button, which creates an electronic signature, essentially providing companies with a more efficient approach for plan approval.
The release also automates the process of assigning credit for a transaction. "You may have four or five sales reps that cover the same geographic territory," Triandiflou says. "What we have done is we've automated credit assignment for complex sales models that are more typical in large organizations." Another enhancement is geared toward adding workflow around sales executives' ability to approve commissions.
Overall, Triandiflou contends that the release helps companies improve sales performance by providing them with insight into their businesses, comparing the process to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. "Paying on time and accurately is the bottom tier of the pyramid," he says. "You have to pay on time and accurately to get in the game. The companies that get the greatest value out of their commission systems leverage the data in the system to gain insight [into] their business and then make decisions off of that insight. That's what we're allowing companies to do. We're allowing them to self-actualize to get to the top of that Maslow's Hierarchy and harness the data in their commission system to gain insight on their business and then to act upon that insight."
"The vast majority of companies that we see out there are running their sales compensation management programs using Excel spreadsheets," says Jim Dickie, a partner with CSO Insights. "On-demand compensation management is allowing companies to bring the science of compensation management into any company because they don't have to have the IT infrastructure to handle these really complex types of systems that ended up being built using an on-premise set of management solutions." He adds that many people say "I know the way I've been doing it with Excel's probably not the best way to do it but what's my alternative? On demand provides an alternative."
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