• August 26, 2019
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

The Best Sales Performance Management (SPM) Software and Solutions: The 2019 CRM Market Leader Awards

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The global sales performance management market is expected to soar to $4.6 billion by 2023, up from $2.2 billion in 2017. This robust growth is being driven by changing market dynamics that are seeing companies move away from basic spreadsheets to more sophisticated solutions. While homegrown software and spreadsheets might have been the only choice in the past, those systems are no longer viable in the era of expanding sales channels, mobile sales teams, and intensified competition.

Analysts also point to a growing demand for robust capabilities that rely more on analytics, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies to not only track sales performance by each individual but also to predict outcomes, align team performance with overall sales strategies, and recommend training when sales reps come up short.


There is no doubt that Microsoft offers a full slate of business software, and its continued efforts to integrate them all together make it a perennial favorite among analysts and customers alike. “Microsoft’s strength is its integration into Office, SharePoint, Power BI, with all capabilities offered on a singular platform with low-code tooling,” says Kate Leggett, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. “Microsoft’s investments in AI and the capabilities of the Power BI platform make it an increasingly attractive choice for customers,” adds Rebecca Wettemann, a vice president at Nucleus Research. Its tight integration with the rest of Microsoft’s products also make its CRM offering a price leader, as Microsoft’s cost score (4.0) was a category best.

With scores of 4.0 in both company direction and customer satisfaction, Salesforce.com proves itself an industry leader yet again in 2019. Analysts were clearly impressed with its efforts to incorporate artificial intelligence through its Einstein engine. “As Salesforce delivers Einstein updates on a regular basis, customers are able to integrate SPM into their regular sales activities and take advantage of AI,” Wettemann points out. Jim Dickie, cofounder of CSO Insights and independent research fellow at Sales Mastery, also sees huge opportunity for Salesforce. “In addition to enhancements in core analytics and Einstein capabilities, the pending addition of Tableau make this a very robust offering,” he says. As usual, though, Salesforce continues to struggle with depth of functionality and cost. “It has a more expensive total cost of ownership when adding on capabilities that the core solution lacks,” Leggett states.

SalesLoft is a newcomer to the leaderboard, propelled by a recent stretch of really strong growth and key industry partnerships with companies like Highspot and LinkedIn. Its scores of 4.0 in direction, satisfaction, and cost are all at the high end of the spectrum, but it’s real strength lies in its depth of functionality (4.1). “SalesLoft is seeing strong growth,” says Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research. “It has one of the key offerings on shortlists for SPM.”

For years, Xactly has offered a pure-play solution for sales forces both large and small, and its solutions are robust, as evidenced by its 4.1 in depth of functionality. And it is acquiring companies “to expand its footprint into adjacent areas,” Leggett notes, pointing to its acquisition of OpsPanda, an AI-based sales resource and capacity planning application provider; AlignStar, a territory resource management provider; and Obero, a fellow SPM provider. Based on those deals, Xactly scored high in company direction (3.8).


With a category-high 4.4 in depth of functionality, Oracle proves it has continued to invest in its SPM products. Analysts were particularly impressed with the AI-driven recommendations and coaching that Oracle has added recently.

“It’s a best-in-breed, complete solution for enterprise organizations,” Leggett says. “The product is infused with intelligence-driven scenarios to help optimize guided selling scenarios, riskiest deals, suggestions of next actions, white space analysis, etc.”


Though IBM is not known as a sales technology provider, it has quietly been building a stable of clients that are very satisfied with what it does offer: Its 4.2 in customer satisfaction was the highest in the field. At the same time, its category-low 3.0 in cost kept it off the leaderboard.


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