Organizations depend on highly motivated sales teams to generate revenue and stay ahead of the competition. As the all-important link between an organization’s products and services and the customer, the sales team is a principal driver of bottom-line growth for the success of the whole organization.

For organization leaders, incentivizing and correctly compensating these employees requires a firm grasp of sales performance management based on proven strategies and solutions aligned with organizational goals. In a climate of economic uncertainty, they are looking to trusted advisors to demystify sales performance and ensure business outcomes.

“Right before the fiscal year, companies start to ask the question, ‘How should we be compensating our salespeople?’” said David Cichelli, revenue growth advisor at The Alexander Group and nationally recognized for his work linking sales performance to organizational objectives. “This year, there were some special questions people were asking: ‘Are wages going up? What about virtual selling? How is that going to impact our sales organization? […] And what about turnover?’”

Cichelli shared his insights with SAP customers at the SAP North America Sales Performance Management Customer Summit, held February 21-22, 2023, at the SAP office in Tempe, Arizona. While sales compensation is often based on projections that are not very exact, it should not be overly complex either, according to Cichelli, who said, “The connection between quotas and sales projections has to be accurate. If you can’t get that right, you have the risk of either underfunding your salespeople or overpaying.” Watch an interview with Cichelli.

Hosted under the banner “Better Customer Outcomes,” the global summit attracted SAP customers from a wide array of the 25 industries that use SAP Sales Performance Management. They came to learn about the latest innovations and features across the full product portfolio, which includes SAP Commissions, SAP Territory and Quota, and SAP Agent Performance Management. Product experts and SAP partners were on hand to meet on an individual basis to answer questions and lead breakout sessions. The event showcased the SAP ecosystem with sponsorships from SpectrumTek, Canidium, OpenSymmetry, Accenture, and Cahaba Consulting Group. Watch an interview with Accenture about SAP Sales Performance Management.

“The power of SAP is really in the success of our customers,” said Maryann Abbajay, chief revenue officer, SAP SuccessFactors. “The innovation of SAP Sales Performance Management helps our customers win with compelling sales experiences. Hosting these customer summits is integral to maintaining a vibrant SAP community. Here, customers can talk to product experts and give their feedback on operational efficiency, user experience, and other areas that are essential to future-proofing their business.”

Commitment to Innovate, Empower, and Connect Customers

In 2022, more than 650 customers processed commissions for over 12 million payees with SAP Sales Performance Management, said Rahul Iyer, general manager, SAP Sales Performance Management, SAP SuccessFactors, who presented a state of the portfolio during his keynote. He noted an increase in adoption by global customers keen to take advantage of SAP’s capabilities. SAP Sales Performance Management is used by 25% of Fortune 100 companies, which rely on it to help reduce errors and payout time, provide an engaging user experience, and present a unified view of variable compensation. Iyer said that customers are increasingly taking a holistic approach to total compensation that includes various elements of pay, such as incentives, management by objectives, commissions, restricted stock units, and recognition programs.

SAP’s vision for the portfolio is organized on three pillars: to innovate by leading with insight, accelerating outcomes, and supporting sustainable innovation; to empower organizations with improved agility and enhanced expertise; and to connect with users on multiple feedback channels, including a new customer advisory board.

Iyer underscored SAP’s strategy and commitment to delivering greater customer value with the SAP Sales Performance Management portfolio of enterprise resource planning (ERP)-agnostic, cloud-based solutions through integration with powerful solutions like SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), SAP S/4HANA, SAP SuccessFactors Compensation, and offerings from SAP partners.

Discussing the product road map, Barbara Rubis Linning, global VP, Product & Engineering, SAP SuccessFactors, noted that customers are driving innovation in the portfolio. Her team is working on new features for pipeline redesign, which she said will bring an improvement in the user experience. “We also are continuing our journey forward with modeling,” she said. “That is exciting because it allows other people to really start engaging with this data, gaining intelligence from it, and using it for business purposes.” Watch the interview.

Efficiency and Increased Visibility Improve Employee Experience

As a highlight at the summit, customers shared their experiences deploying SAP Sales Performance Management to drive better business outcomes. Sessions from SAP customers provided valuable insights and real-world examples of how businesses are gaining operational efficiency.

PetSmart achieved a savings of US$1.5 million in labor reallocation when it replaced a patchwork of spreadsheets and legacy systems with SAP Sales Performance Management to figure compensation for its 1,700 store managers. The reduction in manual work and correcting errors meant that store managers could focus more on helping customers. “Store leaders, salon leaders, our distribution center team: they’re on the floor. They’re not behind a desktop. Now, they can open [the app] on whatever device they choose,” said Sam Boyer, senior manager, Human Capital Solutions, PetSmart, during an interview.

PetSmart has had a very positive response from sales associates, who like the dashboards in SAP Sales Performance Management. “They love the increased visibility. Now they can go into one system and see what their payout is,” said Boyer. “I just love the dashboards. It kind of pulls that curtain back and allows our associates to see how corporate is calculating their bonus.”

The dashboards are managed by PetSmart’s HR team in partnership with the HRIS team. Boyer’s team of business users has already successfully modified a widget with the low-code/no-code capabilities in SAP Sales Performance Management. “[HR] owns the compensation plan. We ultimately want to provide the best incentive for our associates,” she noted. “It’s been critical that we really own sales performance management.”

Watch interviews with these SAP customers: PetSmart,  White Cap, and Healthfirst. Learn more about sales performance management here.