Importance of Sales Performance Management Software in the New Normal

Abhishikha Chatterjee
September 28, 2021
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September 28, 2021
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The covid-19 pandemic came as a surprise to several organizations. 

Employees were in a state of chaos, and so were their families. Nobody anticipated the repercussions, and preparation was poor. As expected, most business continuity plans were poorly written and unrealistic. Therefore, every organization and its staff were affected by the turmoil.

How about the sales teams? 

Businesses changed norms, affecting their sales teams. One change caused another one. As the draught period grew stronger, salespeople suffered more.

So, let's get deeper in understanding how sales transitioned during the pandemic?

How did the new normal impact sales teams?

Considering the unpreparedness during the pandemic, there were four dramatic changes in the sales processes.  

  • Firstly, the routine sales meet and greet while traveling completely disappeared, particularly for B2B sales where face-to-face meeting with key stakeholders or a dine out was a crucial step for converting essential deals.
  • Secondly, an abrupt drop in product demand in specific sectors such as hospitality, travel, aviation, timeshare, or automobile would significantly decrease the level of interest in carrying on with many business functions. Additionally, other sectors got less inclined to spend and operate at a conservative pace.
    For example: Global smartphone shipments declined at a faster 5.9% pace in 2020.
  • Thirdly, sales teams took a significant blow from the work management perspective. The sales leaders were as muddled as the reps.  Only a few reps and leaders were onboarded on sales management software tools. Few were onboarded but didn’t have the slightest idea of how to operate it.  Both productivity and performance were down the drain. In fact, having the entire team sell remotely, manipulating metrics abruptly was complex.
  • Lastly, the pandemic severely impacted the dependence on other teams, such as marketing and customer service. From content to client issues, everything was a mess. The disorganized and unstructured processes didn't help the sales team; they added to the slowing market.

With the ongoing changes in the sales world, several companies are reinventing their recruitment, training, incentive, and project assignment processes to suit virtual selling practices.

And to streamline the processes mentioned above, organizations are unleashing the power of automating sales performance management by investing in a software solution. 

Let’s dig a little deeper to understand how sales performance management software is a key leverage point for sales in the new normal.

Importance of Sales Performance Management Software

We spoke in-depth about the sales performance management software in our last blog. 

But here’s a short recap to help you connect better with the subject.

What is sales performance management software?

SPM software leverages data to monitor, manage, analyze, and optimize sales performance at scale. 

“A sales performance management (SPM) software enables sales leaders to measure sales operations against organizational sales goals.”- Convin.

If you would like to learn more about Modern Sales Performance Management Software, please click here.

Moving on to why sales performance management software adds value to sales teams selling and collaborating virtually. 

The objective of implementing a sales performance management solution is simple - one can track the performance of the sales team and redesign processes to accelerate sales numbers. It doesn't end there. Performance management proved to be an invaluable tool during the pandemic. Here’s how:

1. Employee Retention  

“According to Hubspot- On average sales professionals turnover rate is 35% — a dramatic number compared to the average turnover rate of all industries, which is just 13%.” 

Employee churn rate is already an alarming factor in the sales industry. On top of it, Covid-19 changed the dynamics completely. As easy as it may sound now, but during the 2020 global lockdown and onset of the pandemic, sales managers barely had clarity on reps’ performance. Virtual sales performance management was a comparatively new concept.

Looking at the market conditions- many employees were asked to leave, and many voluntarily exited. And there were a few employees made to stay by various ways like training, reassignments, and rewards. Sales performance management software played a critical role in holding the performing employees together.

2. Employee motivation factors

“According to the HBR study, employees working remotely have 17 points less motivation than those working from an office.”

Acclimatizing the new sales norms wasn’t easy. The abrupt drop in sales numbers and consequently the demand took a toll on the sales teams. To make matters worse, working remotely added to the agony. 

Several sales coaches diagnosed the performance gap early on and trained their teams, and made them feel included. When you train your salespeople in sales skills and encourage career growth, they are more likely to feel valued by their employer, which automatically induces a sense of motivation. 

Re-orchestrating sales enablement strategy makes a huge difference in the draught period as it prepares salespeople for future opportunities.

3. Predict Sales Trends 

“Sales forecasting allows companies to efficiently allocate resources for future growth and make better business decisions. - Chargebee

Sales performance management software tracking kept providing valuable sales data on the onset and during the pandemic outbreak- enabling organizations to forecast future sales opportunities and redesign employee benefits.

Managers found it immensely rewarding to rely on a software solution to manage and track sales performance that offered automatic results with a few tweaks and inputs.

The performance management tool offers a better forecast of future sales trends and compensation rates for commission-based compensation structures.

4. Coach and Train Sales Reps on Virtual Selling

“According to an analysis reported by Spotio- field sales teams account for 71.2% of the sales force.”

Imagine transitioning 71% of your sales team to a remote sales team- selling only via digital channels. 

Performance management solutions clearly indicated a downfall in the sales numbers and performance of the sales guys. 

Reps and AE’s were untrained and naive as far as virtual selling was concerned. Trivial issues such as call disconnection and poor video quality were eliminating big accounts from the pipeline.

The sales coaches identified the problem well to train the team on virtually conducting successful sales meetings. A few organizations added the virtual selling best practices as part of the sales playbook. 

For those of you who want to get into the nitty-gritty of building a remote sales team, here's a quick read.

5. Coach on Empathy Selling 

“Our research reveals that salespeople who sell with noble purpose, who genuinely understand how they can make a difference to customers, outsell salespeople focused on internal targets and quotas.”- Lisa McLeod, author of Selling with Noble Purpose.

Empathy Selling isn't a new idea. However, empathy emerged as a valid sales weapon under the new normal. 

The initial job to be done by vendors had taken a 360-degree turn. The customer needs declined and changed drastically. In fact, several customers had to close their businesses and lay off their employees, let alone the salespeople. 

In such circumstances, sales enablement managers and coaches banked upon sales performance management solutions to plan and evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Whether sales reps are emphasizing money or trying to extend support. 

On learning the outcomes from the sales tool, they could quickly coach teams on how to practice empathy without losing sight of sales goals.

6 Territory Reassignment 

“Sales territory alignment is the process of redistributing or reallocating territories among salespeople to optimize efficiency and maximize profit.”- Lucidchart

Remote selling eliminated the local selling concept. Everyone could reach everyone. However, in some industries knowing your local audience makes a lot of difference. There's more to territory reassignment than that. 

Suppose you closely track your performance management software outcomes. In that case, you’ll realize a few sales guys show potential in a specific area of sales, for example - product knowledge or customer engagement, or vertical knowledge.

It is helpful to align the right sales project with your sales reps' strengths. If your company identifies profitable markets and skilled individuals, assigning specific territories gets easier. 

Someone who is knowledgeable about product demos and can handle frustrated prospects well is assigned applicable accounts. This way, you build a team with individuals owning different operations and territories in the sales process. 

7 Reinvent Reward System 

“Smart revisions of compensation models have been found to have a 50 percent higher impact on sales than changes in advertising investments.”

Incentives are a huge motivating factor. Sales teams go to great lengths to achieve their targets and take home a handsome incentive amount. But that wasn’t the case during the pandemic.

Organizations struggled to pay out salaries; incentive was a far-fetched dream. It was essential to redesign the compensation model and rethink the metrics that make sense.

Performance management solutions leverage performance-based insights to help reorganize the compensation model. Reorganizing the model ensured sales managers avoided underpaying and creating resentment among employees. At the same time, acknowledging the performers who didn’t abandon the battlefield despite dire times needed proper rewards and incentives. 

Apart from the monetary compensation, a new variety of offerings was introduced that included a sales incentive plan in entertainment, food & beverages, experience-based rewards, modest sponsorships, etc.

One of the most successful reward programs in 2020 was mental health rejuvenation initiatives like time-offs, enrollment in meditation programs, and flexible timings.

8. Redesign product offering

The product offering should outline the product benefits and features, with emphasis on those that solve the target customers’ pain points.

Sales Performance Management Software turned out to be a great indicator of sales performance and products that worked in the market during the new normal. 

Sales leaders were constantly interviewing the high achievers to understand the reason behind their performance.

Based on the indication, sales leaders could innovate the products as well as the ways they sell the product. Many organizations took to renovating the product messaging and package thoroughly. 

How does sales conversation intelligence complement performance management software?

Conversation intelligence is an AI-powered tool that scored more popularity during the new normal. 

The reason was simple and yet complicated. 

It was complicated because its capabilities were unknown. And simple, because it simplified certain aspects of performance management. 

CI software is a platform that listens to sales conversations, records, transcribes, and analyzes them. The analysis is a gold mine that supports:

  1. Evaluating call statistics & reps’ performance- Use the CI tool to assess the performance of inside sales teams. Adding outside sales teams to the remote salesforce makes more sense to record calls rather than plugging into each call for an evaluation. 
  2. Coaching Sales Staff- Coaching is the most significant advantage of using the CI software. In the new normal, when most of your team is interacting virtually, it’s advisable to conduct frequent coaching calls on the conversation intelligence platform.
  3. Understanding client sentiments- Recorded client calls are an excellent source for the sales enablement team(sales and marketing) in extracting client sentiments and decipher their needs.
  4. Predicting sales trends- Again, recorded client calls are an excellent source for understanding where the market is heading. Often, clients provide insights from their industry to display the trend and future requirements. The sales enablement team must use the CI recorded calls carefully to learn about the market.
  5. Sensing risks and threats- Often, sales leaders can read between the lines and decode dangers and threats on the recorded review calls. For example, many clients tried to procure products at the cheapest prices considering the desperation in 2020. Before sales reps could fall for the price, sales leaders could push such accounts and save the company’s reputation in the market.
  6. Fishing opportunities- In the last two years, client needs have changed dramatically. Although they may not say it out loud, everyone needed entertainment along with staying safe at home. To fill the gap, sales guys had to meet the clients where they were. 

    But the sad part is sales reps often forget to connect the dots on a live call and realize the needs. The needs surface only when the call is ready for review or evaluation. Also, upsell and cross-sell opportunities are easier to catch on a conversation intelligence software.

The importance of Sales Performance Management Software in the new normal can’t be explained in words. The sales tool starts making sense only when sales teams and primarily the sales enablement teams use and experience the solution’s benefits.

Without further ado, speak to our sales experts who can give you more reasonings and examples to invest in sales management software during the new normal- Nudge us.

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