The need to simplify and optimize processes continues to be a key agenda item for all organizations and sales is ripe for improvement. Sales organizations of most midsized business are especially in need for automation and improvement in this area that is still dominated by the use of spreadsheets, presentations, documents and email. These personal productivity tools were not designed for sales compensation processes and have been inflicting delays and frustration in sales and finance with scattered and unreliable information. Recently at Salesforce Dreamforce conference, Callidus Software unveiled new sales compensation software products for those using Salesforce. The two solutions Callidus Plan Communicator and Commissions Manager help organizations off-board from using dedicated spreadsheets onto a solution that uses software designed for the process and for management to ensure accurate and fair commission and incentives are paid.
Callidus Plan Communicator helps with the rollout of compensation plans to the sales force but integrated in with the use of salesforce sales force automation software simplifying the access and review of an individual’s plan. Callidus is also including an enablement service that provides consultation for transforming from spreadsheets into the solution easing the knowledge and resources needed to make improvement. I believe this is the type of support that especially mid-size organizations with 15 up to 100 sales representatives on compensation plans need to automate this process. This new software as a service based application has been in use and is now generally available. The solution is not intended for complex sales plans but will meet the majority of mid-sized organizations that have defined products and services with set commission rates and accelerators.
The focus of the new announcement at Dreamforce was on Commissions Manager which is also a native application developed on the Force.com platform that helps sales operations work with sales management and representatives that need to track, claim and resolve commission credit. In addition the application provides performance dashboards for managers and representatives to assess performance to quota, commissions paid and status of credit for sales closed across teams where disputes can typically arise. The application provides critical workflow and approval routing to streamline the commission process that is typically dragged into emails and phone calls. In addition for those in finance or CFO of organizations can readily review sales commission and progress to determine impact to the monthly and quarterly financials which has traditionally been more of a secret to the last moment than transparent on a daily basis. Our benchmark research on sales organizations identified this need for managing commissions as a top priority for sales operations teams along with sales representatives and management.
In addition Callidus Software announced they will be expanding their entire suite on top of the Force.com platform to further embrace the cloud computing advancements at Salesforce that we also assessed (See: “Salesforce Chatter Brings Social Collaboration and Media into Business“ and my colleagues assessment “Salesforce Dreamforce: The Business Focus of the UnSoftware“) . This announced expansion goes beyond other suppliers for sales compensation and sales performance management that have just released one application that is natively built on the Force.com platform or just integrate data from Salesforce.com. This advancement by Callidus Software and others will also make it easier for organizations using salesforce to try and buy the solutions on the salesforce AppExchange platform designed for customers to find complimentary solutions. Callidus is taking a large step forward to build native applications on Force.com platform to embrace the Salesforce environment while also maintaining their enterprise class sales performance management suite that is more typically used in large and very large sales forces. Callidus customer Brocade presented at Salesforce Dreamforce conference to discuss how they are using Callidus for supporting over one thousand payees and new plans every six months. Brocade has streamlined their sales compensation processes by integrating the data across systems into the process and simplifies the single point of communications on plans and commissions.
Our benchmark research examined sales operations and found the troubling reality that 47 percent of sales operations teams are reliant on spreadsheets. In fact our research shows only 41 percent have positive level of confidence in their existing sales operations and performance processes. Adopting dedicated systems for sales compensation like that from Callidus Software can help address these current technology and confidence limitations in organizations. The need for these dedicated applications are part of what is called Sales Performance Management that is dedicated to helping sales organizations manage performance and operations which we recently assessed in what is called the Value Index for Sales Performance Management. Our research into sales organizations shows that only 38 percent of organizations are satisfied with sales force automation (SFA) for addressing the needs of sales operations and management indicating the larger opportunity for suppliers like Callidus Software to advance their efforts into sales organizations. They are addressing this management and process gap in sales organizations with solutions like these now available that are quite useful for small and medium sized sales organizations using Salesforce or for enterprises looking for a dedicated solution suite that Callidus already offeres for sales performance management.
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Mark Smith - CEO & EVP Research