Quote-to-Cash solution and Contract Lifecycle Management technology company, Apttus, recently announced the general availability of its Incentive Compensation Management (ICM) solution. ICM is an enterprise solution that will help organizations to design and execute strategic sales incentive programs like commissions, bonuses, SPIFFs and contests that align the behaviors of sales representatives and partner sellers with the interests of a company. The solution claims to use machine learning for behavioral analytics to improve sales incentives programs in enterprises.
The company states that incentive management has become a critical issue for all enterprise-level organizations. Quoting a survey report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Data vs instinct, states that 48% of incentive plans do not achieve their desired results. The respondents stated that their organizations’ incentive compensation plans do not result in desired behavior and 38% stated that the current incentive process does not easily adapt to changing requirements.
Quoting another Sales Compensation & Performance Management Study by CSO Insights, Apttus claims that 87% of companies are not using automated, packaged solutions today and cumbersome, inflexible homegrown legacy solutions and non-auditable, error-prone spreadsheets still dominate this process. And 90% of companies are choosing to make changes to their sales incentives programs in 2017. Annually, companies make changes to their compensation plans, but they have limited insight as to what changes to make and how effective they will be, states Sales Compensation Trends report by Alexander Group.
How will ICM help
According to Apttus, ICM can be used as a stand-alone solution that resolves these issues and is purpose-built for providing immediate results across the organization. It will help customers leverage elements of behavioral economics, vis-à-vis sales incentives, to extend the value and capability of the client company’s entire revenue operation. Providing successful outcomes to these longstanding issues cements Apttus’ Incentives Platform among the fastest and most effective enterprise offerings in the world.
But how does Apttus measure behavioral economics and connect it with sales incentives? The company states that in the context of sales, it measures behavior in a variety of different ways – revenue-based (lagging measures) – how many deals has a rep closed? Have they met their quota? Are they selling high margin products? But there are also non-revenue metrics (leading measures) – how many cold calls are they making? How many customer visits are they making? Are they attending required training events? Are they entering opportunity and activity data in their CRM? In the world of sales compensation, the company claims to decide what measures helps it get the larger organizational goals, and then define incentive compensation plans that encourage those behaviors.
“Sales Compensation and incentive programs are among the most critical processes in any company, and work hand-in-hand with every component of Quote-to-Cash. Apttus’ Incentive Compensation Management solution was built from the ground up to create a smooth experience for managing sales compensation and immediate results for all of our customers,” said Kirk Krappe, CEO, Apttus.
“We’re working with enterprises across industries to drive behaviors and ensure their entire company is motivated to perform at the highest possible level. As the unquestioned leader in Quote-to-Cash innovation, we are proud to continue driving our industry forward.”
The way forward
The company states that it primarily caters to the enterprise customers – over 100 of the Fortune 500 and It’s only natural for these enterprises to pair solutions like CPQ or Contract Management with an Incentives program. Apttus claims that these organizations are seeking to build a streamlined funnel for every step in the revenue operation. It calls that journey Quote-to-Cash, and offers customers the chance to do it with one vendor, as opposed to ‘patch-work’ of several offerings together.
Does IICM conflict with HR ? What exactly is it trying to achieve? Krappe states that anytime compensation is involved, HR’s input is expected and welcomed. “However, what we’re really aiming to accomplish is an optimization of behavior throughout an organization. We want to use Incentives to encourage sales teams to pivot to the new product, or offer seasonal discounts, which is to create the most successful outcome for their own customer. That’s a directive that every C-level executive across the org can get behind.”