Senior Director Product Management, Optymyze
Sales Performance Management (SPM) is in the middle of a significant evolution. With AI proliferating deeper into sales technologies, we find customers using quota management solutions benefiting the most from this evolution. Sophia Broomfield, Senior Director, Product Management at Optymyze, spoke to us about the state of Sales Performance Management technology in 2018 and her preparation for a data-rich ecosystem for better sales intelligence.
Tell us about your role at Optymyze and the team/technology you handle.
At Optymyze, we are organized into different solution groups that are each geared toward a specific, strategic end goal or business initiative for our clients. My role as Senior Director of Product Management is to lead development specific to our territory and quota management solutions.
As with all Optymyze offerings, the territory and quota management solutions leverage a unique blend of operational and strategic value, which when enabled by our technology, results in transformational outcomes for clients.
The Optymyze territory management solution helps sales organizations maximize the revenue potential of each territory, gain insight into overall sales performance, and adjust quickly to changes within the organization or market. Continuous mobile insights and in-depth analysis of accounts and opportunities empower management and salespeople to make confident decisions, leading to better sales outcomes.
Meanwhile, our quota management solution allows for the easy creation, allocation and management of sales targets across our clients’ organizations, and ensures they are properly aligned to the larger company strategy. Our unique sales operations expert engagement model helps improve the overall quota process and empowers clients to better motivate salespeople, become more agile to changing business landscapes and provide quota clarity and communication to end-users.
It is my job to own these solutions end-to-end and ensure everything is working holistically based on market and customer needs.
What is the state of Sales Performance Management technology in 2018?
Sales performance management (SPM) is in the middle of a significant evolution. A few years ago, the entire conversation revolved around ‘moving to the cloud,’ but now there are new factors at play.
One thing I am seeing for certain, but the industry has not yet mastered, is fully leveraging integrated processes across various SPM components. For example, territory management fits in between CRM and SPM, and is used to drive both sales crediting, and opportunity assignment. Every aspect of the process needs to link together to support the goals of the sales organization, and what they need to succeed.
At Optymyze, we are solving this issue by connecting the dots across our solutions to give the sales reps the exact information they need and areas to focus on to achieve organizational goals. The only way to accomplish this is to “step back” and establish a vision, execute strategic planning, and prioritize sales operations initiatives toward the most optimal outcomes. To achieve transformational value, all these processes need to align to the long-term vision of a company.
Another theme I am seeing is artificial intelligence (AI). Everyone talks about it, but the truth is that the majority of AI is leveraged in consumer solutions, not so much in the enterprise – yet. There is a huge opportunity of course, and the industry has begun developing tools and solutions, but the main challenge is obtaining the results that prove the need for widespread adoption. We possess offerings and features for AI and we continue to explore with core business use cases to measure the impact and value of these capabilities.
What are the core tenets of your technology driving Sales Compensation and Quota Management?
When we built the Optymyze solution, we created a very solid, configurable tool framework which has allowed us to be able to expand and adapt to everything the customer needs from beginning to end. This is important because SPM is extremely unique across all industries – each has different structures, regulations and business models, so a rigid, one-size-fits-all approach just won’t cut it. We provide out-of-the-box solutions, but we also adapt to unique customer and industry needs.
In addition to that, at Optymyze we understand that to improve sales performance, technology alone is not enough − organizations need to transform the way they work. That’s why we work with our clients through a unique strategic engagement approach, helping them to apply Optymyze technology and services in the most valuable of ways. We help customers look beyond today and help them anticipate future challenges–delivering the most optimal outcomes.
Our belief is that our sales-operations-as-a-service model (the unique blend of strategic and operational value coupled with enabling technologies) brings the most transformational value to customers. When we partner in this way with clients, sales operations groups become strategic differentiators for the companies we work with.
How do you prepare for a data-rich ecosystem for better sales intelligence?
Given the volume of data that frequently lends intelligence and accuracy to sales operations management processes, it’s essential that solutions have access to ETL functionality. Optymyze has embedded data management capabilities, including capabilities to extend our core data model, and to transform and load data. These, like all of our capabilities, are designed for use by a non-technical business user and enable us to quickly and easily set up Optymyze as a central repository of sales-related data for our customers.
This is another area in which our professional services team plays a significant role – we learn what types of data our clients need, introduce other data sources they may not have thought to include, and then we can easily bring that into our system (without any coding.) This means clients don’t need to go out and purchase a separate solution for this purpose (which adds unnecessary complexity, additional resource requirements, and additional contracting/cost to the process.) Instead, they have all of the data connections they need with Optymyze.
What are the biggest challenges to better adoption of sales automation and advanced analytics?
This is very similar to the issue of AI in this industry – the biggest challenge to adoption is expecting immediate payoff. Advanced technologies require patience and clear strategy to bring the benefits to fruition. They also need to be easy to use in order to be adopted.
With advanced analytics, for example, we believe dashboards, which are a commonly included feature for enterprise technology, fall short when it comes to driving adoption and specific actions. Presenting too many metrics or sharing information in endless columns and rows of numbers no longer suffice – it’s far too complex, and sales reps need to be selling, not sorting through mountains of data. Instead, addressing analytics in an answer-driven format is our approach.
Automatically extracting the most important insights and visually displaying them in a clear, concise way increases the likelihood of appropriate actions being taken by salespeople. Further, sharing the main contributing factors to quota attainment (as an example) gives sales personnel a chance to course-correct, or do more of a specific desired action. Self-service analytics and a wide range of visualizations is what helps both salespeople and their managers make better-informed decisions, thus becoming more engaged with the technology.
How does Optymyze mitigate these challenges?
Our strategic engagement teams work closely with each client to identify their core business needs and then structure a continuous improvement process that drives business value in the long run. We are present at every step of the client’s transformation journey and we can help them anticipate not only what they need now, but what they should do to set themselves up for success in the future.
Advanced analytics and process automation are two of our core platform capabilities that enable our clients to model the best path forward for their business. By working with us to automate their key sales operations processes and using advanced analytics to get meaningful insights, sales organizations understand the value of the latest technologies and how they can increase their bottom line.
By taking this full-scale engagement approach, Optymyze can understand the questions that clients really want answers to and help them solve not only the what of each sales process but the why and then the what’s next.
How do you work with Data Science and AI/Machine Learning (ML) to measure sales ops performances?
We use AI/ML as a driver to improve Sales Performance, rather than as a measurement. Our goal is to use data science to derive insight from the sales and performance data that we have access to. Wherever possible we look for opportunities to combine sales compensation data with other data like CRM, HR, etc. to derive better insights and to paint a better overall picture. This broader collection of data yields improved results from a data science perspective and gives us more strategic insight into the operation.
How important is sales coaching and sales readiness to handle automation and analytics in B2B? What training do you provide to sales teams at Optymyze?
In any B2B environment – especially in large sales organizations – sales coaching and sales readiness are two key business processes in which leaders should invest. Best-in-class companies approach sales readiness from a strategic perspective, orienting their salespeople towards the clients’ outcomes, helping them be more future-looking. Process automation and analytics applied to coaching and sales readiness ensures consistency and efficiency in the way knowledge is transferred, prevents customer disruption, and fosters positive competition.
The objective should be to empower salespeople with information, not require them to spend valuable time in search of it. Instead, companies should provide access to insights that will inform and guide salespeople in ways that are proactive and actionable.
At Optymyze we devote a great deal of time to ensure that our salespeople benefit from our continuous sales readiness approach. As such, they are prepared to engage with clients and prospects with a thorough understanding of our enabling technologies and strategic engagement model. With this forward-looking vision of the clients’ business needs, they are always prepared to have meaningful conversations and to partner with clients to help them achieve transformational value.
Thanks for chatting with us, Sophia.
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