Businesses are redefining the way they use data to inform everyday operations. Brands that follow this trend to inform their SPIFF programs can get a better idea of what actually works and refine their strategies based on real performance data from the channel.
Data transforming decision-making
Data creates new opportunities for organizations to analyze past activities in order to glean insights. This is simply conventional wisdom, and for a long time, the problem was that most businesses have not been able to gather and organize relevant information to make it actionable for users. The rise of digital business processes and workflows has begun to change that, and many organizations are embracing what data has to offer. Approximately 53 percent of respondents to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey said they have become “somewhat data-driven” in their decision-making. Another 39 percent were “highly data-driven.” That left only 8 percent of companies to fall into the category of rarely using data to make better choices.
Businesses aren’t looking for ways to just make better better choices, but they are also changing how they make decisions in light of what they can learn from data, PwC found. On the whole, respondents said they currently have a fairly even balance between speed and sophistication in their decision-making – meaning they are able to make choices relatively quickly even while taking complex matters into account. However, executives are feeling pressure to handle decisions much more quickly and while taking much more sophisticated information into account by 2020. Improving both speed and sophistication is achievable only if companies are able to get more data to their users and make that information actionable.
The ability to accelerate and improve decision-making with data may sound exciting, but if you’re an organization that has been working with channel sales partners for a while, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to get the information you need.
“Cloud and mobile technologies are eliminating longstanding paper-based processes.”
Getting better data from the channel
Sales channel management processes have long been digital holdouts, as the need to communicate across corporate lines creates complexity that can be difficult to manage. Paper used to make sense when stakeholders from multiple organizations needed to send information back and forth across a wide range of organizations. However, this meant extremely limited visibility into what was going on in the channel. The time it would take to gather sales reports from channel partners, organize them, condense data and identify final sales performance made it nearly impossible gather nuanced sales data, such as how SPIFF programs impacted sales.
Cloud computing and mobile devices started eliminating these longstanding paper-based processes across a wide range of industries over the past few years. With cloud and mobile solutions in place, users can:
- Access apps and services on any connected device, as they are hosted in the web, not installed in specific machines.
- Manage authentication across diverse user groups without all individuals accessing the same network.
- Eliminate geographical boundaries to data sharing by transmitting information over the internet instead of a closed network.
- Let users to access apps on mobile devices, allowing for more streamlined data entry and communication.
These capabilities add up to make paper-based processes unnecessary and even obsolete in most settings, especially as cloud technologies become more secure. When applied to channel management, cloud computing has emerged as a game changer. Modern, cloud-based channel management tools improve data workflows between brands and their sales partners, creating a level of visibility and responsiveness that would have been impossible to achieve in the past.
“You can combine that learned knowledge with data to make more sophisticated choices.”
Using historic data to inform ongoing SPIFF choices
With the ability to gather sales data in more timely, convenient ways, brands can use that information as they formulate their SPIFF strategies. Reporting tools in modern channel management solutions can provide insight into such key issues as:
- Sales results during periods when SPIFF programs were active.
- The relationship between SPIFF programs and brand loyalty.
- Regional and even partner-specific sales results relative to SPIFF programs.
- The way education and training alongside SPIFF programs influences sales activity.
These types of insights enable channel managers to refine each SPIFF program to put it in the best position for success. For example, if you run a program across two regions, you can tweak training, bonuses or similar aspects of the initiative according to how each has performed historically and feedback you have received from the channel. In the past, you may have had to go with anecdotal evidence on regional differences; now you can combine that learned knowledge with data to make more sophisticated choices.
Don’t let the data revolution pass your business by. Poor visibility into the channel is no longer a limitation in preventing organizations from making better choices within their SPIFF programs. Instead, modern channel management software systems provide greater interconnectivity between brands and their sales partners, driving advances that make data extremely valuable.