Use a Platform, Not Spreadsheets, to Manage Indirect Sales Team Incentives

We all know it’s true: A lot of indirect sales team incentive programs are still being managed with spreadsheets. It’s far more common than you’d expect, even in some of the larger companies. And, honestly, there’s nothing wrong with using spreadsheets to manage a very small program, incentive or campaign. Or even analyze a set of data. But ask for anything complex, and your spreadsheet is probably creating more work than it’s doing.

Sales and marking media outlet CustomerThink recently published advice from our own Dan Hawtof on this very subject. In the article, Dan discusses the five signs you need an incentive platform, not a spreadsheet.

Want more information on how to get the most impact from your channel incentives investment? Download , Designing an Effective Channel Incentive Strategy for some additional insights. 

Here’s an excerpt:

Is it time for your indirect sales team incentive program to move onto a more flexible platform? One that offers segmentation, tiering and reporting? If you can relate to any one (or more!) of these pain points, it is.

Your manual processes have lead to mistakes.

Mistakes can happen when information is entered incorrectly, a formula isn’t quite right or a sloppy sort disconnects some data. Human error can be hard to identify and undo in a spreadsheet—especially if everything is manually input and manipulated.

You spend more time managing your spreadsheet than building engagement.

Spreadsheets are great and flexible tools. But if your indirect incentives team shouldn’t be dedicating most of its time to managing a complex, multi-tabbed spreadsheet. And certainly not actually developing engagement optimization strategies. If they are then it’s time to find a better way to keep track of your program results.

Multiple users need to access your indirect sales team incentive data simultaneously.

Sure, you can share a spreadsheet on a network with a few people. But as your team grows, so do the challenges of collaboratively managing data in a spreadsheet. Conflicting entries require individual judgment calls. Essential real-time updates simply don’t happen. And, in the end, you’ve created a “database” that’s doesn’t have the power, flexibility or visibility of the real thing.

Even medium-size programs require immense scalability.

You may not think your data needs are going to scale up quickly. But get started in a spreadsheet, and you’ll soon have multiple workbooks. Or maybe you’ll have one really, really big workbook that sorts slowly and crashes often. Add bundles, incentive overlays and complex, long-term initiatives, and you’ll definitely need more capacity than spreadsheets offer.

You need end-to-end analyses and insights, but only have snapshots.

Data in your spreadsheet needs to be crunched, analyzed, interpreted and used to evaluate the effectiveness of your incentive program. These tasks will all have to be done manually, especially if multiple workbooks need to be data-mined. You can consolidate the information, but you’re still creating an even larger spreadsheet that has all the same issues.



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