Making Great Sales Commission Dashboards
Sales commissions dashboards can be an incredibly potent tool for leveraging growth and steering your organization toward its goals — but only when done correctly.
Many organizations fail to construct dashboards that move their organization forward and, in many cases, hold them back.
Why Sales Commission Dashboards Are Critical
A lack of clear communication about the company’s sales compensation plan is at fault for many organizations’ struggles in this area.
If sales reps don’t understand the sales compensation plan, they are less likely to engage with it, produce results, and trust its outcomes.
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That can lead to shadow accounting, employee disengagement, and, eventually, lagging sales numbers.
Great sales commission dashboards can also significantly reduce the time and resources needed to manage compensation by automating the reporting process and delivering information to stakeholders before they request it.
How to Make Great Sales Commission Dashboards
The following are some quick and actionable ideas to help you improve your commission dashboards.
Book a call with one of our experts here to learn more about how we build our customers’ sales compensation dashboards.
1. Give reps full visibility into commission breakdown
The key to a great sales commission dashboard is clarity and visibility.
Reps need to understand the plan mechanics and ALL the compensable factors determining their on-target earnings calculation — and then see how that plays out in the real world.Sales reps need to understand the plan mechanics and how ALL the details about how the deals they close make up their pay, otherwise they will struggle to get the most from the plan. #salescomp Click To Tweet
Your dashboards should allow reps to drill down into individual deal components to see how much they earned from each aspect of the deal and why.
Giving reps all the information about why they were paid a certain amount on a deal avoids time-consuming explanations or disputes. It helps them understand the plan mechanics better, meaning they will perform better in future too.
2. Deliver dashboard data in real-time (or close to it)
The closer you tie a reward to the behavior you want to incentivize, the more powerful the brain’s reward mechanism.
Reps get instant feedback on how deal elements contribute to their paycheck, making it more likely they’ll be able to replicate those deals in future; They know what good looks like.
3. Make commissions dashboards responsive
While traditional Incentive Compensation Management software allows for dashboards to be customized, it’s often so complicated that organizations cannot do it themselves in a timely way.
Typically a few dashboards are set up during implementation, one type for each group of stakeholders: Ops, Sales Reps, Sales Leaders, and sometimes Finance.
The high costs of third-party implementation support mean dashboard updates get deprioritized repeatedly in favor of quick fixes in spreadsheets and manual reports.
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As business objectives and SKUs change, the dashboards become less and less useful, falling into disrepair until the next big system is implemented.
Your sales incentive program is constantly evolving, so your dashboards must be able to develop with it.
Invest in tools that allow you to change dashboard readouts and reports on demand — with minimal work involved. Your dashboards will become powerful tools for engaging and motivating reps instead of stale shelfware with lagging or irrelevant data.
4. Automate all data transfer and reporting
The key to an agile sales compensation function is data fluency.
Gathering and validating enterprise sales performance data still requires a lot of manual labor. That takes time that the sales compensation admin team could use to analyze and optimize the sales compensation plan, making ad-hoc reports and forecasts for leadership.Most organizations are held back from achieving their data-driven dreams because of poor data hygiene. Click To Tweet
Once you have automated the day-to-day transfer and validation of data into your ICM function, it opens the doos to highly detailed, customizable dashboards.
It creates a reliable, timely source of truth that can power real-time dashboard updates and advanced analytics tools without draining resources. It also requires a level of data hygiene that opens the door to advanced sales forecasting techniques like Monte Carlo modelling.
5. Give reps feedback on which deals to pursue
Many organizations fail to give their reps enough training in the compensation plan.
Some people will be able to quickly decipher the plan mechanics and use them to pursue the right kinds of deals. Others will need more time and practice to get there.
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Instead of holding one or two formal training sessions and leaving reps to figure it out, use your sales commission dashboards to teach them how to take advantage of the plan.
Forma.ai dashboards do this with a feature we call “Go-Get Cards.”
They sit at the head of the dashboards, displaying constantly-evolving personalized suggestions on:4
● current Accelerators, SPIFs, sales kickers or promotions they currently qualify for (or are close to achieving)
● which deals to pursue to reach their next payout tranche
● a live estimate of their variable compensation payout
The constant reminder of which prospects to pursue and the regular feedback on what worked increases engagement and drives more of the behavior you want.
6. Give stakeholders an open communication channel
Sales compensation involves multiple stakeholders in the organization, but often the lines of communication between them are weak — or cut off completely.
Great communication requires a two-way street. No matter how well sales reps understand the plan, they will occasionally need to ask a question about it, query a payment, or get clarification on the mechanics.
The last thing you want to do is create a barrier to those interactions. Sales compensation analysts should be helping reps understand the plan better, not spending all their time inputting and checking data. Sales managers also need to query and approve exceptions regularly.
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An open communication channel between the sales team and the commission admin team also increases engagement through ownership. Management by objectives may not work in all business contexts, but incorporating employee feedback during comp plan design is one area it will improve performance.
7. Don’t invest in static ICM software
Traditional tools assume that sales compensation is a static, linear process with minimal change.
But the only constant in sales compensation is change. Constant change and manual processes across multiple tools break those already brittle systems.
The resulting backlogs put pressure on your people, processes, and infrastructure, limiting resource capacity and performance far beyond the sales compensation function.
The solution is simple: Dynamic and highly-automated sales compensation processing with robust, inbuilt change-management capabilities.The only constant in sales compensation is change. So why are all the ICM software solutions built for a static, linear process? Click To Tweet
Sales Commission Dashboards That Can Keep up With Your Business
Forma.ai is the only solution purpose-built for change. By breaking sales compensation into its fundamental elements, we can automate your sales comp process end-to-end, regardless of complexity or scale.
That frees sales comp teams from the manual, low-value taskwork and elevates them to do what matters most: Design comp plans that drive results.
Book a demo here to learn how Forma.ai makes sales compensation more valuable to your business.
3 Keys to Best-in-Class Sales Compensation Dashboards