How to improve processes and motivate people

Farhad Kanga
Farhad Kanga,
Senior Engagement Manager,
Capgemini’s Business Services

Business isn’t just business. There’s a human element to revenues and to profits, and if people feel their efforts aren’t sufficiently recognized and rewarded, those numbers will take a hit.

That’s why sales compensation systems are so important. It’s not just about how much people are paid for the results they achieve – it’s about the nature of the process involved. If it’s slow and cumbersome, it can take the shine off someone’s success. They may feel less like replicating it next quarter – and if that happens, the whole business is affected.

Sales challenge

This was a situation faced by one of our clients. Sales representatives of this global IT company were being rewarded for their work, but the legacy compensation system was time-consuming and complicated. This made it difficult for them not just to keep track of their own achievements, but to access sales performance data as a whole.

The company therefore wanted to introduce a new sales compensation system that would provide immediate and real-time access to sales performance data and other compensation information – improving employee motivation, shortening response times, and increasing the availability of information for its sales people.

ESOAR in action

We started by making a thorough examination of the existing sales compensation procedure, so as to identify not just where the problems were, but what each stage of the current process was aiming to achieve. This enabled us to see how each aspect of ESOAR might be applied in turn. (Those words “in turn” are important: we’ve found that, employed in the right sequence, ESOAR elements can deliver cumulative benefits.)

Working closely with our client and with a major software provider, we developed a new platform that transformed the entire sales compensation technology environment and improved data visibility, enabling the easy and timely access to sales performance, and a consequent improvement in motivation across the sales force.

The recommendations we made and the actions we took along the way are too many to be covered comprehensively in this article, so here are just some of the key elements of our approach:

Eliminate

  • The single, new platform replaced over 30 applications in the previous environment
  • A number of manual processes were replaced by a mass upload function requiring minimal effort
  • The new platform dispensed with the manual sales letter workflow, which generated a ticket to trigger the next stage of the compensation process
  • A number of data and credit processes were also eliminated
  • Redundant processes have been removed, and multiple tools have been consolidated into a single platform
ESOAR-Standardize

  • Regional variations in operations were standardized and replaced by a single team responsible for managing operations. The transition took place in stages, region by region
  • Standardization was introduced in particular to the manual data feed entry team and the credit and pay team
  • Single and consistent processes have been introduced across the global organization
ESOAR-Optimize

  • A consolidated global team in India implemented best practices to deliver enhanced optimization in a single process.
  • The move took place gradually so as to avoid business disruption
  • Team members freed up by reductions in headcount on some tasks were reallocated to work on further improvements. This included helping to create and design a functional specification document which was used by the IT team during the development of the new platform
  • Reporting and database issues were optimized
  • Standardization has improved outcomes, and has also liberated resources to develop further improvements
ESOAR-Automate

  • The sales letter process was further improved by creating a Macro that has reduced the processing time by roughly one-third
  • Reconciliation activities were automated across various processes – (see Results below)
  • Process automation has delivered improvements in turnround, cost, and headcount allocation (see examples below)
ESOAR-Robotize

  • Robotics is now being introduced to semi-automate the sales letter generation process

Reasons to be cheerful

The new platform provides integrated sales compensation information and services to approximately 8,500 sales employees worldwide, delivering reduced turnaround time, real-time access to sales data, and more rapid reporting.

In addition, the new platform also has the capability to serve our client’s sales teams with chatbots to deliver an improved experience.

It isn’t just our client business that is happy – its our salespeople, too.

The outcomes

Our ESOAR methodology has delivered a range of tangible business outcomes for our client, including:

  • Enhanced business and IT process efficiency
  • Process standardization and optimization
  • A significant reduction in operational cost
  • Timely delivery of key sales performance data
  • Automation resulted in:
    • Reduction in turnaround time for compensation target letter generation
    • Reduction in data load errors, thereby increasing data accuracy
    • A four-hour payment file-check process automated to a 15-minute check
    • Accrual file preparation was a 12-hour activity which is now completed in 10 minutes.

Farhad Kanga is a senior engagement manager, providing operations’ support to the client’s sales compensation enablement team.

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