Arturo Bentin is senior vice president of strategic engagement at Optymyze.
Optymyze works with companies globally to provide sales performance management solutions, including the management of sales compensation, sales quotas, sales territories and sales objectives. Based on a subscription model, Optymyze offers cloud applications, setup services, strategic planning, and operational support services.
In this exclusive interview, Bentin offers advice on how to motivate stronger sales.
CRM Buyer: What are some of the most effective ways to boost sales performance?
There are a few things to think about. One is, what behaviors are you trying to drive? When you’re talking about sales performance, you’re talking about a lot of things. You need to think about the metrics and the tools you can use to drive those specific behaviors in your salesforce.
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Understanding what motivates them is key, as is coming up with programs, whether that’s part of their base compensation or gamification. Also key is getting them as much visibility as you can. Everyone is looking for instant feedback. If you can get them access to their performance data, it gives them insight. You don’t want them digging though data and figuring out what they should be doing.
If you have things set up in the right way, you’re giving them just enough information to let them know what they need to do. Give them things they can think about and act on to achieve their goals, and ultimately that will help you to achieve your company’s goals.
CRM Buyer: What is the relationship between data science and sales performance?
The goal is to get to the point where we’re automating some sales management, so that it works like a digital assistant on your phone. The system will have all this data and information behind it — including data from sales, CRM and HR — and it can pull all of this data together to look for patterns, correlations, and insight that can then be given to salespeople.
CRM Buyer: What effects are millennials, specifically, having on the workforce, and particularly the salesforce?
We’ve been thinking about millennials as a small group, but now they’re starting to make up the majority of the salesforce. One of the things that they’re pushing is technology. The way they sell is different.
They’re pushing for things to be more instant, and they want more social interaction — selling, collaborating and cooperating with a team. Millennials are also driven by a desire to win and to be recognized, and they want that to happen often, with things like leaderboards, where their friends and coworkers can see how they’re doing.
We’re moving from salespeople who were OK working on their own to a salesforce that’s a lot more distributive, collaborative, social and instant.
CRM Buyer: Research has shown that millennials are less likely to be loyal to particular companies. Why is this significant?
We do see a lot of turnover. They’re looking to be treated well, so we do need to pay attention to them and do things that will motivate them. We’ve seen choose-your-own-adventure-type compensation plans, for instance. You give them options, and they get to pick which one to follow.
It’s important to give people options about how they want to live their lives, and how they want to sell. Another thing that’s important to them is mentorship. They want a link with someone at the company who can coach and teach them. Creating that link is important, to make it easier for managers to connect with salespeople, particularly in an asynchronous way. We’re always looking for ways to keep those folks engaged.
CRM Buyer: What role can gamification play in motivating employees and salespeople?
Gamification keeps people engaged — things like achievements, badges or prizes. Maybe these aren’t part of your core plan, but things you’re running parallel to it. The compensation plan usually has a longer timespan, but you can run a game that gives you results in a day.
We also use gamification for more administrative tasks, like getting time in, filling out forms, and updating CRM data. Giving people points or recognition for doing those things keeps them motivated. Gamification also taps into the competitive nature of people, and things like leaderboards, allowing people to interact with each other through competition.
They also have a strong sense of community and want to participate in something that’s bigger than they are, so some games can focus on community outreach or social causes. All of these things are going to increase engagement.
CRM Buyer: What does all of this have to do with CRM adoption and usage?
There are a lot of administrative tasks involved with CRM, and when we look at CRM data across the board, there are places where it’s maintained well, and others where it’s not. Pushing for something from these programs that’s going to target some of those behaviors is going to be important.
It’s also about creating a link between CRM data and compensation. When you combine CRM data with compensation data, it becomes more powerful. If you bring in opportunity data, salespeople can see how much money they’re going to make on different opportunities and pick the ones to focus on.
Giving them control over their future and visibility into their future is great. It ultimately helps to drive better CRM data, because they’re spending more time updating it, since they’re getting a benefit from it as well.
CRM Buyer: What are the long-term effects of millennials moving into and up through the workforce? How will things evolve and change?
In the next few years, they’re going to be the vast majority of the workforce. It’s going to be a lot more complex, because you’re going to be working with people who want variety and social connections, and plans will get more complex as we look to drive behaviors of specific people. A one-size-fits-all program won’t work anymore. You’re going to need different ways of motivating people.