Chief financial officers have embraced a greater role in taking on challenges and shaping strategy within the organization. As a part of this evolving role, they have led the implementation of much-needed digital tools across the company. Still, CFOs have yet to emphasize the importance of dedicated digital tactics within the sales force at similar rates, according to findings from a new survey by SalesVista, in collaboration with Industry Dive. In the survey of CFOs, 91% agree that the finance functions have leveraged the latest digital technologies to advance the organization, reduce costs, improve accuracy and/or advance processes. At the same time, only 55% said that the organization's sales force currently incorporates tools that offer real-time data on sales to finance teams to lead business decisions.
"Our survey has validated key aspects of what we hear from our customers regarding the obstacles they have to overcome to effectively oversee and control the full scope of sales compensation management," said Mike Scarbrough, CEO of SalesVista. "High-performing CFOs understand the reality of what it takes to identify, qualify and measure data for effective analysis, reporting and forecasting. However, the challenge to holistically pull this off becomes more elusive when data is hosted across multiple solutions, which is very common when dealing with sales performance and sales compensation," explained Scarbrough.
The survey revealed several other significant findings about how CFOs view their role within the organization and the technology that they use to achieve results, including these six conclusions:
- Finance stakeholders require three or more data sources or systems, on average, when gathering performance measures to drive decisions and improve sales. This data assembly slows down response time and can result in inconsistent data or insights across teams.
- An overwhelming percentage of organizations use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution to track sales compensation. Despite using the CRM, 66% of responding CFOs said they often still rely on manual processes to track sales, 68% said they often also use an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, and 62% also utilize a Workforce Management tool.
- Fewer than 10% of CFOs expressed that their organization incorporates a dedicated Sales Compensation Management Solution (SCMS). Considering the pain points that many CFOs face, it's a data-centric solution to address many of their concerns.
- The ability to easily, accurately and efficiently build accurate sales quotas has become a growing issue for CFOs. Four out of 10 respondents said they spend too much time building accurate quotas. But those CFOs not incorporating this within their bag of responsibilities have also become a smaller portion of the landscape, with only 23% expressing that they spend no time on sales quotas.
- Many CFOs had common pain points with their current sales compensation solutions or processes. More than one out of three CFOs expressed that a lack of automation — a frustration among the finance team about the process — and difficulty in unifying data from disparate systems served as particular pain points of their current solution.
- For sales planning and execution, the pain points most expressed by CFOs included an inability to track and validate commission effectiveness, a lack of accuracy in the forecasts, and the inability to align compensation plans to business goals. These results indicate that the current sales compensation tracking tool does not effectively provide the finance team with the insight they require.
Also, according to the survey, financial leaders' most prominent role involves assessing revenue objectives. Sales management (establishing quotas and compensation) comes second among the significant roles that CFOs said that they hold. You also cannot accomplish either objective without establishing accurate sales expectations.
Establishing the power to make the right decisions will help achieve that goal. "One key value of a Sales Compensation Management Solution (SCMS) is to provide the CFO with the right control and oversight — it's a powerful visibility tool," said Scarbrough.
"Finance leaders need flexibility to dynamically leverage and adapt any component of the incentive compensation to enhance revenue," added Scarbrough. "The solution improves decision-making insights and equips the CFO with the control and governance to affect change and improve the compensation alignment toward the evolving business goals."
Read the complete survey, "[The CFO and Sales Enablement]."
SalesVista collaborated with studioID of Industry Dive to field an online, invitation-only survey, polling 172 CFOs and other senior finance executives during Q1 of 2022. The survey consisted of a mix of multiple-choice, open-ended, Likert-scale and matrix questions to understand the state of the finance function. The questionnaire consisted of themes to better understand the CFOs' priorities, challenges, concerns, and gaps within their finance and sales function. Of the respondents, 51.2% came from CFOs, senior or executive vice presidents of finance. The other survey respondents included vice president of finance (20.3%), senior director or director of finance (23.8%), other senior finance titles (3.5%), and other titles (1.2%). The range of companies represented spans all sizes, including those with 0-49 sales representatives (26.7%), 50-99 sales reps (23.3%), 100-149 sales reps (18%), 150-199 sales reps (22.1%) and 200 or more reps (9.9%). Every respondent represented companies that work within a commissioned sales business model.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, SalesVista is the leader in delivering a powerful and innovative Sales Compensation Management Solution (SCMS) with real-time business analytics. We help organizations of any size and across multiple industries to create accurate, timely and transparent incentive plans. By transforming manual compensation methods into dynamic, streamlined workflows, our solution improves financial control and governance to enhance the alignment of performance data with the company's business goals.
Learn how to revitalize your incentives compensation plans with an intuitive and easy-to-use compensation solution. Contact us today at www.salesvista.com for a no-obligation demonstration.