Blog post

New Entrys to Sales Performance Management (SPM) Like Zoho are catching up with SPM in a fast way

By Patrick Stakenas | September 06, 2013 | 5 Comments

The breadth and depth of SPM continues to broaden substantially to include key functionalities supporting sales and the utilization of tools to  assist in the behavioral management of salespeople.

Gartner analyzes key vendors with SPM product suites for business leaders and sales teams.  Sales performance management (SPM) encompasses operational and analytical functions to automate and integrate processes for planning, designing, allocating and managing sales compensation, sales processes, territories, quotas and behavioral/training plans. SPM solutions seek to improve the structure, focus and motivation of salespeople and channels to achieve targets for revenue and margin production. Moreover, SPM solutions provide modeling and analytic capabilities for businesses to evaluate sales assumptions and diagnose trends in sales outcomes. 

Sales incentive compensation usually marks the foundation for SPM companies, however and Zoho have entered the market from the back door with solid functionality, however has no ICM and relies on their partner community.

Gartner talks in detail about it in a recent note that I authored “Magic Quadrant for Sales Performance Management”  (subscription/fee required).


 1SPM MQ Graphic

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  • Pat –

    Great job on Gartner’s MQ for SPM. We are pleased we have moved from promising last year to the leader quadrant. Really looking forward to using your dynamic MQ when you guys get that up and running. I am still wondering why Salesforce is where it is and also wondering what happened to Oracle, as they are no where to be found this year.


  • Hi Scott…. you guys were actually Positive in Gartners 2012 Marketscope… has made major leaps in SPM and short of ICM… they have aquired or built sound SPM functionality that is addressing what has become a very strong need in the marketplace around sales training, appraisal/evaluation, sales coaching, gamification etc.

    Gartner continues to see a continued upswing in inquires for SPM functionality outside of ICM… in fact almost 30% of respondants in a recent survey by Gartner indicated clients are using SPM functionality without ICM. Oracle simply did not meet the inclusion criteria for the MQ… thanks for the note!!


  • Dan Crone says:

    Hi Patrick,
    I’m curious about your consistent placement of Callidus as the leader and visionary in the space. While Callidus has done an impressive job of strategic acquisition to compliment their core ICM solution with the various SPM offerings now in Callidus Cloud, their consistent financial struggles have been mounting steadily over the last 10 years since going public.

    My understanding is they have not posted an operating profit since 2003, currently stand at $59M in debt with $27M in cash and are forecasting an operating loss this FY of anywhere from $13 – $20M.

    I think they’ve cobbled together an impressive platform and while it remains to be seen how the different systems can be integrated into a holistic solution, one has to wonder how long they can continue to post operating losses of this magnitude without a dramatic increase in volume of new client revenue be it perpetual or SaaS based. As a 7 year account exec in the space I do not see this kind of traction happening in the small or large enterprise competes against IBM, Xactly or Synygy

    • Hi Dan and thanks for your note. Gartner’s research is based on inquiries, references, conferences and numerous inputs from analysts that are focused on sales technology and the supporting functions of which SPM is one of. Callidus has continued to lead in each of the categories of the evaluation criteria that you can find inside the SPM MQ. Not having GAAP profit is nothing new in the sales technology world, notably and financials are only one aspect of the evaluation.

      I find it interesting that you would come at a vendor from an aqusition position.. as IBM, who was not in the 2012 MarketScope.. is building SPM through aquisition as well namely through the aquisitinos of Varicent and Kenexa.. It would be good for you to read other Gartner Reseach again which was driven from the market through inquiries, references, conferences etc.. “Get to Know the Key SPM Technologies Before Determining Your Strategic Approach” or “Tech Go-to-Market: The Future of SPM and SE Will Change How You Sell”. I am not sure about your last point.. as the industry outside of ICM is growing substantilly and vendors including IBM are extending their offerings to meet the demand for the supporting cast of functionality notably sales onboarding/hiring, sales training management and coaching… We are seeing most traction in mid size and enterprise.. however SFA firm Zoho is gaining traction on the SMB end.. Thanks again for your input


  • Laura Roach says:

    Patrick – good to see a strong leader board this year encompassing our key technology partners…not to mention the introduction of new niche players—which is always valuable to the space. Vendors and their customers are rapidly shifting from a pure incentive compensation management (ICM) system to end-to-end sales performance management (SPM) strategies covering all pillars of SPM including ICM, CRM and the like; and we can safely bet the criteria for your 2013 SPM MQ was well-aligned. SPM Assessments are rapidly becoming a priority to happen on the front-end before any implementation can be done in order to evaluate overall performance transformation, compensation plan structure, SPM program design, training, onboarding, etc.

    There is no ‘one size fits all’ in the process of determining which technology solutions and implementation services are needed in the customer environment—which we consistently see in the real world being a huge assumption among all sizes of organizations. At the end of the day, organizations can have the smartest and most experienced sales team/leadership on the planet, but still need the right technology, people, sales processes, and metrics in place to succeed.