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IBM - Sales Incentives Design Module

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service

Company: IBM, Armonk, NY
Company Description: IBM is a values-based enterprise of individuals who create & apply technology to make the world work better. Today, more than 377,000 IBM employees around the world invent and integrate hardware, software and services to help forward-thinking enterprises, institutions and people succeed on a smarter planet.
Nomination Category: New Product & Service Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Incentive Management Solution – New

Nomination Title: Sales Incentives Design Module

Tell the story about this nominated product or service (up to 650 words). Describe its function, features, benefits, and sales to date:

For IBM Sales Teams, the incentive plan is the foundation of our success. Every plan cycle approximately 33,000 sellers are issued an Incentive Plan Letter, which is IBM’s contract with the seller designed to motivate them to drive revenue for the IBM Corporation. Consequently, it is incumbent upon IBM to have these letters in place as soon as possible for every plan cycle. Unfortunately, for many years the tasks necessary to create and deploy incentive plans was cumbersome and time consuming. In 2016, it took three months to successfully meet our objectives to have 98% of all sellers on incentive plan. This time frame had been steadily increasing for many years.

Examining our Sales Incentive Design process revealed that there was not a single, consistent tool and source of information. During 2H2016 four new building blocks within the current tool set were deployed to address the need for a single integrated tool: Measurements, Sales Incentive Design, Sales Role and Seller Profile. Each of these components consolidated information that was previously being housed in spreadsheets, databases and various web tools into one simple and easy to use web tool.

Furthermore, the data to be housed in the new applications is used by many different business functions. In the past this data had to be re-entered either manually or copied over via batch many times into various tools. Because of this need, a modular approach was used in the construction of the new tool building blocks which resulted in a single system where data is entered one time and then made available to all related applications in real time eliminating unnecessary wait time and allowing Global Sales Incentives (GSI) to be responsive to changes needed.

Using a modular approach significantly streamlined the process, cutting days from the cycle time. In 2016, it took 7-10 days to enter a sales plan into the application and make it available for putting sellers on incentive plan. In 2017, the cycle was reduced to less than one hour per plan, allowing GSI to respond to plan changes quickly and efficiently.

These enhancements have greatly improved tool flexibility and simplified plan setup. Prior to the deployment of these new components, multiple plans had to be created in the system to accommodate unique plan features. For example, if the same sales plan was to be used for employees, managers and upline managers, three different plans had to be created: one for each employee level. After the implementation of the new tool set, a single plan can be used for all three employee levels. This flexibility has contributed to the reduction of the number of sales plans in the tool by 98%.

Seller Profile, the seller’s interface to the new web tool, was used for the first time in 1H2017. Despite the enormous changes, Incentive Plan Letters were able to be issued more timely and we successfully met our target of 98% of sellers on Plan 30 days sooner compared to prior year.