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IBM - Sales Incentives Workshop

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: Sales Awards Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Sales Training or Coaching Program of the Year - Technology Industries

Nomination Title: Sales Incentives Workshop

Tell the story about your organization's sales training and/or coaching program since the beginning of July 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

The IBM Sales Incentives Workshop (Incentives Day) was initiated in March 2017 based on feedback that sellers would like to learn more about IBM’s incentives process, tools, and potential impacts on them personally. With nearly 40,000 sellers and sales managers world-wide in 2,000+ different sales roles on a variety of different types of incentives plans, understanding the process and tools to maximise one’s earnings can be confusing without the proper education and direction.

IBM has transitioned much of its support to a self-service type of model, but, clearly in sensitive areas like payments and commissions, many individuals prefer a personalized approach. Incentives Day Workshop was implemented in addition to a variety of self-service educational programs in order to not only help sellers to better understand their incentives plan and related matters, but also to co-create support based on requirements for a more interactive dialogue. Based on the face-to-face interactions and discussionspurposely provoked during these workshops, the Global Sales Incentives (GSI) organization was able to initiate development and enhancements of tools that will help IBM sellers to deliver more revenue. The concept of this workshop was designed tostrengthen the partnership between GSI and Sales Organizations in order to build a stronger IBM. At the end of sessions, anenvironment of partnership and "Unite to get it done" was clear for everybody.

The first “Sales Incentives Day” was hosted by the Incentives Center of Excellence in Sao Paulo, Brazil for Latin American sellers. It consisted of two consecutive days of education and interactive workshops. The intention of these sessions was to better educate the sellers on IBM’s incentives process and related matters. There was also a goal to resolve any specific open issues for any sellers relative to their achievement or commissions via the utilization of "resolution rooms" where sellers could meet in private with incentives experts at the end of each session.

One of the greatest challenges was to deliver high quality sessions to sellers from multiple units that sell different solutions under different incentive plans. The implementation of resolution rooms enabled the sales incentives team to address this challenge. Any specific issue or case could be reviewed and resolved on the same day by our incentives specialists on site who were familiar with the different types of incentive plans and elements.

At the end of each session, a feedback survey was done in order to improve and course correct for future opportunities. The positive feedback ratio was 99% and the outcome of the first workshop changed the way IBM sellers in Latin America interact with the Sales Incentives team. It brought more trust and openness and has enhanced the collaboration between sales and support teams to mitigate, clarify, and resolve incentives related matters. The program was so well received that a second session of “Incentives Day” for sellers in Latin America took place in August, 2017.

With Incentives Days, we could see an improvement onthe speed of inquiries resolution as well as a reduction on the number of reopened cases. Speed of execution metrics improved by 23% and quality of responses by 60%. In addition, the number of issues raised by the sales teams was reduced as they were better informed about sales incentives related matters. The relationship with the Sales Executives became even stronger as they perceived on Global Sales Incentives team, a true partner in leveraging IBM sales and consequently delivery of revenue. This is not only a result of Sales Incentives Day workshop, but also of the focus given on the quality of support provided to sales team and the mindset of "One Single Team" for the good of IBM.

Due to its success, the Sales Incentives Day was expanded and implemented in Latin America, North America and Asia, with plans and dates to start in Europe, MEA and other regions where IBM has sales members.