Handling commissions each month can feel, at times, like doing battle with the many-headed Hydra monster. You’re wielding a sword, uncertain of which flailing head to focus on first. Should it be the cumbersome Excel spreadsheet, rife with the potential for human error at a single keystroke? The inevitable back-and-forth with reps when a commission percentage is calculated incorrectly? The communication necessary when a change or return creates a nasty surprise at the end of the month? With so many heads out to attack you, you aren’t going to escape the process without damage.
Because of a cumbersome process and lack of an ideal tool, calculating and processing commissions can be an enormous drain on administrative hours and energy. And, as noted above, it’s a process that’s prone to human error and vulnerable to poor communication—both of which can damage (rather than enhance) relationships between OEMs, distributors, and reps.
Step back a moment, though, from the battle. Today, digital transformation is the talk of almost every industry and business. The ability to automate manual processes and reimagine business workflows to reap the benefits of new tools and gain efficiency can’t be overlooked. The way the commissions process is currently handled by many OEMs and distributors offers a classic example of a system ripe for digital transmission: a time-consuming process that could be simplified and streamlined in order for a business to gain time and resources to redeploy elsewhere. (Find more on commissions frictions here.)
Said another way, digitally transforming your commissions process can help you free time, talent, and resources—and turn something that currently causes friction into something that drives your growth and enhances the very relationships it may be damaging at present. If that high-level change isn’t compelling enough, consider the three specific reasons below.
#1: Welcome precision to your processes.
For many companies, the commissions battle happens in the Excel arena. Over time, administrative staff create or expand an Excel spreadsheet, using homegrown processes to track changes and percentage variations over time. Inevitably, mistakes happen.
Transforming the commissions process with digital tools and automation reduces errors, saves significant administrative time, and employs rules-based logic to keep tabs on expected vs. unexpected variability to head off those nasty month-end surprises. If that sounds neat and tidy, that’s because it is.
#2: Work smarter.
Consider the person-hours required to calculate monthly commissions right now. How many dozen does it occupy? What could your team do with those hours, instead? That’s what digital transformation can do: use automation to take over repetitive, time-consuming tasks, so humans can focus on what only humans can do. Reallocating the person-hours the commissions process takes can let you do more with the same—or perhaps, more with less as you divert staff to other tasks critical to business growth.
#3. Enhance relationships and build trust.
Transparency, visibility, and confidence in an error-free process goes a long way to building strong relationships between OEM staff, distributors’ staff, and reps. Instead of unwieldy email- or phone-based communication about discrepancies—necessary for resolving commission payment errors—in-app admin-payee discussions can keep staff focused and create conditions for healthier, happier resolutions. From the perspective of the reps, real-time visibility into commissions and access to reports and archived data can reduce interaction time with administrative staff—and even head off communication or problems before they have to happen. This visibility and these tools are powerful relationship builders.
Imagine that, instead of doing battle with the Hydra of commissions next month, you were able to transform the process into an automated approach that takes three steps and just a few minutes. Dispute resolution time drops dramatically. Reps and admins alike embrace a solve-problems-before-they-happen mentality. That transformation would be like finding the immortal head of Hydra and taking care of business once and for all.
ImplantBase is a leader in digital transformation for the orthopedic implant industry. Its platform provides manufacturers of every size with a unique cloud-based solution that transforms how the business operates on every level and across your critical functions of finance, sales, and operations. That means bringing automation—and revolution—to scores of mission-critical business processes, so that your team can stop flailing in chaos and start driving improved performance.
If you’re ready to transform how you handle commissions—and other functions—ImplantBase can help. Give us 30 minutes to assess your performance and help you determine a roadmap to digital transformation—and we will also demo our newly redesigned Commissions module.