Data is crucial to the effective management of any company. Gone are the days when it was acceptable to make crucial business decisions based on gut instinct – now, the technology exists to ensure important choices can be made using relevant data and actual information.

For sales organizations, customer relationship management (CRM) and sales performance management (SPM) are two such solutions that can provide executives with the information needed to improve operations. Being able to get a full, end-to-end picture of the sales cycle provides departments with a number of crucial benefits for future plans, and can only be obtained through the implementation of SPM and CRM.

Xactly, a major vendor in the field of on-demand sales compensation and sales performance management software, recently stressed the importance of combining an SPM solution with CRM tools, such as Oracle's Sales and Marketing Cloud Service. The integration of the two platforms augments each of them to use compensation as a means to drive better sales performance.

"Organizations still struggle with CRM 'stickiness' as the reps don't always see how entering customer data into the system can benefit them," said Christopher Cabrera, president and CEO at Xactly Corporation. "By integrating SPM with CRM, the equation totally changes. Reps can track commissions, quota attainment and easily see 'what's in it for me.'"

Moreover, software vendors continue to improve their products and services on a daily basis. SPM and CRM solutions are becoming easier to use, gaining mobility and tracking more data. As this happens, they will provide even more value to the companies that use them. The more benefits they provide to companies, the less initial integration costs play a role in potential return on investment.

In fact, Xactly and Oracle are among the leading companies when it comes to the development of sales-related software. An index created by Ventana Research, which assessed factors such as usability, reliability, manageability, adaptability, capability and customer assurance, rated both Oracle and Xactly as being "hot" in terms of sales performance management solutions. Oracle was the No. 1 company at 91.2 percent, while Xactly was No. 4 at 89.6 percent.