What is RPA?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology that uses software bots to automate manual tasks. It works best with repetitive, rules-based tasks. RPA is typically used in situations where APIs are unavailable, and humans are conducting manual tasks through a UI. The bots perform tasks in the UI such as clicking on fields, filling out forms, and navigating between screens. These software robots are designed to perform tasks just like a human operator would, but they do so more quickly, accurately, and without the need for breaks. Any decision making, however, requires human intervention.
How to calculate sales commissions using RPA
RPA can be used to calculate sales commissions in situations where there are standardized rules for commissions and where sales data are in a structured format. Follow these steps to calculate commissions with RPA.
- Data Gathering: RPA bots can extract sales data from different sources, such as CRM systems, sales databases, or spreadsheets.
- Data Processing: Once the sales data is collected, the bots can process it, applying the specific commission rules and formulas that your organization uses to calculate commissions for each salesperson or team.
- Calculations: RPA bots can perform complex calculations, including determining the salesperson's total sales, considering any performance thresholds, and applying commission rates or formulas based on the salesperson's performance or specific criteria.
- Data Validation: Bots can also validate the accuracy of the calculations by cross-referencing them with the provided data and commission rules.
- Report Generation: RPA bots can generate commission statements or reports for each salesperson, detailing the sales data, calculations, and final commission amounts.
- Payment Processing: In some cases, RPA bots can also be integrated with payment systems to initiate commission payments to salespeople.
Should you calculate sales commissions with RPA or a dedicated commission tool?
While automating RPA may make sense in some situations, it also has limitations compared to a dedicated tool. Using RPA may make sense for organizations with a large and mature RPA program, and an RPA center of excellence to help ensure a smooth rollout. However, RPA commissions will likely require manual work to maintain over time. As systems and processes change, RPA bots require updates, which can be fairly time consuming. For example, if there are new fields created in the CRM which impact commissions, bots need to be updated to reflect these changes. If commission plans change, RPA bots need to be updated and may even need to be completely rebuilt. This extra manual work defeats much of the benefit of automation, which is intended to improve productivity by reducing the need for manual effort. Dedicated sales commission tools should be able to incorporate many or all of these types of changes quickly and painlessly.
Sales commission software also comes with rich capabilities which are not available in RPA, and which are often essential to effectively administering a sales commissions program. Features such as individualized dashboards for reps keep teams up to date on their earnings in real time, reducing the need for time consuming back and forth interactions between sales and finance. API integrations with CRMs, ERP systems, and payroll ensure that data is constantly up to date and reconciled without the level of effort required to build and maintain RPA bots. Managing commissions requires closely monitoring the impact of commissions on performance, making changes quickly, and adapting to changing business objectives. Making these types of changes using an RPA approach may prove to be more work than manual commissions were in the first place.