Big Things Have Small Beginnings - Xactly Cloud Solutions

July 11, 2012

Twelve years ago when I first got involved with the automation of Incentive Compensation I never envisioned what the industry would become from a technology perspective.  The first releases of products just didn’t work and required an enormous amount of pre-processing and the creation of manual processes to achieve something close to a desired state.  The products matured and the problem moved on from core feature functionality to scalability.   Once scalability had been addressed we spent a few years implementing giant sales forces and certainly didn’t see the value proposition for what I call Micro-Sales Forces (MSF) of less than 100 representatives.  My thought process at the time was that MSF should be administered using Microsoft office applications like Excel.

Side note: From OpenSymmetry’s 2012 Sales and Technology Survey we found that >90% of companies with less than 100 sales representative use Excel to Administer compensation.  Administration in Excel has been shown to be less than optimal for accuracy in commission calculations.  If you would like to see the full survey results please contact us at

But then simultaneously, as the footprint and vision of the technology moved from Incentive Compensation to Sales Performance Management, a number of dynamics came into play –

1.    Multiple companies had mature products that at the very least could provide Big Calculator functionality

2.    The idea the software could be paid for with perpetual fees or pay-as-you-go as opposed to capital outlay + maintenance fees

3.    Hyper-Competition (combined with smarter buyers) in North America drives down average seat per month price to a reasonable level

4.    Emergence of Cloud / SaaS solutions

These dynamics, with the emergence of Cloud solutions being the lynchpin, allow for companies with MSF to reap the benefits that previously were only available to much larger enterprises.

How does Cloud based technology for sales performance make such an impact?  Well obviously cost – no need to build out infrastructure and attract, train, and retrain talent to manage a system over time, configure plan or reporting updates, or to roll out upgrades.   Less obvious are things like security and reliability that are inherent in the best of breed Cloud solutions.

One of these solutions that have been in the news in the past few days is Xactly with the announcement of their Express product’s seamless integration with Inuit’s Quickbooks.  More details here

The Express product built natively on the platform already provides the out-of-the-box connectivity to Salesforce.

Both of these pre-built connections are important to the success of Xactly as a company as it continues to drive down the cost of implementation as well as targets users of already installed software that have MSF that are well served by their Express offering.

The core benefits for a company with a MSF using a Sales Performance Management solution include the ability to rapidly configure sales compensation plans, accurately calculate commissions, export payments to payroll, provide transparency and reporting to motivate sales representatives and business analytics to make decisions.

The range of companies who could benefit from SPM has grown to encompass sales forces from as small as five to sales forces in the hundreds of thousands.   Bottom line if you have a sales force you should be looking at Sales Performance Management.



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