Sunrun’s Smarter Incentive Compensation Process for Undistracted Selling

Sunrun, the nation’s leading home solar, battery storage and energy services company, had an incentive compensation management (ICM) system for processing the commissions of over 800 payees. While the system got the job done, there were clear opportunities for improvement and optimization. Sunrun engaged the OpenSymmetry team for help with how to get more value from their ICM investment.

The Challenge

After four years of using the CallidusCloud ICM platform, Sunrun found that there were still too many manual steps required in their process, and they weren’t satisfied with the reactionary nature of their system that addressed issues after they came up, rather than anticipating them. This resulted in time spent resolving payout disputes and making adjustments to commissions after the fact.

Due to some payment errors and limited visibility, payees often kept track of commissions on spreadsheets – this is known as shadow accounting. This practice distracted the sales organization from their main job: selling.

Additionally, Sunrun spent time manually loading and re-loading data, which was time that Sunrun knew would be better spent doing more strategic tasks. They also recognized that there were tools included in their system that, when used, would make them more efficient.

To push their ICM system to a point of excellence, Sunrun was ready to make some changes, starting with a thorough assessment to identify ways they could make their system smoother and more efficient.

The Solution

Sunrun partnered with OpenSymmetry to evaluate their ICM system by conducting a comprehensive health check. The output of the health check was a roadmap that identified several key areas of improvement, with both short-term and long-term plans for enhancement. These included:

  1. Data – There were big opportunities to reduce the number of steps and processing time by addressing sales data formatting, feeds, and flow. Data challenges were the biggest hurdle preventing Sunrun from full automation.
  2. Calculations – By changing Sunrun’s unique two performance periods (a bi-weekly commissions process and monthly bonus structure) to a consolidated once-per-month cycle, they could eliminate the issues causing payment errors as well as potential trust issues among the sales reps.
  3. Reporting – With the data issues being addressed, Sunrun could take full advantage of reporting functionalities. The visibility enabled by useful and accurate reports would provide a competitive advantage for the sales team and make the organization more agile.

The Result

With a more efficient process in place, Sunrun maximized the value of their ICM system and is now positioned to better meet their business goals and objectives, while saving time and resources along the way. While more enhancements are in progress, Sunrun has already seen results.

According to Robert Yeager, Director of Compensation at Sunrun, “Sunrun maximized the value of our incentive compensation system, and we were able to increase overall sales volume of solar panels and batteries. We’re now able to better serve both our employees and our customers. The efficiencies generated from this new ICM system have led to an increase in deployment of solar across the United States.”

As Sunrun strives for continuous improvement of their ICM system and processes, they plan to optimize usage of CallidusCloud Connect to increase the frequency of data feeds for more timely and effective reporting. This will enable the sales team to make more informed decisions and the sales managers to provide real-time coaching, increasing performance across the organization.

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