Sales Compensation Software: 2 Qualifying Questions

Sales-Compensation-SoftwareThis question was posed as a follow-up to a previous article on enterprise sales compensation and discussion in the LinkedIn Sales Operations Group.

One of the first AppExchange add-ons to most of us consider is automating the labor intensive, error prone sales compensation process. But, like most IT projects, automating a bad compensation system just moves you further from your goal and trades one problem for another.

“Make it work in the real world first, then automate.”

For small companies, managing via email and Microsoft Excel is the norm and that’s not all bad…for a while.  You can learn a lot wrestling with commission details using only pencil, paper, Excel and getting an earful from sales reps when you screw up. You will be highly motivated to keep your compensation plan simple enough to pass both of these tests:


  • Can the compensation plan basics fit on the back of a business card?
  • Can you clearly explain the compensation plan on the elevator ride from the 4th floor to the lobby?

It’s Time

As your company grows, the ROI for compensation software gets stronger and stronger. If you add up the time spent by sales management, operations, accounting and the field processing, checking and correcting errors you will eventually come to the decision that sales compensation is a process that should be automated with software. If you are already using, choosing an integrated solution such as Xactly or CallidusCloud makes a lot of sense.

Commissions become a major financial element of the running a company and anecdotal information without supporting data leads to poor decision-making. As you navigate growth and weather tough times, it’s critical to be able to run and analyze commission reports. Erik Charles tells me the features highlighted in his video response are standard features of the Incent analytics module.

When you have a fundamentally sound compensation plan and commission structure, you are in a great position to automate when it’s time to scale the company and your time and attention is needed elsewhere.


Collaborate on your 2015 Compensation Plan



Image Credit: Thomas Eagle

About Neal Murphy

Neal Murphy is the publisher of Enterprise Sales Operations and former VP of Worldwide Sales & Operations with 20 years experience in enterprise technology.

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