Sales Compensation Meets CRM, Simplifies Incentives

By Jamie Bsales
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Entrepreneurs that run Salesforce.com’s online CRM (customer relationship management) application now have access to another tool to make managing their business easier. Xactly Corp. has announced the availability of Xactly Incent Express, a sales compensation tool that leverages Salesforce’s Force.com development platform to bring enterprise-class sales-performance management to small and mid-sized businesses.

The affordable solution lets business owners create and manage an incentive program — sales commissions, bonuses and so on — without the expense and hassle of deploying such a system in house from scratch.

“In a typical small business, executives struggle with spreadsheets to keep track of sales compensation, and there’s poor visibility into things like year-to-date performance,” noted Liz Cobb, general manager for SMB solutions at Xactly. “With Incent Express, our goal was to automate the process.”

Incent Express lets a business manager rapidly create sales compensation plans, calculate commissions and even export payments to payroll from a single application that is integrated with their existing Salesforce.com database. Importantly, Incent Express provides guidance to the executive creating the plan as well as a cost analysis that shows the total cost of a proposed plan in advance, so there are no surprises after a company rolls out the plan to its employees.

The application is designed for businesses with 100 payees or fewer. Xactly claims that the self-service solution can be deployed entirely on-line by a non-technical person in a matter of hours, with no outside professional services required. “We knew it needed to be simple, or business owners would fall back into using their spreadsheets,” said Cobb.

Pre-built plans and examples help clients get started, and managers can tailor plans on custom criteria, such as deal amount, product margin, product mix, discount percent and even non-cash values (such as hours or quantity of deals).

Incent Express also provides automated reporting and real-time dashboards that provide business owners and sales managers the insight they need to better track and modify team behavior, realign sales efforts to meet changing business dynamics and more accurately gauge business performance.

And thanks to the seamless integration with Salesforce.com, mangers can calculate incentives using real-world, up-to-date information about accounts, products and opportunities, rather than relying on projections that could be out of date.

A simple wizard interface walks new customers through the six steps required to create and enact a compensation plan: from defining the plan and adding users to defining payments and reviewing the proposed plan. The system even generates customizable Compensation Plan documents, individualized for each payee, that clearly spell out the terms of the plan, including quotas and quarterly attainments.

To deploy Incent Express, potential customers need to be using the Enterprise Edition or Unlimited Edition of Salesforce.com’s CRM platform. Incent Express costs $29.95 per subscriber per month, and there is a one-time setup fee of $499 for businesses tracking 50 payees or fewer.

Xactly offers a 30-day free trial, and it backs Incent Express with free phone support to help customers get up and running. The solution is available directly from the company, and also through Salesforce.com’s AppExchange online marketplace.

Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with nearly 14 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.

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This article was originally published on November 17, 2009
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