Excel Hell: The Compensation Plan Nightmare

Patrick Morton
Patrick Morton
In Incentives, Inspiration, Sales Comp
Patrick Morton is Director of EMEA at Xactly Corporation in London. He was Xactly’s top sales professional in 2016, achieving the highest volume of new business revenue globally and winning the New Business Revenue Award FY16 as an Account Director. Patrick has been integral in establishing Xactly’s presence in EMEA and is excited to continue future expansion.

In today’s incredibly fast-paced and competitive world, sales compensation has become more advanced and essential to a company’s success. With the increasing complexities of compensation plans, businesses need an equally sophisticated way to manage, calculate and automate the process; moving beyond the old-fashioned spreadsheet.

The painful reality of Excel-based organizations is that its staff will spend hours fine-tuning numbers to calculate which bonus is assigned to which sales representative. This can get very complicated, very fast. It also not only sucks up valuable time which could be spent elsewhere, but it’s also how errors occur, creating a logistical nightmare for businesses and bringing them into ‘Excel Hell.’

Just because sales compensation management involves numeric data doesn’t mean Excel is the best tool for the job.  The laborious method of using spreadsheets takes up valuable business time to create even the most basic of plans, due to programming, testing and fine-tuning that could be spent elsewhere. Excel provides very limited reporting options, meaning sales reps are unlikely to know where they are in reaching their targets and performance. Recent research has even found that up to 90% of spreadsheets have errors that can affect their results. Just imagine all of the errors that the sales pipeline, business and sales compensation plans will have as a result.

Fortunately, however, there are tools that can take away the stress of a business’ compensation management and do all the hard work instead. These tools not only take away the headaches of Excel formulas and calculations; they can also help a business to discover what makes each sales reps tick, and how they can benefit from a comprehensive sales compensation plan that suits their needs.

Download our guide, "Designing Sales Compensation Plans," to learn how to structure your plans. Or, build a plan in minutes with our ready-to-use templates.

By making the move from a spreadsheet to a specialized compensation system, not only can businesses save themselves time (and money), they can also save themselves from errors.  Automating the process can take the headache out of complicated calculations. It also enables businesses to easily make customizable changes to plans within minutes, rather than the tedious hours it takes in Excel.

If businesses have the right compensation plans in place, they can provide real-time feedback to their sales reps so they can accurately monitor their progress. Not only does this provide incentives for the sales teams who are able to easily visualize their achievements, but also provides businesses with a holistic view of the company in one place, rather than looking through numerous spreadsheets that might be outdated.

A business’s end goal is of course to achieve profit. With the right incentives in place for sales teams, businesses can reap the rewards and see a sales team that meets its targets, and beyond. Businesses need to get out of the dark ages and join the 21st century, taking advantage of what the right tools for sales compensation can do, for both their sales reps’ motivation and their business.


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Excel Hell: The Compensation Plan Nightmare

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