At 12 years old, Xactly Founder & CEO Chris Cabrera would sit in on sales calls as his father, a proud immigrant and serial entrepreneur, spoke to U.S. prospects in a thick Colombian accent. It seems fitting, then, that decades later, Xactly’s entry into Latin America begins in his father’s homeland of Colombia.
To highlight this exciting and personal venture, Cabrera recently spoke with South American-based publication La República to discuss how Xactly’s products will support companies in Colombia and beyond. We’ve translated the full interview for your convenience below. Changes in the compensation process, which in some companies often ends up being very tedious, now an alternative is offered with automation that streamlines departments such as sales and marketing.
A U.S. Citizen of Colombian descendent has been developing a system in which sales targets and compensation plans are available in real time within the company. In a conversation with La Republica, CEO and founder of Xactly Corporation, Christopher Cabrera, explains the investments he will make in the country [Colombia] and his entry into the Latin American market, starting with Colombia.
The system that Xactly Corporation offers, allows companies to measure their sales strategy, bonus and commissions that are given to the sales department in order to achieve their goals.
Q: What is the system of variable compensation that you are leading?
A: I started working in a company in the United States, where I was in charge of the sales of a compensation system that we offered to companies and, unlike what happens today, it was not in the cloud but sold through a software disc (on-premise) with a cost of $ 1 million USD.
I have more than 20 years of experience in implementing variable compensation systems. In the particular case of Xactly Corporation, the software we offer is a cloud platform that allows companies to incentivize employees in the sales processes.
Q: What was the product offering to companies?
A: What happens regarding compensation for companies, when I started, was based mostly in a manual process, which many times led to errors.
Q: When did the idea arise to improve the variable compensation system?
A: In 2004, I started to see the benefits of how companies were using the cloud. I then proposed it to the company I worked for but did not have much traction. So I decided to start a new venture.
Q: What was the initial investment?
A: Like all projects, at the beginning I did not have enough funds, but with family and friends I was able to raise $800,000 USD to build the software. After ten months that it took me to create the platform, I was able to get the first few customers. Subsequently, I obtained a venture capital investment of $4 million USD and then, after five additional rounds, we managed to go public on the NYSE.
Q: You are starting operations in Colombia, what is your goal?
A: We see in Colombia a market that has been performing well. We have been in meetings for a week with the financial, industrial, commercial, and consumer sectors, and we have detected the problems in the compensation systems that we have successfully solved in the United States. So we see a great opportunity.
Q: How will these operations start in the country?
A: We have a partner here in Colombia, Avanxo, and with them we are going to expand in the Colombian market. Because we operate from the need of the market that we penetrate, we do not have a defined initial investment capital, this way we can invest what is needed to build a portfolio.
Q: And what are your thoughts of the tax system in Colombia...
A: We do not see it as an entry barrier but we see in the rules in the playbook that define the country as friendly in regards to business and investment. On the other hand, the Latin American market has many companies with presence in several countries that have sales forces that need compensation automation.
Q: What changes in a company that implements Xactly’s software?
A: The very concrete difference is to implement an efficient commission process without having an error with the staff.