How to Use Optimized Sales Planning to Drive Growth like Salesforce

Every sales organizations needs strategic planning and analysis. See how Salesforce uses Xactly to manage their global sales force and drive company growth.

5 min read

Your company’s sales plan drives the overall sales strategy and is vital to drive growth. As one of the most successful sales organizations in the world, Salesforce has optimized their approach to sales planning using tools such as Xactly to manage their global sales force and drive company growth.

Nearly 70 percent of Xactly customers use Salesforce to manage their sales force compensation plans, and Salesforce is a long-standing Xactly customer (since 2010), using Xactly Incent to manage more than 15,000 payees on compensation plans.

In our recent webinar, “The Salesforce Approach to Sales Planning, Execution, and Optimization,” Xactly Chief Customer Officer Bernie Kassar spoke with Michael Lightbody, Salesforce VP of Global Revenue Operations, and Meredith Schmidt, Salesforce EVP of Global Revenue Operations, to discuss how Salesforce leverages Xactly to drive revenue operations for enterprise sales performance management (SPM). 

Optimizing Revenue Operations at Salesforce

According to Meredith Schmidt, revenue operations is a key function in every company because it helps support the customer lifecycle, sales force, and end user.  

Xactly salesforce sales incentive compensation sales planning

At Salesforce, the revenue operations team is made up of five smaller teams, including:

  • Product Operations - product & pricing
  • Sales Operations - supports sales team
  • Partner Operations - enables partner channel
  • Sales Compensation - pays sales force
  • Systems and Enablement - enables sales army and entire revenue operations team

When designing sales compensation plans, Salesforce uses their revenue operations team to optimize planning and support each stage in their customer life cycle. The systems and enablement team, in particular, ensures there is proper sales training and that processes are scalable to match company growth.

Salesforce’s Sales Compensation Philosophy

In recent years, Salesforce transformed their sales compensation design process by integrating their sales and compensation design teams. This integration has given Salesforce greater insight into the effectiveness of their compensation plans, ensuring any incentives can realistically be administered by compensation team.

Ultimately, sales compensation comes down to incenting the right sales behaviors. To do this, compensation design teams must align incentive plans with company objectives and values. Start by thinking what’s important to your company and design plans to drive behaviors that drive growth.

At the foundation, design teams must understand company strategic initiatives to build compensation plans that drive what’s right for both the company and the sales team.

How Salesforce Uses Data to Drive Growth

Data is one of the most critical components of strategic, optimized sales planning. Alongside analytics, data is the foundation of your sales plan. They key is to find tools that seamlessly integrate your data sources and provide quality data, ensuring the necessary information is available to pay sales compensation earnings out efficiently and accurately.

For sales reps, data can be an effective motivator. The more frequently you can provide sales reps with their earned commission data, the more motivated your sales team will be. Data also provides key indicators of how your company is doing, and when designed effectively, compensation plans can be a key driver for growth.

Current and past performance data and analytics show the ROI of incentives and help compensation design teams plan create more effective plans.

See the Xactly Advantage for Yourself

By using Xactly Incent, Salesforce gives their sales teams the ability to see their earned commission in real time. They are able to benchmark, analyze, and adjust their compensation plans using Xactly Insights.

Having the right data easily accessible to sales and finance leaders allows for more accurate forecasting and sales compensation payouts, ultimately, helping companies achieve their sales objectives and drive growth. See the advantage of Xactly for yourself with a personalized demo.