Sustaining Leadership Through Change

Feb 18, 2020
3 min read
Sustained leadership plays a huge role in the performance of a sales organization. Discover how Xactly has achieved and maintained its role as a leader in the SaaS industry.

There are several characteristics that we’ve all come to recognize as leadership qualities—but what does it really take to sustain leadership and lead, or even transform, an entire market or industry? 

In 1997, Blockbuster ruled media rentals, and Comcast was king of the cable industry. That same year, Netflix was born without much noise, but when they introduced viewers to the world to streaming in 2007, Blockbuster failed to keep up, the decline of cable began, and a new leader was born. And then Netflix began to fall behind and needed to reinvent.

Since then, streaming services have continued to pop up in quick succession (e.g., Hulu, YouTube TV, Peacock, etc.), and Netflix is at a critical point. They have long been the top provider in the streaming industry, but with the market quickly becoming saturated, the question remains: what will Netflix do to sustain its leadership and differentiate its service?

An Ever-changing Vision

When Xactly was founded back in 2005, we began our journey to create the first and only incentive compensation management (ICM) solution purpose-built in the cloud. At the same time, with our customers’ help, we began collecting pay and performance data. We were either really smart to do this, or lucky. At that time we had no idea that our data would be changing our industry. No other vendor in our space has access to this rich source of information, and perhaps, one day we will most likely be recognized as a data company rather than the leading provider of SPM. 

We continued to work towards this goal when we became a publicly-traded company in 2015, and in 2017 when we took the next step in our journey and made a huge organizational change. When we joined the Vista Equity Partners’ family, we were able to expand our services by acquiring Obero and OpsPanda to provide the first true Sales Performance Management (SPM) platform to the industry. It was at this point that we also redefined our vision from “incent right” to “unleashing human potential.” 

The reality is this: it takes more than just incenting right to run a successful enterprise. You need DATA to unleash and inspire your entire organization to break away from the status quo and lead the pack. 

It’s More Than Just Products and Services

For enterprises to sustain leadership, it has to start in the heart of the company. Organizational culture and values set the foundation for everything your business does; it impacts the way your employees interact with prospects and your overall customer experience. 

From day one, Xactly’s C.A.R.E. values (Customer Focus, Accountability, Respect, Excellence) have guided every decision we’ve made. Every Xactlian is responsible for putting customer needs first, holding themselves accountable, being respectful, and striving for excellence. The goal? To be more than just a vendor, create real relationships, and partner with every Xactly user—all to create the best experience for our customers. 

Centering our entire enterprise around our core values and creating a positive, vibrant culture has been key to sustaining leadership in our industry. You can see when employees are motivated and passionate about what they’re doing—it shows through our customer satisfaction.

“We started to use Incent in 2012 and replaced the older system to meet business needs. It is used by the Sales Operations department, Human Resources and Finance for Sales Compensation purposes and performance. It really eliminates all manual work that would be done by the old style. It addresses in real-time results as it provides information up to date. It is flexible on changes minor and major changes in your comp calculations. Great solution overall.”   - Irina Tarelkina, Sales Effectiveness Analyst, Purolator, Inc.

Paving New Roads in Sales Performance Management

You have to continuously push the limits to be a leader. Merely following the path of others isn’t good enough. Like the television market, the sales industry is constantly evolving. We have to continuously innovate ways to not only stay ahead of the competition but also to anticipate our customers’ needs.

Throughout our journey as a SaaS provider, we’ve expanded to become a niche platform and master in all things Sales Performance Management. This allows us to continuously look forward to the future of SPM and innovate new ways for sales organizations to improve their planning and performance. 

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, data provides a huge opportunity for enterprises to lead their industries. Whether we knew it or not, the data we started collecting when we founded Xactly has proved invaluable to our customers 15 years later. 

By leveraging our real-world insights, we’re working to provide a new level of visibility that helps organizations align their leadership teams, improve planning, and predict quota attainment and turnover with artificial intelligence. As a result, we’re helping to give life to a new generation of data-driven leadership that can gain strategic, actionable insights from their performance data.

Want to learn more about how Xactly compares in the Sales Performance Management industry? Reserve your copy of the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for the latest analysis.

  • Sales Performance Management
Erik Charles
Erik W. Charles
VP, Solutions Evangelist

Erik W. Charles is an accomplished professional with more than two decades of experience in Marketing, Consulting, and Product Evangelization.