What we Learned from Motorola at WorldatWork’s Spotlight On Sales Compensation

Christopher Cabrera
Christopher Cabrera
In Xactly Blog
Christopher W. Cabrera is an entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist. He brings more than two decades of successful senior management experience at both early-stage and public companies to his role as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Xactly Corporation.

Xactly has said for a while that sales compensation automation is the strategic weapon of choice for today’s best-in-class sales organizations—so it’s exciting to see industry trends increasingly rally around sales enablement as a top B2B priority.

Case in point—Last week, the Xactly team flew to Chicago for Spotlight on Sales Compensation, hosted by WorldatWork. While WorldatWork has been around forever, this year marked only the second year for this particular conference, but it’s already become a key event for the Sales Performance Management industry. In fact, both years were entirely sold out for sponsorships and attendee passes very early on.

During the conference, I had the opportunity to host a workshop with Dave Manning to discuss how Motorola has improved employee behavior and bottom-line results with automated compensation, even as mobile technology is transforming today’s workforce. Here are some of the compensation challenges Motorola faced before partnering with Xactly:

  • Diverse solutions portfolio. Everything from small, individual hand-held devices to bar code scanning functionality to large constellation multi-private networks.
  • Complicated selling environment. Had transactional and long sales cycles. Deal amounts range from $20k to $500 million. Sales cycles range from several weeks to 5 years.
  • Overly complex systems. 242 plans for 1,800 reps. 25,000 partners globally
  • Communication failures. Sales reps didn’t understand link between commission and sales activity.
  • Losing top performers because payments were late and inaccurate. Some reps were being paid as long as six months after the sale.
  • No audit trail whatsoever.

But after getting down into the details of their business process, Motorola saw firsthand that automated pay and strategic analysis encourage a virtuous cycle for sales enablement. Just a few benefits include:

  • Reducing their number of plans by almost half—from 242 to 140 plans
  • Putting the “Analyst” back in their Compensation Analysts job titles by cutting admin time and virtually eliminating errors and disputes. Increasing sales rep trust was also critical here.
  • Driving desired sales performance and rep behavior by analyzing what their top performers were doing differently than the rest of the sales force.
  • Transforming into a global sales culture by reorganizing their regional pay plan structure. Today, Motorola’s compensation is consistent across the entire organization, though plans are flexible to incent different regions.

This is why I come to work every day. It’s rewarding to see customers like Motorola overcome so many challenges, and convert significant obstacles to revenue into such profit assets. I think our customer track record may be part of the reason Xactly Corporation has won CRM Magazine’s Market Award for Incentive Management for the third year in a row.

Tune in for upcoming posts where I discuss why automating the way you’ve always compensated your sales force is like paving a cow path. I’ll explore how you can develop new, strategic compensation plans that align peak sales performance with your corporate objectives.

As Motorola learned, compensation is not an art—it is a science. The challenge is understanding the data.

Join me this week at Dreamforce to hear from other Xactly customers who are succeeding with sales comp, including HealthTech Holdings, salesforce.com, and Zuora. The breakout session—The Future of Comp (Hint: It’s Not Excel)—is on Wednesday, August 31 at 3:30 pm in Moscone West, Room 2024. We’re also at booth #520.

Posted by Christopher Cabrera, Founder & CEO of Xactly Corporation.


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What we Learned from Motorola at WorldatWork’s Spotlight On Sales Compensation

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