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X-Factor Compensation Leaders: How to Be Incredible at Incentive Planning (Diligent Corporation)

As part of our Friends of Xactly (FOX) Community, we spoke with sales compensation leaders about their journeys in sales compensation and best practices.

9 min read

Building a successful sales compensation plan carries an incredible amount of responsibility for compensation planning teams. Those tasked with creating a plan must develop a process and incentive plan that will motivate and encourage the right sales behaviors to achieve goals, all while driving growth. 

Finding the right mixture of compensation requirements is no easy feat, but luckily, it doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. As part of our Friends of Xactly (FOX) Community, we’ve spoken with sales compensation leaders to create a blog series about their journeys in sales compensation, best practices, and the Xactly advantage. 

Meet The Expert - Katelyn Hurley

Who: Katelyn Hurley
Position: Manager, Incentive Compensation
Company: Diligent Corporation
Bio: Katelyn is a sales compensation expert at Digilent. 

Diligent Corporation is the “world’s most widely used board portal, offering a superior user experience, stringent security, and award-winning training and support.” Headquartered in New York, NY, the software company helps corporate, government, organisations, and not-for-profit group board members share and collaborate information for board meetings.

Tell us about your career journey in sales compensation. (How did you get your start? How did you end up where you are today?, etc.)

“When I graduated college, I joined a small startup as the first employee. Soon after that we hired a sales team, and I was tasked with working with our head of sales to come up with a comp plan for them. A year or so later, I joined a local SaaS company as a Commission Analyst. 

I spent the next 5 years with them as the company grew astronomically and we went from a private company to a public company back to a private company again. It was a whirlwind journey. Seeking a new set of challenges, I joined Diligent as the Manager of Incentive Compensation in May of 2017.”

What are the biggest challenges you face in your role today?

“Currently, our biggest challenges are integrating businesses we have acquired over the last few years. In addition to needing to learn an entirely new business, we spend a lot of time trying to align their compensation plans and sales goals with our own here at Diligent. Funny enough, with every acquisition I've ever integrated, it is very much a puzzle coming together. We look at [the acquired company’s] process and plans and see things that we would like to apply to our existing process & plans, and vice versa.”

How has technology played a role in your evolution as a sales compensation professional?

“At my former company, we did everything in Excel. We were managing over 400 compensation plans for 500 salespeople in Excel and faced many challenges while doing it. At Diligent, I came on board just as they were going through the build-out and UAT phases of Xactly. 

I was able to hit the ground running, and I think I attended literally every single Xactly training course (both in person and online) that I could. Xactly has been a game changer. What used to take hours in Excel now takes a matter of minutes in Xactly, and it's great to have one central source of truth for everything compensation-related.”

Describe your company's sales compensation planning process, your role in it, and how Xactly has changed this process (What is your favorite Xactly tip/trick that you’ve learned?).

“At Diligent, we evaluate the plans once a year and make updates with new quotas and metrics that help meet business goals. Once those are all set, we build everything out in Xactly and push it out to our sales reps. 

Xactly has helped to ensure that every rep receives their plan and can access it at any time (we're never digging around Outlook looking for what date we sent a plan out on–it lives in Incent's document management function). [Xactly] has also helped a lot on the accounting front. When our accounting team asks me for support on a number, I'm confident that I can tie out their numbers with what is in Xactly and provide them with the great level of detail they're usually looking for. 

I think my favorite tip or trick I learned in Xactly isn't necessarily a tip or trick, but the Analytics function overall. I took the online training sessions for Analytics and was blown away by all that it can do. We have an entire set of reports that we ran offline in 2017 that we're hoping to power via Analytics in 2018.”

What piece(s) of advice/lessons have you learned on your journey that you would share with your peers or younger self?

“I think the most powerful thing I learned is that there is a lot of value in putting in the legwork to make something great. There are times I'm digging through formulas in Incent troubleshooting an error. Frequently, this seems more tedious than simply checking a formula in Excel since I'm a lot more familiar with Excel formulas, and it's a lot easier to "force" something in Excel than it is in Incent. 

However, the value of putting in the work to make sure the formulas are working properly and that I understand everything is very valuable because I no longer spend time sending reps their results, their plans, etc. because it's all self-serviceable in Xactly.” 

How do you envision the future of sales compensation? 

“I think the new revenue recognition standards associated with ASC-606 guidance are going to have a huge impact on the sales comp world. Thankfully, we're set up pretty well for it here at Diligent, and Xactly will make our lives a lot easier than it would be if all of our sales comp data lived in Excel.”

Discover the Xactly Advantage for Your Company

At Xactly, we want to provide a simplified incentive compensation planning process. To do this, we partner with our customers and arm them with the tools they need for incentive compensation success. When the compensation of your company’s employees is your responsibility, you shouldn’t have to struggle with error-prone spreadsheets or manual commission calculations. Find the right Xactly solution for your business, industry, or role. Schedule your personalized demo today!