Post

X-Factor Compensation Leaders: How to Be Incredible at Incentive Planning (XO Group)

6 min read

Sales planning is a complex process that can impact the overall success of your company, especially when it comes to designing sales compensation plans. Sales compensation professionals must build a team to analyze metrics and build incentive plans that align with company goals. Ultimately, the new compensation and incentive plans must successfully encourage the right sales behaviors to achieve goals, as well as drive growth. 

With automation technology and greater data and insights, sales compensation planning doesn’t have to be a tiresome, drawn-out process. 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. Below is our interview with Amy Hellmann, Director of Operations at XO Group.

Meet The Expert

Who: Amy Hellmann
Position: Director of Local Operations
Company: XO Group
Time in sales compensation: 5 years
Bio: Amy Hellmann is Director of Local Operations at XO Group. With over 10 years at the company, she is focused on developing a compensation strategy while implementing new programs and processes that drive efficiency, productivity, and growth. 

Before moving to Operations, Hellmann was the Director of Business Analytics and focused on analyzing sales trends and behavior to drive more business. Prior to XO Group, Amy worked at Deloitte & Touche as a Securitization Analyst for the Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities team. She received a BA in Economics from Bucknell University.  

XO Group is a U.S. media company that helps customers share their life milestones through multi-media. The company helps “inspire, inform and cheer on our community as they move through life’s most amazing (and stressful!) milestones.” Headquartered in New York City, XO Group offers a variety of multi-media services to help customers announce everything from: “the proposal, to creating a home and starting a family.” 

Q & A

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.)

“I started working with sales compensation while I was a Senior Business Analyst at XO Group. As we have transformed our sales organization over the years, we spent much more of our time focusing on how sales compensation can drive our business. Over time, my role transformed from analyzing what happened to determining our go-forward strategy.”

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

“The biggest challenge I face today is being able to implement changes quickly and efficiently.”

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

“When I started out we were calculating all reporting and payouts in Excel. We moved to Xactly in 2015, and it has greatly helped with accuracy, timeliness of reporting, and daily visibility for our sales team.”

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?).

“In 2018, we worked towards transforming our process so that sales strategy comes first, and then aligning our compensation strategy to it to make sure that we're incentivizing the right behaviors for each individual sales role.” 

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

“Take as many training courses as possible and read as much information as you can out there.  Knowledge is power!”

How do you envision the future of sales compensation?

“I envision a much more streamlined process between sales strategy, finance strategy, and compensation strategy—where all 3 groups are working together to achieve corporate goals.”

Discover the Xactly Advantage for Your Company

At Xactly, we strive to arm our customers with the data and tools they need to for an integrated sales planning process. As a vital part of your company’s success and strategy, sales compensation shouldn’t fall victim to error-prone spreadsheets or manual commission calculations. Find the right Xactly solution for your business, industry, or role. Schedule your personalized demo today!