+ Xactly Case Study
Pendo was founded in 2013 when alumni from Rally, Google, Cisco, and Red Hat combined their heads and hearts to build something they wanted but never had as product managers — a simple way to understand and act on what truly drives product success.
With thousands of customers worldwide, including those from Fortune 500 enterprises to B2B tech startups to educational institutions and healthcare systems, organizations worldwide use Pendo to achieve a common goal—to accelerate and deepen software product adoption.
The company has raised a massive $356 million to date at a valuation of $2.6 billion.
Pendo first partnered with Xactly to automate and improve their incentive compensation programs and workflows when their sales force consisted of 55 sales team members. Since then, this number has increased 6x as the company has seen continued success in the marketplace and has no plans to pause this growth anytime soon.
While a strong sales force is imperative for business growth, it also challenges the compensation teams to ensure that their commission strategies and processes scale alongside.
At Pendo, William Holland heads the company's compensation strategy. Ever since the company first implemented Xactly Incent as their compensation tool, the team has utilized Incent to automate incentive plans and related workflows and scale them effectively. Further, Pendo also uses Incent to modernize and evolve its compensation programs to keep pace with its rapidly growing sales force and business objectives.
Pendo first started with Xactly Incent to implement a more robust commissions tool that could handle the pace of their rapid sales force growth as well as provide more detail and information to members of the sales force on quota, sales, and payment, all of which promotes transparency and increases motivation amongst the organization.
Having Xactly Incent in place has also allowed the sales org at Pendo a greater understanding of the success rates of the products they sell. Additionally, with Incent, sales reps have a central place where they can find answers to common questions like: "How much am I getting paid this month? What is the status of the sale I just closed? How do I know I got paid on a particular opportunity? Where do I find my plan document? How do I sign my plan document?"
We also spoke to a sales rep at Pendo, Jeanette Arrowood, an Enterprise Channel Account Executive. When she was new to the team, Nick, a Sr. Sales Comp Specialist, held a 1:1 call with her to answer her many questions that were very specific to how Pendo handles different parts of the sales org’s commissions, like how their commision plans work, how/when she's getting paid and more. That's where Incent has provided her with greater visibility and therefore motivation to stay focused on selling. Now, with Xactly Show Me, Nick and William hope to enable every member of the Pendo sales org in a scalable manner.
Incent also acts as a database for William's team to easily and quickly compile all sales comp and commissions paid data in order to perform accruals and submit accurate numbers on time.
Other key changes that William's team has been working on with Incent's robust capabilities and an expansive feature set:
- Allowing their rapidly growing global offices to view compensation information in their home currency by enabling the multi-currency capabilities of Incent.
- Communicating on-the-fly changes by adjusting reporting mechanisms in the Analytics module.
- Introducing Show Me as a training tool to show the sales reps how to utilize the system, especially if they haven't seen it before.
Xactly Commissions Expense Accounting (CEA) and Xactly Connect
Pendo’s compensation admin team oversees all Xactly products they use, including Xactly Connect. A combination of Incent, CEA, and Connect empowers the team to manage expectations with their finance leaders. One of the critical objectives that William's team is currently focused on is getting to a 5-day close in anticipation of Pendo potentially going public at some point.
To achieve this, William's team has created an analytics report in Xactly Incent that helps them process the payroll through Connect and submit it on time every month. Additionally, Xactly CEA has helped them minimize the number of days used to research any reconciliation issues, thus getting them nearer to their ultimate goal of a 5-day close.
Xactly’s CEA product also helps them break down and categorize the expenses, making things easier on the accounting side when managing and maintaining expense buckets.
Xactly Show Me
As Pendo's sales force grows rapidly, William's team is constantly answering questions from members of the sales org via as many as six different channels, including email, 1:1 chat messages, calls, and partner teams. This has meant repeat questions, delays in communication, and slower response times in getting answers to the sales reps who are reaching out.
To help with this, William intends to use Xactly Show Me to guide and enable the reps to independently find the answers and materials they're looking for.
With reps being able to find answers on their own via the assistance of Xactly Show Me, William's team has more time to address other matters and focus on the overall compensation strategy at Pendo.
With Xactly solutions, Pendo's compensation administration team has been able to achieve:
- Significant time savings towards compensation administration and execution
- Easy to use experience for both the compensation administrators and sales reps
- Timely and effective assistance in compliance with ASC606/IFRS 15 accounting standards
- A 5-day close period for the finance and accounting teams at Pendo
- An auditable system helpful in creating a smoother path to a potential IPO
When asked what differentiates Xactly from other vendors and why he would recommend Xactly to his peers, William says:
"Xactly Incent is the solution that people in the sales compensation industry use most widely, and the amount of support my team receives from Xactly and its extensive partner network is exceptional. The ability to reach out to a massive community of people that utilize the solution is phenomenal, especially if one is not a subject matter expert.”