Everyone loves a good spreadsheet. But tracking performance, training, and succession with them is difficult. Spreadsheets can’t give you deep, real-time insights into how your sales team is performing or how to make them more successful.
TechTarget is a U.S. public company that provides purchase-intent marketing and sales services to enterprise technology companies, using data from readership of tech-focused websites to help tech vendors reach buyers who are actively researching IT products/services.
We spoke with Brian Kelly, Corporate Controller, and Mike Reardon, Director of Revenue Operations, who, together with their team, led the project of selecting and implementing an automated Incentive Compensation Management solution for TechTarget and ditched using spreadsheets and manual processes.
What challenges were you facing on the compensation side?
Brian: We were experiencing rapid growth along with product line expansion. We were using Excel for sales compensation/administration, which was a very manual and labor-intensive process. That’s when we started exploring SPM solutions to scale and continue growing the business.
What challenges prevented you from continuing with your current solution at the time?
Brian: We were on Excel and our reps couldn't see their information in real-time - only at the pay cycles. They could see what their sales were, but they wouldn't know what their commissions really looked like. We wanted an incentive comp platform to help incent the team to sell more and help grow revenue. By putting in a software solution, it would take the manual labor away and provide a tool that the salespeople could use to not only understand their commissions better, but also to see how bringing in additional revenues helps increase their commissions.
Which Sales Performance Management solution providers did you consider?
Brian: We looked at Captivate IQ, SPIFF, Performio and Xactly. We narrowed our choices to two vendors – Xactly and Captivate IQ. And then after much evaluation, we decided to go with Xactly and Intangent as the implementation partner.
What was the biggest difference between Xactly/Intangent and the other solutions you considered?
Mike: When comparing Xactly to other solutions, we felt like it had a much cleaner user interface and our sales team would get more value based on the different tools that are available like forecasting, metrics, and dashboards. Xactly’s product also matched up much better with our operations and team size. It was a complete solution for us based on the rules, components, how plans are managed, etc. We also felt that Intangent did a good job with positioning and helping us understand the implementation process and what was involved. The Xactly/Intangent partnership was the right fit, so we jumped in with both feet.
Do you feel that Intangent equipped you with everything needed to make your selection?
Brian: Yes, a good amount of time was spent during the discovery phase to understand our plans and set up expectations going into this process. Intangent broke out the different steps and matrixes into a digestible format before going into the build, which was extremely useful. These processes helped us understand how Xactly was going to work and what we would get out of the build.
What criteria did you use to select us?
Mike: For us, it was a combination of two things. First, we liked what we saw in the software better. Second, it seemed like both Xactly and Intangent worked well together. The teams were well organized, clearly explained the step-by-step process and all the different phases we’d go through and, ultimately, we felt comfortable that we were in good hands.
Brian: The teams took the time to really understand our business, how our plans work, and the specific details needed to put together a SOW. They shared an appropriate process that we felt confident in and trusted would get us to our goals.
How would you rate our service solutions?
Brian: We are very happy with the Intangent team. Even when there was an issue, the team worked with us to address it. We also really started realizing some areas to improve on in our business process. The team had weekly check-ins with us and, when it came to the actual build, they really understood the nuances of our plans. The team didn’t steer us in any direction, instead they would listen to the issues and help resolve them without any shortcuts – they were a great partner. The team was also very proactive in communicating with us.
Are there any KPIs that you’re looking to measure once your project is fully rolled out?
Mike: Today, commissions take the entire month to run manually on Excel and we’re always running up against payroll deadlines. Now, we are looking to turn commissions around in a few days and dedicate more time as a review period.
We are also eyeing plan and quota changes closely. Those always take up someone’s entire time so another thing we're looking to track is how fast can we turn around comp plan changes.
Finally, we are looking at how we can leverage the functionality within Xactly for the sales team and improve their experience. We want them to have better alignment with the finance department by improving their viewability, using the ticketing system for any issues, and forecasting to see how their year looks.
Brian: Because we are going from a manual process to an automated one, it’s all about efficiency. By improving our commission and business processes, it brings up all possibilities to explore new ways to better the sales team experience.
Thinking about ditching Excel for a solution that works for you just like TechTarget did? Intangent can help you become more organized, gain time back and feel less stressed by having software automation work for you and your team. To learn more on how you can deliver positive results with ICM automation, schedule a meeting here.
TechTarget (Nasdaq: TTGT) is the global leader in purchase intent-driven marketing and sales services that deliver business impact for enterprise technology companies. By creating abundant, high-quality editorial content across more than 150 highly targeted technology-specific websites and 1,125 channels, TechTarget attracts and nurtures communities of technology buyers researching their companies’ information technology needs. By understanding these buyers’ content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase intent insights that fuel efficient and effective marketing and sales activities for clients around the world.