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5 Compensation Software Essentials That Will Help You Build & Maintain a Winning Team

July 27, 2021
August 8, 2023

The rapid pace of the modern corporate world demands streamlined processes across every organizational function, including how teams plan, process, and pay out commissions.

Many companies are still relying on the old-fashioned spreadsheet method for their compensation plans, but this method is an inefficient means of accomplishing a task and can result in human errors. On the flip side, legacy solutions – once the only alternative to spreadsheets – required cash-strapped organizations to shell out resources on consultants to manage incredibly rigid and convoluted tools that lacked flexibility, customization, and internal ownership.

Luckily, there are now commission software solutions that automate even the most painful compensation-related tasks, help motivate reps with more transparency into payouts, and offer flexibility to uplevel the entire end-to-end ICM (Incentive Compensation Management) process.

A reliable solution will help future-proof your incentive compensation strategy while saving you time and money in the process. Beyond the automation of commissions calculations, you’ll want to evaluate the critical features and benefits — from inquiry management to robust reporting — that can turn your compensation strategy into a strategic lever for business growth and give your company an edge over the competition. Below, we highlight five modern ICM solution essentials that can revolutionize the way you manage compensation within your organization.

1. Get the Data You Need — When You Need it — with Native  Data Integrations

The number of sales solutions in a given tech stack can make it challenging to keep all of your data organized. Each separate tool generates, analyzes, or ingests data differently, so to run your end-to-end workflows most efficiently, those data sources should be seamlessly connected.

CaptivateIQ’s Data Connectors address this by letting you implement data integrations from multiple sources and sync everything under one umbrella. Integrations with disparate systems including Salesforce, HubSpot, Pipedrive, Netsuite, Workday, and QuickBooks can be easily and securely connected to our platform. For example, we know from first-hand experience that structural changes such as new or promoted reps often result in comp plan changes, so when you make an update in your Human Capital Management (HCM) software, you can automatically change employee assumptions in CaptivateIQ.

Integrating all of your data sources will save tons of time on the administrative side, and our Data Connectors ensure your commission data is always up-to-date and accurate. With better-quality data, your team can get peace of mind and spend more time on more important tasks.

2. Build, Deploy, and Manage Plans

Nothing motivates reps better than a well-designed, well-communicated, and well-executed compensation plan. The objective of any sales incentive program is to attract, retain, and motivate your team, and companies today have a unique opportunity to elevate commissions to become a strategic business lever that motivates the right behaviors to drive the best outcomes.

While your typical commission software lets you build out and deploy complete compensation plans, the real value comes from being able to evaluate sales comp plan performance against sales goals. Using our Data Connectors to power robust calculations, administrators can provide reps with visibility into their earnings in real-time. Payees see the programs in-depth and get necessary details about their goals so they can see where they are and, more importantly, where they need to be. We believe that reps will be more successful if they can accurately answer: Do I have enough pipeline to achieve quota?

With all of these plan designing tools at your fingertips, you can define commission plan agreements, payout dates, commission rates, employee hierarchies, quota tiers, and more. In short, you can customize a scalable compensation plan precisely the way you want. Adding AI — such as with our own CaptivateIQ Assist — to the mix takes this a step further, turning painstaking commissions tasks including plan adjustments, understanding complex calculations, and debugging formulas into simple conversations that Admins can start through easy-to-use chat functionality directly within the solution.

3. Readily Communicate With Payees and Stay on Target with Seamless Approval and Dispute Workflows Management

Having an open and collaborative platform to communicate with your team members about the state of their compensation is no longer a nice-to-have. Just like other aspects of a business, transparency will help commissionable employees feel more comfortable and secure in their standing and success, and signals to them that management is open to their ideas and input.

A lot of the leg-work tied to one's commission cycle often occurs after initial payouts are calculated, including:

  • Getting the necessary individuals to review payouts to ensure nothing is missing or off
  • Obtaining payee approval on their payouts within a given deadline
  • Resolving any inquiries and potential disputes along the way
  • Communicating internally amongst the commission team when totals are finalized and should no longer be changed
  • Ensuring all the steps above are documented for audit, compliance, and legal reasons to ensure you can successfully close a pay period and not look back

Managing all of the steps outlined above over email takes a tremendous amount of coordination and manual work, and can leave holes in one's process that can lead to frequent disputes after payouts have already been paid and inevitably distrust among your reps.

CaptivateIQ’s Approvals and Inquiries features help automate these often painful tasks. Admins are able to respond faster to the needs of their reps, making for a better work environment all around and avoiding hiccups that can end up causing employees to look elsewhere (our State of Sales Compensation Report found that 42% of reps would consider leaving a role because of a lack of visibility into how compensation is calculated, while 36% would leave because of inaccurate compensation).

On the payee side, reps will be able to find and sign agreements, track their progress via statements, and ask questions about payouts. As alluded to above, sales reps can get anxious and irritated if they notice that their payout seems off or has an issue. Our Inquiries feature allows your team to resolve disputes directly on our platform, drastically reducing time spent going back and forth on certain issues. The recipient of the inquiry (normally the manager) will be notified immediately, both in-app and via email. Plus, you can easily retrieve the thread should you need to review it in the future for auditing purposes.

AI can also be of assistance here — for example, with CaptivateIQ Assist, sales reps can get the personalized guidance they need to understand their commissions, derive insights, and take action, eliminating ambiguity and reducing inquiries. It also can help them understand the quantifiable difference between so-so attainment versus over-attainment, shining a light on what just one or two more deals closed could mean in terms of money in their pockets. 

Once any disputes or questions have been addressed, approvals should also be simple, automated, and uncomplicated for everyone. With CaptivateIQ, reps get notified to sign off on their payouts, and then the approval is automatically sent to subsequent reviewers, who can then review and approve each payout. Reviewers are automatically assigned the task and date to approve, and admins can use a filter to keep track of overdue payouts or open inquiries. In addition, admins can further simplify (and better scale!) approvals by setting up workflow templates that allow them to repeat the same process and avoid reinventing the wheel every time. No more confusion and guesswork — just easy and transparent approvals that make the whole team happy.

4. Make Better Decisions with Transparent, Accurate Reporting

An enormous amount of time, money, and effort goes into creating high-performing sales teams, and of course accurate reporting and data analysis play a big role in that, so you’ll want to invest in a solution that provides easy-to-understand reports for the whole team.

For example, CaptivateIQ’s makes it simple for admins to leverage data collected and processed to quickly summarize, model, and visualize information. The outcome? Payees and management alike can track performance and identify wins and areas for improvement.

Out-of-the-box reports and dashboards provide reps access to full breakdowns of their commissions so there’s no room for misunderstandings, while managers get a clearer, more comprehensive picture of which incentives are moving the needle and what might need to be reworked. Real-time leaderboards and attainment offer both reps and their managers a quick way to gauge performance against goals, and real-time, customizable statements provide context to help the team understand exactly how and why they're getting paid without taking time away from more important revenue-driving initiatives.

To help inform the caliber of decision-making that can turn your compensation strategy into a lever for business success, CaptivateIQ also offers advanced reporting and robust analysis to answer difficult questions. For instance, our out-of-the-box, real-time reports help you easily surface important metrics such as payouts and cost of commissions, while our robust, no-code calculation engine enables intensive financial modeling and robust insights.

5. Get Peace of Mind with Enterprise-ready Controls

Anyone who processes and tracks commissions knows how big of a deal it is to maintain paper trails, especially in the context of a dispute or audit. As such, it's important to keep track of specific actions performed by all users within the system — and CaptivateIQ automatically does just that. With just a few clicks, you can download and view detailed audit logs at any point, and allow the configuration of granular access controls to ensure only authorized individuals such as a Company Administrator, IT Admin, or Sales Representative can view and modify commission data.

Commission Administrators will also be able to track all user activity within CaptivateIQ. Our Jobs tab allows admins to view all jobs processed in the organization, the job status, and who processed it. Admins can even filter the jobs log with detailed parameters such as email address, start date, end date, and job type. With tracking activity available at your fingertips, you’ll always know what’s going on in your organization.

As an Enterprise ICM provider, we also know that commissions leverage highly-sensitive data. Our engineering and security teams ensure our product follows the highest security standards for processing and storing your important financial data and documents.

We recognize the continually evolving requirements our customers face with financial reporting, most notably the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act. While spreadsheets and manual processes are ill-equipped to keep pace with the growing requirements of SOX, CaptivateIQ’s ICM platform enables companies to establish appropriate internal controls and avoid potentially costly errors in commission reporting. Security, Auditability, and Data Integrity are pillars of our service design, and the CaptivateIQ ICM platform provides several key features and controls that assist customers in meeting SOX requirements.

The Best Software Solution for Everything Commissions

CaptivateIQ was designed for the modern workforce to solve modern problems. No longer do you have to worry about errors, bottlenecks, ambiguity, and wasted time with the compensation process.

CaptivateIQ automates manual processes, increases productivity and insights, and aligns your team to put trust and transparency back in commissions. Give sales reps the motivation and opportunity they need to succeed, as well as the ability to see how they are doing in real-time. With our functionality and benefits in place, you can count on a happier and more productive workforce, along with the analytics tools to help identify areas to improve. And to boot, you’ll get time back in your day so you can focus on more strategic activities that cut costs and drive revenue.

In short, CaptivateIQ empowers revenue teams to do their best work possible. Take our product tour to get a first-hand look at what CaptivateIQ can do for you.

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