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All in on CX: Why Mark Kemp Joined CaptivateIQ as the VP of Customer Experience

September 29, 2022

Mark Kemp is a sales performance management (SPM), incentive compensation management (ICM), and customer experience (CX) expert with two decades of experience in the industry.

He’s also the new VP of CX at CaptivateIQ.

Mark is all about capturing the voice of the (CaptivateIQ) customer. His career has seen him in roles that managed technical and solutions sales, Go-to-Market (GTM) strategy, and revenue growth for organizations such as Varicent, SAP, and CallidusCloud.

Suffice it to say Mark comes to CaptivateIQ with incredible experience and knowledge in the space.

As Mark says, the team will need to “reframe incentive compensation strategy as a digital transformation challenge and help customers overcome it.” 

Fortunately, this is something Mark has spent his entire career doing, and it’s “absolutely necessary to usher in the future of incentive compensation planning and execution.”

Mark believes in the need for an agile compensation management solution to overcome these challenges.

Why is sales performance management so important?

Mark has always found the sales performance management space to be “very fascinating … how it has matured from its early beginnings (focused on calculating and paying sales incentives) to becoming a strategic tool for driving change across the go-to-market function of an organization.”

Every company treats it differently, and it’s ever-changing and evolving. For example, Mark is intrigued by how incentive compensation management strategy, design, and operations often sits between finance, sales, and human resources functions — and this organizational alignment can impact how companies perceive sales incentives.

“It’s both a back-office and a front-office problem,” says Mark.

Finance teams want to ensure that the calculations are correct, processes are automated and robust approval workflows. Sales teams want to use incentives as a carrot to drive and incentivize certain behaviors and HR act as the honest broker to ensure pay equity within the total compensation strategy. 

But that’s easier said than done.

Why is sales performance management so difficult?

Simply put, it’s a complex data problem to solve.

Sales compensation management changes often, and the metrics — the KPIs — can be complicated.

Get it “right,” and it can have a massively positive impact on the business. 

Get it “wrong,” and you either have unhappy or happy sales reps (but you are bleeding money, often unnecessarily).

But Mark loves that “sales comp is never boring. There’s really never a dull moment, constantly offering various ways (changes) to keep it interesting.” 

Everyone has a different way of executing, with mixed success. However, those who get it “right” more than “wrong” often have a clear line of sight into their pay as well as potential future earnings. “This visibility,” says Mark, “can be a huge motivator.”

92% of sales reps and managers believe that having visibility and comprehensibility into compensation processes is essential to staying focused on the job.

Source: CaptivateIQ’s State of Sales Compensation 2022 Report

But sales performance management is also a challenging technical problem. This is true, says Mark, because there are always various forms of disruption: Mergers and acquisitions, recessions, and even once-in-a-century global pandemics. 

In addition, vendors come and go, and (obviously) there has been a significant shift to the cloud. Remember the days of quarter-long (or year-long) onsite implementations? Mark does. And he doesn’t miss them at all!

“The pace of change in sales performance management continues to grow,” shares Mark. “There’s always been a reason to evolve, and I don't see this slowing down anytime soon.”

What does CX leadership mean, and why is it so essential?

Customers are critical to any organization

Full stop.

And leadership in CX is more important now than ever. Retaining customers is essential as we shift to the cloud and subscription-based models.

“CX is more about getting customers for life versus just getting them on-boarded and logging into your platform,” says Mark. 

Pre-cloud, the support function was more traditional — reactive, often fixing a problem. With cloud native applications, there are fewer issues with the core product. In addition, small bugs can now be fixed in short order and pushed out to the entire customer base in seconds.

Today’s CX role is more about implementing and managing the product. How do I help customers leverage the more advanced features? How do I make the platform stickier?

It's all about the data and using it to drive business (think AI). CX teams are now more proactive (getting in front of customers) vs. reactive (I’ll solve your problem).

Another challenge? There are more vendors, and the switching costs are relatively low. Your customers can move from one tool to another with relative ease and with limited disruption of the day-to-day. 

Stay relevant. Stay useful. Be helpful.

What are the characteristics or attributes of an excellent CX team? 

As our Director of Customer Success, Clint Kelson, said in this article:

“We’ve built out an approach that allows for customers to have one-on-one interactions with a member from our customer success team while also utilizing automation to streamline repeatable tasks, follow-ups, and important milestones in the customer journey.”

Along with automating repeatable tasks, Mark firmly believes that to be successful in today’s world of CX, managers must have talent, skills, AND experience. But those are just table stakes.

The best of the best teams must also possess the following three:

  1. Strong communication
  2. Growth mindset
  3. Proactive approach

Customer Experience is a “people business,” as Mark says. As long as table stakes and the above three are covered, Mark looks for a balance between experienced and early-stage career people who are enthusiastic. He is interested in those who can carry on a productive conversation and identify customer needs and problems. 

Finally, Mark places a high value on having a team with a broad range of personalities and diverse backgrounds. International experience is the icing on the cake.

So why the move to CaptivateIQ?

Why CaptivateIQ? Why now?

Mark is all in on helping lead CaptivateIQ through its next phase of growth: ensuring our customers unlock the power of incentives. 

“CaptivateIQ's flexible, easy-to-use and intuitive platform is the best positioned to achieve this mission and delight all stakeholders while doing it,” Mark says.

He is excited by our growth potential, something he sees in the CaptivateIQ team.

Mark also loves how we are shipping releases all the time — constantly innovating and pushing live to our customers.

“This pace of change is really exciting. The level of care and attention we put in to ensure the customer experience is next level. There are so many resources available to make this happen.”

What’s next for the Customer Experience team at CaptivateIQ?

Mark shared a few answers to “what’s next.” 

  1. Continuing to advance CaptivateIQ's goal of helping enterprises deploy, scale, and adapt sales commission programs to change
  2. Working overtime to capture the voice of the CaptivateIQ customer
  3. Continue building and scaling into top-tier enterprise

Mark sees CaptivateIQ as becoming the de facto standard in commissions.

He is building a CX unit that will establish repeatable processes, shrink implementation time, reduce time to value, tailor support for individual customer needs, and increase customer self-sufficiency.

All of this with “white glove treatment. We want our customers to have the best possible experience — always.”

Mark is ready to take on this challenge, especially as the importance of CX is at an all-time high during the current economic downturn. It’s more challenging to acquire new customers, so “preserving existing customers has to be a higher priority.”

The goal for all organizations: provide a world class experience from onboarding through the customer journey leading to positive outcomes for both CaptivateIQ and the customer.

We could not be more thrilled to have Mark Kemp as the VP of Customer Experience — the one to help lead us to the next level, the agile commission solution. 

For those of you who feel excited about being part of this journey — we are hiring!

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