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Named a Strong Performer in “The Forrester Wave™: Sales Performance Management Platforms, Q1 2023”

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5 Reasons to Choose Software Over Spreadsheets for Compensation Management

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Big Insights Rather than Big Data

Spreadsheets are powerful tools that are capable of building complex economic models, to running scenario analyses. So, it’s easy for teams to assume that with the right keyboard shortcuts and pivot tables, they can analyze and dissect data sufficiently with Excel.

However, we live in a world where the amount of data, and the desire to process increasing amounts of data, only increases each second. In a report for Seagate, IDC forecasts the global datasphere will reach 175 zettabytes by 2025. To put that into perspective, one zettabyte is approximately a trillion gigabytes. If you had an iPhone 12 Pro with maximum storage (512GB), you would need one billion, nine hundred fifty-three million, one hundred twenty-five thousand iPhone 12 Pros to store one zettabyte worth of data. Now multiply that by 175.

So what?

With the explosion of data, it becomes increasingly important to use tools that can analyze that data and provide insight. Data on its own cannot help your business. It is the insight derived from data that can help propel your business forward.

Back in the day, our founders were tasked with calculating commissions for large sales teams in Excel. Despite considering themselves Excel wizards, they found themselves staying up until 2 a.m. cleaning up data, creating customized reports for sales reps, and triple checking to make sure no errors were to be found. 

By the time commissions calculations were completed, it was time to move onto actually running the business. This left no room for thoughtfully analyzing the data that had just been pulled together or making improvements to “business-as-usual” regarding commissions compensation structure.

Why Upgrade?

With today’s technology, businesses are no longer confined to solely using Excel to calculate or analyze the impact of their commissions compensation plans. To do so would be akin to relying solely on a broom and dustpan to clean your floors when Dyson has just come out with its latest vacuum cleaner. (Why.)

Here are the top 5 reasons that our customers upgrade to CaptivateIQ from Excel.

1) More time to focus on your mission

Whether that’s providing better software for teachers in the classroom or allowing financial firms to ensure data security for their clients, our customers are all trying to make a positive impact in this world. And time spent on administrative tasks that detract from that mission can be extremely frustrating.

The most gratifying feedback that we receive from our customers is that thanks to the time saved with our commissions calculation software, their teams are able to dedicate more time to the actual mission of their business.

When you work with CaptivateIQ, you get a tool and a team that really cares about what your business is trying to achieve.

Giovanni Torres, Revenue Operations Manager at Udemy.

2) Increased trust and transparency

With Excel, finance teams sometimes send sales reps a final number that is barely broken down and it’s unclear why their earnings number is what it is. Alternatively, we also have customers who, in the name of transparency, would send out giant Excel files to allow sales reps to try to decipher how their final pay was determined. (Good luck going through columns A through CZ!) 

With CaptivateIQ, our customers are able to provide transparent, easy to understand rep dashboards and pay statements so teams know what they’re getting paid, why they’re getting paid that amount and when they’re getting paid. This allows your reps to focus on closing more deals instead of tracking their commissions.

“It definitely creates a sense of trust. Before I implemented this, reps complained they didn’t know how they were getting paid and some people didn’t even know what their compensation structure was!” 

Bo Du, Senior Sales Operations Manager at Dedrone

3) Avoid human error

All it takes is one error for a sales team to lose faith in the system. Errors can be benign -- your finance team miscalculates someone’s commission, the salesperson alerts the finance team, and the finance team quickly rectifies the situation. However, errors can also be devastating. Perhaps the most famous example of this is when JP Morgan lost $6 billion due to a copy/paste spreadsheet error!

The impact of making overpayments as a result of human error is quite obvious. However, making underpayments can actually be worse than making overpayments to your sales team. When an entire team is impacted by a single error, you expose yourself to a class action lawsuit. In 2017, the sales team at Oracle filed a $150 million class-action lawsuit against the company for underpaid commissions. In 2019, IBM also lost a class action lawsuit against its sales employees for denying commissions.

With CaptivateIQ, you can automatically sync your commission data to power fast, reliable calculations every time.

We actually re-ran our data on CaptivateIQ for Q1 after we implemented the solution to see if we had made any errors, and we were able to correct previous erroneous payments. We found that some sales reps had been mistakenly underpaid.

Bo Du, Senior Sales Operations Manager at Dedrone

4) Design a plan that makes sense for your business

Compensation planning is a fluid process that needs to adapt as the business evolves. It also needs to be adaptable. Around 90% of salespeople have quotas, and those quotas are typically tied to a forecast. Consider the number of companies whose 2020 forecasts went out the window due to the pandemic. Companies who were able to quickly generate new forecasts and model the impact of re-designed commissions plans were likely able to retain their sales reps vs. those who did not have the tools or agility to pivot.

Too often, companies throw up their hands and decide to use the simplest commissions structure because they can’t adapt to changes and they don’t want to spend additional time on commissions calculations. You should have the freedom and flexibility to create the commissions structure that will help your company grow.

We were using Xactly, which would calculate the monthly commissions perfectly fine. However, in reality, I was doing most of the work in Excel because our payouts structure is a bit complicated. We needed a robust solution that could track our deals and related commissions over time and the interface of Xactly was not set up for that. 

Brian Degrassi, Sales Finance and FP&A Manager at Tipalti

5) Incredible cost-benefit

At first glance, it may seem like running commissions calculations in Excel is cheaper. However, when you factor in the days it’s costing your company to run commissions each pay cycle, that’s a lot of work that could be automated. 

Let’s say you have 2 people from your finance team and a revenue operations manager that works on commissions calculations each month. It takes them a full week each month to aggregate data, check the numbers, and generate individual reports for sales reps. It’s reasonable to assume that the sheer salary cost of this time is about $15k per month. Additionally, for that week, they are unable to focus on other priorities, which may cost the company an additional $5k in lost opportunities or delayed outputs. 

Each company is different, so it is worthwhile conducting a cost-benefit analysis on the real rather than perceived cost of running your commissions process in Excel.

CaptivateIQ has been life-changing. It has saved me a week of time every month, cleaned up my data and been a huge win across the board. If you’re still using Excel, like I was, stop now. Fight for CaptivateIQ, fight for the budget, because the benefit for your company is huge.

Sarah Drugan, Sales Operations Manager at Yello

There’s a reason we’re #1.

Like our customers, we are passionate about making a positive impact in the world. This is why we are obsessed with providing an amazing experience that includes award-winning customer support and UX. See our ratings on G2 and Capterra. Check out our fans We are lucky to call so many amazing companies our fans. Read more about our customers here.

Make commissions 10x better with CaptivateIQ

Talk to our in-house experts to learn how you can make commissions a strategic growth driver.

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