Case Study

Chapter gets up and running in one month after a failed implementation with another vendor

Headquarters
New York, NY
Company
Medicare Advisor
Employees
10%
Improvement in advisor productivity
20x
Faster to process payroll
After an unsuccessful implementation with another commission software vendor, Chapter came to CaptivateIQ for an eleventh hour rescue-job: they needed to go live with a solution before their busiest season. Within a month, Chapter was up and running. 
Fast forward to today, they’re saving days every pay cycle on the commissions process, while boosting advisor productivity by 10% with real-time visibility. 

The Hero

Marcello Halitzer is the Head of Finance at Chapter, a technology-driven medicare advisor improving how seniors choose health care coverage. He oversees the breadth of the finance and accounting functions and spends much of his time focused on the FP&A activities for the business. Incentive design and strategy is just a small piece of the pie that Marcello is tasked with managing. 

I’m responsible for much of the financial operations that contribute to the success of the business. In our growing state, it’s critical our team stay close and focused on the specific items that have huge implications for the business. - Marcello Halitzer, Head of Finance

The Challenge: A comp structure overhaul that showed why spreadsheets couldn’t scale 

As Chapter was growing the team, there was a need to revamp their compensation structure. Marcello was personally tasked with rebuilding and designing an incentive compensation model that would better meet their business needs. Yet he quickly realized that managing the new plans would be unmanageable if they stayed in spreadsheets.

What I had built out ended up being more complex than expected. With this plus the difficulty of giving our advisors real-time access to their earnings, we realized pretty quickly that we would need a solution to better support our needs. - Marcello Halitzer, Head of Finance

After evaluating six different commission software vendors and seeing a proof of concept (POC), Marcello initially went with a CaptivateIQ competitor - a newer modern solution that offered the cheapest pricing and promised a quick implementation.

Failed Solution: A failed promise at the hands of a rigid, code-based solution

Marcello immediately began working with their chosen vendor’s implementation team to try to set their first plan up so they could run payroll. Yet, the challenges began to pile up almost immediately. 

Despite seeming easy in the POC, the integration process for their key tools took three months just to get stood up. This meant in the near term, Marcello was forced to do much of the data entry manually. “I was downloading and uploading files every month, and the calculations would still end up wrong,” said Marcello. This created a lot of downstream manual work and inaccuracies. 

The road to standing up the plans themselves was no easier. Because the platform couldn’t easily support his plans, Marcello had to work with their engineering team to build rules in their complex backend. Yet the backend was very developer and code-focused, making it nearly impossible for him to understand how the rules-based engine was working. He was forced to play an unproductive game of telephone with the engineering team - seeing consistently inaccurate payouts that he couldn’t troubleshoot himself due to the blackbox-nature of the solution. Consistently leaning on engineering resources became an expensive distraction for the project. 

During the demo, we got the impression building plans would be manageable. However, after interacting with the backend, despite there being good logic in place, it felt more built for an engineer that knows SQL than a finance person who knows excel. - Marcello Halitzer, Head of Finance

It wasn’t until after the integration had been set up that he ran into the biggest problem yet: an incident that led to errors in the payroll process. “It turns out, the integration had broken shortly after setup and gone unnoticed despite weekly calls with the implementation team,” said Marcello. A simple schema change created downstream issues across payroll. This resulted in both major administrative headaches, as well as frustration and loss of trust among the advisor team, further emphasizing the critical nature of commissions. 

This relationship continued on with a lot of reactive problem-solving that seemed to be compensating for a platform that was just overly rigid and reliant on custom development for any small changes.

After about five months of trying to make it work, we were quickly coming up on our busiest season of the year. Despite massive effort from the team, the platform and our use case just weren’t really a match, so we had to call it quits. - Marcello Halitzer, Head of Finance

The Solution: A strategic implementation in a familiar environment

After the failures of the prior solution, Marcello was desperate to find something that worked and quickly. With the busy-season for their business less than a couple months away, it was critical to find a solution that worked for their use case and could get them stood up quickly. After reaching out to CaptivateIQ, this challenge was met with open arms, and the proof was in the pudding. 

From the first call, I knew I was in good hands with CaptivateIQ. They set clear expectations, knew who to involve when, and were just well organized, structured and thoughtful. - Marcello Halitzer, Head of Finance

CaptivateIQ’s solution consultants (whose domain expertise is in commissions) were able to work hand-in-hand with Marcello to implement the new compensation structure. Because CaptivateIQ is logic-based, Marcello had full visibility into how the data was flowing and could validate the logic along the way. This was a big value-add compared to the previous rules-based solution, since it was nearly impossible to troubleshoot without an understanding of the coded backend. 

The Chapter team was able to go live with the first plan in a single week — a huge feat considering they weren’t able to go fully live with their plans in the previous five-month implementation with their prior vendor. Tackling the entire compensation structure was a fast-follow, and the Chapter advisor team had access to their payouts data in less than a month after implementation began!

A platform built for people who know commissions, not code

Despite Marcello’s original perception that the original solution would be easier to use, he quickly realized CaptivateIQ was built for users like himself. 

With CaptivateIQ, Marcello didn’t have to choose - he was able to leverage the familiar spreadsheet-like interface along with the processing power and scalability of a cloud database. This interface plus excellent training materials significantly reduced the learning curve for Marcello and made it easy for a finance or operations person like himself to audit calculations and make changes without relying on services. This ability to own the tool allowed Marcello to keep up with the pace of business, unlike the previous solution where he was reliant on a game of telephone with coders who didn’t necessarily understand commission logic.

For finance and revops folks, the CaptivateIQ spreadsheet-like interface and formulas experience relies on a much more familiar skill set than a blackbox coded solution. This inevitably lowers our TCO, because I can manage changes myself, instead of relying on engineers. - Marcello Halitzer, Head of Finance

The Results: Significant time-savings, increased performance, and improved focus across the business

With CaptivateIQ, Marcello and team have significantly cut down on their payroll process: 

  • The entire monthly payroll processing time (with disputes, approvals, and more) is now down from
    • 4 weeks to 1 week
  • The monthly payroll processing time specifically for commissions is down from
    • 10+ hours to 30 minutes
With CaptivateIQ, I no longer dread the payroll process. The process is much smoother and quicker, and our advisors now trust they’ll be paid on-time and accurately. - Marcello Halitzer, Head of Finance

Getting that time back leads to new efficiencies across the finance and revenue operations teams that help the business be more productive. 

CaptivateIQ also helps Chapter boost advisor motivation and performance towards the goals the business has set out to achieve:

  • Chapter’s Advisor team now has visibility into the reward of upleveling to the senior plan, leading to a much higher adoption rate
  • Chapter’s Advisor team is also more productive than ever, with a better understanding of what they could earn each period
    • Advisor productivity up 10%+
We are really starting to see the business impact of CaptivateIQ through our advisor team. Now that they understand the risk/reward balance in their plans, the plans are much more effective in incentivizing productivity, since they have access to data they did not have before. - Marcello Halitzer, Head of Finance

All of these gains across the business are in service of one thing… Helping everyone focus back on what matters most:

  • Marcello & the finance team can focus on large scale accounting & FP&A activities that impact the trajectory of the business
  • Advisors can now trust in their commissions and focus fully on selling to their highest potential
The combination of a strategic and consultative implementation team, and an intuitive spreadsheet-like platform makes CaptivateIQ the only choice for scaling businesses looking to own their compensation structure and support growing complexity in their business. The ROI is obvious between the time-savings, accuracy, and performance boosting across the org. - Marcello Halitzer, Head of Finance

About CaptivateIQ

CaptivateIQ, the agile commission solution, enables companies to consistently align revenue teams with evolving business goals. Combining flexibility with ease of use, CaptivateIQ offers companies the ability to build any commission plan, save time in payout processing, and motivate sales reps through real-time visibility.