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The crux of a selling process is your salesforce. And what keeps their spirits high is a well -structured, automated, and transparent commission program.
Deciding to switch from a manually operated to a fully-automated commission management system comes after much thought and an exhaustive buy-in from the leadership team. Kudos to you for taking the first step in making the sales process efficient and delivering a superior experience for your sales team. 

68% of sales professionals missed their targets in July 2022, and nearly half of the respondents adjusted their revenue targets for the year - Pavilion

In a market flooded with sales process betterment software, identifying the right commission management platform and taking home the ideal one could be overwhelming. Here's the ultimate checklist for choosing the right sales commission management software.

How to choose the right sales commission management software

1. Seamless data integration and mapping flexibility 

Commission platforms that effortlessly sync with any data source and in-house system make it easier for sales managers to design programs quickly and help finance and Revops leaders get a consolidated view of cash flow from sales programs. Commission programs involve multiple tiers and uncountable KPIs for different groups and involve massive data to be synced and monitored. Choosing a commission platform that can handle large data transactions via integrations and has custom data mapping flexibility is essential. 

Essential Capabilities 

  1. One-click Integration 
  2. Ability to transact millions of data
  3. Real-time data upload & sync
  4. Built-in data connectors, and APIs 
  5. Custom integration
  • CRM Integrations

Nothing can be stronger than the synergy between CRM tools and sales commission platforms. With a CRM integration feature, you can quickly sync your sales and pipeline data and give your team one platform to track all sales and commission-related KPIs. This makes the overall sales process efficient by reducing data upload time, giving you real-time visibility into metrics, and calculating commissions in real-time. Moreover, it's a bonus if your commission platform enables one-click integration with popular CRMs, as this further reduces the overall turnaround time. Popular integrations:  HubSpot, Salesforce, Freshsales, Leadsquared, Pipedrive, Zoho CRM

  • Communication tools integrations

Integrating with communication tools helps you connect with your workforce on the apps they most frequently use. Likewise, when you sync your commission programs with communication tools, you ensure your teams receive regular updates of programs and timely nudges so they can act immediately and be better informed. Popular integrations: MS teams, Slack, WhatsApp, G Chat

  • Accounting tools integrations

Integrating with accounting platforms gives your Finance, RevOps, and Operations teams a single view of revenue and cash flows. It helps finance leaders verify if quotas and credits align with company goals, and helps RevOps teams forecast revenue trends from commission plans. Additionally, the teams can upload commission data to their systems and process payouts as part of employees’ salaries. Popular integrations:  Zoho Books, Quickbooks, Workday

2. Effortless commission design and management

The right platform allows sales and commission managers to design plans effortlessly with minimal vendor assistance. Working on a platform that automates everything from design to calculation, approval, and reporting helps sales teams focus on the things that matter - targets and revenue. It reduces the workload for sales/commission managers, empowers participants of  a commission program to do more, and gives other stakeholders complete visibility into sales operations. Moreover, a platform supporting a global commission program is essential for companies with geographically distributed sales teams. One size only fits some, and running a unified program for units across geographies will do more harm than good.

Essential Capabilities 

  1. No-code platform 
  2. Multi-regional deployment 
  3. Multi-tier plan activation
  4. Quota setting & scheduling 
  5. Commission templates 
  6. Ability to set up variables library
  7. Multi-level approval workflows 
  8. Custom workflows 
  9. Mobile app 
  10. Multiple plans activation

3. Provisions to engage global sales teams

As your company grows, you may have sales teams in different geographies. As staying motivated is crucial for sales members, managers must ensure their teams are equipped with the right tech stack. Choose a platform that has features to support sales teams in different countries. 

Essential Capabilities 

  1. Currency options 
  2. Reward customization 
  3. Country & phone extension codes 

4. Branding and customization

Deploying new software follows extensive training for users to increase adoption. Options to customize the sales commission management platform from the login screen to elements inside the dashboard as per the organization’s branding helps users relate and engage with the platform better and faster. This step will help commission programs feel more in-house.

Essential Capabilities 

  1. URL Customization 
  2. Customization of the login page, background images, company logo, and dashboard elements 
  3. Setting themes and color schema as per the company’s brand guidelines 

5. Automated commission calculation

Calculating incentives in spreadsheets comes at a cost - calculation errors and time inefficiencies. The process is time-consuming for sales/commission managers, and for sales representatives, it may breed frustration due to miscalculations and delayed payouts. It is critical for any commission management tool to have automation capabilities, primarily for commission calculation. Moreover, if data sync and commission calculation happen in real-time, it helps the teams arrive at accurate compensation and disburse payout on time.

Essential Capabilities 

  1. Automated workflows 
  2. Built-in validator for error checks
  3. Splits & exceptions management 
  4. Options for roll-up calculation 
  5. Build calculation logic 
  6. Accurate & real-time earnings 
  7. Real-time commission calculation 
  8. Breakdown of metrics & rewards

6. Accurate reporting & analytics

To quickly share the performance of commission programs with leadership teams, help finance and RevOps teams get accurate commission and cash flow details, help sales managers forecast sales and optimize targets, and give representatives complete transparency into their performance, an insightful reporting and analytics capability is vital. Ensure your commission management tool has robust reporting capabilities backed by predictive analytics. 

Essential Capabilities 

  1. Configurable performance widget 
  2. Timely performance tips 
  3. Audit logs 
  4. Real-time performance reports 
  5. Intelligent insights for plan optimization
  6. Reports customization

7. Sales gamification and engagement

A mundane sales process is sure to demotivate your sales teams. One surefire way to increase sales performance and provide a regular dose of motivation is by including gamification elements in commission programs. 72% of employees claim gamification inspires them to work harder (Source). Ensure your commission platform has features to make the selling process fun and keep sales representatives focused on revenue targets.

Essential Capabilities 

  1. Game template options
  2. Badges for milestone wins
  3. Activity-based point system
  4. Communication options
  5. Dynamic leaderboard & scoring 
  6. Activity feeds for collaboration
  7. User groups 
  8. Document repository

8. Sales communication

A good sales commission plan will have a solid communication strategy. While sales teams are required to hit sales targets, enabling them with timely updates about commission programs is the responsibility of commission managers. If your commission platform comes with the capabilities to send nudges and notifications to sales teams about critical sales updates at the right time, then validate your buying decision without any doubts.

Essential Capabilities 

  1. Mobile app push notifications
  2. Time & action based nudges
  3. Reminder nudges
  4. Customizable nudges

9. Security and compliance

Adherence to compliance and regulatory standards is a critical aspect of the commission process as it involves employee and customer data; failure to adhere to guidelines might lead to lawsuits against the organization. Instill confidence in your IT and security teams by choosing a commission management platform that lets you stay compliant with
 region-specific and industry-specific security requirements and has detailed audit logs. 

Essential Capabilities 

  1. GDPR Compliance
  2. App & Infrastructure VAPT
  3. CCPA and LGPD Compliant
  4. AICPA SOC 2 Type 2 Compliant
  5. ISO 27001:2013 Certified 
  6. HIPAA Compliant
  7. ASC 606 8
  8. Annual Source Code Review

10. Support & account management

Part of purchasing software is understanding the support and maintenance aspects of it. A commission platform that comes at a better price, has minimal downtime, and low maintenance cost guarantees a lower Total Cost of Ownership for businesses.

Essential Capabilities 

  1. Faster implementation
  2. Defining user access rights
  3. Usage collaterals
  4. Onboarding assistance 
  5. 360-degree support
  6. Dedicated account manager

11. Rewards and payout management

Sales team works hard to drive revenue for the business. To retain stellar performers and build a winning sales culture, it's essential to make them feel appreciated with the right rewards and on-time commission payouts. Choose a software that automates commission payouts, and offers reward redemption options. This way you can customize rewards for each sales member and delight them.

Essential Capabilities 

  1. Marketplace integration
  2. Payout overrides
  3. Logs of earned & redeemed values
  4. Custom catalog configuration 
  5. Reward catalog
  6. Integration with payroll tools

More checks before you validate your purchase

Now that you have seen the must-have capabilities of a commission management platform, let’s also understand the different cases a commission platform should support its leaders and teams.

  • The persona check: A well-equipped commission tool will have the capabilities to make life easier and add value to all stakeholders involved in a commission program. It should free up time for sales and commission managers, motivate sales reps to do more, help the finance team validate cash flows, and Revops teams to increase sales process efficiency.
  • The industry check: An insurance company might want to run a commission program to increase policy sales, and they might have uncountable KPIs to track. In contrast, an IT/ Saas company may wish to accelerate the pipeline in different regions and run customized plans per region. Choose a commission platform that can activate commission/incentive plans and SPIFF programs based on industry objectives and follows security guidelines as per industry standards.
  • The team-type check: Sales are no more restricted in-house. Organizations deploy different sales channels to increase revenue and contribute to organizational growth. There are sales teams on and off-payroll, gig workers, channel partners, field sales agents, and more. Each practices a specific sales behavior and has different motivation levels, interests, and preferences. Pick a platform that covers the needs of stakeholders across all sales channels and helps them focus on generating revenue.

Top 5  Sales commission management software

1. Compass

Xoxoday Compass is an incentives and commissions management platform for businesses to drive more revenue and transform their largest sales expense into a business growth driver. We help Sales and Revenue Operations teams design, plan, automate, and streamline complex incentive and commission structures.  With game-like elements, rewards, recognition, communication and analytics capabilities, Compass enables you to engage and turbocharge your revenue-driving teams. The result - increased sales productivity, accelerated sales performance, reduction in incentive processing time, savings on incentive budgets, and more.

2. QuotaPath

QuotaPath is a tool that helps manage your sales team by tracking their performance and setting goals. It centralizes your sales data for easy monitoring and decision-making. QuotaPath integrates well with Salesforce and other tools like Hubspot and Close, helping you keep track of goals and forecasts.

While the tool can be a bit tricky for newcomers, most issues, especially with sales tracking and forecasting, are quickly resolved by their support team.

3. Xactly Incent

Xactly Incent is a software that simplifies managing and tracking sales commissions and compensation. It provides a centralized view for overseeing sales rewards and performance.

The software automates commission calculations, replacing manual efforts, and ensures fast and accurate payments. It also lowers costs related to managing compensation, tracks all transactions, and offers real-time insights across the company. Integration with Xactly Insights allows for up-to-date information on sales incentives.

4. CaptivateIQ 

CaptivateIQ is a straightforward sales compensation software that lets you set up various pay levels for salespeople based on their performance. You can easily create commission structures or bonuses linked to sales volumes using an Excel-like interface, making it intuitive for users. The software offers real-time insights into earnings, goals, and progress, and integrates well with platforms like Salesforce and HubSpot.

However, it can be slow to load due to the complex calculations it performs, some processes remain manual, and it lacks integration with Google Drive. To try it out, you need to schedule a demo with their team.

5. Performio

Performio is a commission tracking software that lets users customize their sales compensation plans and forecasts future earnings from commissions. It keeps detailed records of all commission payments and offers tools for setting and tracking sales goals, along with 24-hour chat support.

However, setting up Performio can be time-consuming, and it has limited options for integration with other systems. If you need a simpler setup, Pipedrive might be a good alternative, while QCommission or Blitz are better for those requiring extensive third-party integrations.

1. Case Study: LevelApp's transformation in sales commission management with Compass

LevelApp, an Ed-tech company, was experiencing difficulties in managing their sales commissions, which was affecting team morale and overall productivity. The existing manual processes were cumbersome, resulting in delayed payouts and inaccurate commission calculations. The need for a robust, automated solution was clear, and Compass was chosen to revamp their sales commission structure.

Challenges

LevelApp faced several significant challenges:

  • Complex Commission Structures: With numerous commission plans targeting different KPIs each month, the sales team struggled to understand and adapt to the constantly changing targets, leading to confusion and decreased motivation.
  • Declining Sales Performance: The complexity and lack of clarity in commission plans demotivated the sales team, resulting in a noticeable drop in their sales effectiveness and overall performance.
  • Absence of a Unified Management Platform: Managers lacked a centralized platform to manage and track the performance of various commission plans, making it difficult to have a comprehensive view and control over these programs.
  • Need for Gamification: To revive engagement and boost morale, there was a critical need for integrating gamification elements into the commission system to encourage competitiveness and improve sales team productivity.

Solutions 

Compass provided an integrated solution to address LevelApp’s challenges:

  • Streamlined Commission Management: Compass enabled the creation and management of multi-tiered commission plans on a single platform, simplifying the process and allowing for monthly updates with unique objectives and KPIs.
  • Enhanced Sales Gamification:Compass supported the distribution of uniquely named badges and points for achieving specific milestones, making the sales process more engaging and motivating for the team members.

Results

The implementation of Compass resulted in impressive outcomes for LevelApp:

  • 94% Platform Adoption Rate: The intuitive interface of Compass led to high adoption among the sales team.
  • Distribution of 55K Points Per Month: Reflecting active engagement and robust system utilization.
  • 12% Increase in Payouts: Due to more accurate tracking and calculations.

2. Case Study: commission calculation in salesforce

The client is a prominent Insurance Company in the USA, offering a variety of insurance plans across multiple branches nationwide. They required an automated solution to eliminate the burdensome manual calculation of commissions, which are determined by management-set targets varying by employee experience.

Challenges

The client faced significant challenges in managing and calculating commissions accurately due to their extensive sales team and complex commission structures. The primary issues included:

  • Manual Processes: The client's commission calculation processes were primarily manual, involving cumbersome spreadsheets and substantial administrative effort.
  • Error-prone Calculations: Due to the manual entry, the commission calculations were prone to errors, leading to frequent disputes and dissatisfaction among the sales team.
  • Inefficiency and Delays: The manual methods caused delays in payments, affecting the motivation and performance of the sales team.

Solution

To address these challenges, a Salesforce-based solution, "Easy Incentivizer," was implemented. This solution automated the entire commission process by:

  • Automating Calculations: Integrating with Salesforce, the solution automated the calculation of commissions based on the sales data directly from Salesforce CRM.
  • Customization Capabilities: The solution was tailored to handle various commission structures and rules specific to the client’s requirements.
  • Real-time Reporting: It provided real-time reporting capabilities that allowed sales representatives and managers to view commission calculations instantly.
  • Error Reduction: Automation significantly reduced the chances of errors in commission calculations.

Results

  • The time required to calculate and distribute commissions was reduced by 81%, significantly boosting the operational efficiency of the sales department.
  • Manual workload was reduced by 95%, significantly lowering the administrative burden.
  • The efficiency of the commission process improved, with quicker turnaround times for calculation and disbursement.

3.Case Study: Modernization of sales commission management system

A North American staffing and recruitment firm faced significant challenges with its outdated sales commission management system. The system was manual, error-prone, and inefficient, leading to delayed commission payouts and dissatisfaction among the sales staff.

Challenges

  • Inefficient Manual Processes: The firm's existing system required manual data entry, which was time-consuming and led to frequent errors.
  • Lack of Automation: The system lacked automated workflows, making the process cumbersome and slow.
  • Inaccuracy in Computation: Errors in commission calculations often resulted in disputes and required rework, further delaying the process.

Solution

The firm partnered with a technology solutions provider to modernize its sales commission management system. The solution involved:

  • Automating Workflows: Implementing automated workflows to reduce manual data entry and processing time.
  • Integrating Advanced Software: Utilizing advanced commission management software capable of handling complex commission structures and large volumes of data.
  • Enhancing Transparency: Providing a user-friendly dashboard for sales representatives to track their sales and commissions in real-time.

Results

  • The automation of commission calculations reduced the processing time by 75%.
  • The accuracy of commission calculations improved significantly, with a 90% reduction in discrepancies and related disputes.
  • Depending on their job role, users can check their commission details anytime they want, using a mobile app.

Conclusion

Choosing the right sales commission management software is key to improving your sales and reaching your business goals. The best software should easily work with your current systems and let you set up and manage commissions without much hassle. It should also support your global sales teams by offering tools for collaboration and tracking performance everywhere.

Important features include the ability to customize the software to fit your brand, automatic calculation of commissions to avoid mistakes, and detailed reports to help you understand how well your sales strategies are working. Adding fun elements like sales games can keep your team motivated, and communication tools help everyone stay on the same page.Additionally, the software should be secure and comply with laws to protect your data, and it should come with good support and account management to resolve any issues quickly. Efficient handling of rewards and payouts will motivate your team and ensure that their pay matches their performance.

By focusing on these features, you can choose software that fits your needs now and can grow with your business, helping you stay competitive.

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