Siebel Users Can Now Be Xactly Motivated

In a move reflecting the acceleration of the market for sales incentive compensation management (ICM) software, and as part of the rash of product announcements coming out of Oracle OpenWorld, Xactly Corp. announced Monday its new Xactly Direct Connector for Oracle's Siebel CRM On Demand.

San Jose, Calif.-based Xactly promises the pairing can motivate salespeople -- and thereby increase a company's bottom line -- by enabling them to compute their future commissions. Xactly Incent handles the raw commission/bonus data while Siebel tackles the sales side by building forecasts and creating campaigns, among other tasks. The move integrates Xactly Incent with the CRM application, allowing users to sign onto only one system -- Siebel -- and to share data between the two systems, says Karen Steele, Xactly's vice president of marketing.

"We manage commissions and bonuses so we're the other end of people managing deals," Steele said. "But if you can tie the two so you can see incentives, that drives results."

While variable sales compensation plans can promote strategic sales behaviors, such plans work best when salespeople are also getting real-time visibility into how they're being paid. The new software integration allows Siebel users to call upon Xactly's incentive estimator feature to calculate potential sales commissions, bonuses, and payments, Steele says.

The salesperson's individualized compensation plan and incentive calculation rules are imported transparently into Siebel CRM On Demand, allowing the rep to run what-if scenarios against live Siebel CRM opportunities to maximize commissions and in accord with the strategic compensation plan.

"Say I'm an individual rep: I can run a 'what-if' in Siebel to see, 'If I close these five deals, what opportunities does that give me?' " Steele says. "I can see what my bonus would be if they land these particular five leads."

The integration aids not just individual salespeople, but the overall company, as well: A motivated sales force makes for greater sales. Managers can keep tabs on the sales force by drilling down within the integrated application to track how individuals are performing against a given plan, Steele says.

The integration of Xactly and Siebel -- and other similar pairings of CRM and ICM systems -- is a natural combination, Steele says, referring to the move as an example of the Web 2.0 trend known as a mash-up. This deal in particular allows Siebel customers to extend their CRM investments, says Mary Wardley, research vice president of CRM Applications at market analysis firm IDC.

In fact, the sales ICM market is quickly accelerating, as businesses come to realize the link that incentive compensation applications can create between back-office processes and customer-facing operations, adds Wardley, who co-authored an IDC report released earlier this month that characterized the ICM market as ripe for advancement. Increasingly complex compensation programs crying out for automation, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance pressures, and the advent of on-demand solutions that are affordable for a wide range of companies are all helping to drive market growth, she says.

"Sales incentive compensation management helps companies align selling strategies to corporate business objectives and has a measurable impact on execution," Wardley says. "With increased visibility, sales reps will see where to focus their energies based on potential commission payments while management will be better situated to align their sales efforts with corporate objectives."

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