Motorola improves compensation accuracy

Person using Motorola phone

If there's one thing that sales executives around the world are agreed on, it's on the importance of pay and commission. It's not always the easiest of processes to deal with - especially when there's an international sales force with a multitude of currencies. Motorola Solutions turned to the cloud in an attempt to simplify the process of dealing with a complex web of financial recompense.

As with many companies, the move to cloud arose after a company reorganisation. January 2011, Motorola Solutions spun-off the consumer focused side of its business to form Motorola Mobility enabling Motorola Solutions to focus on its core business as a provider of mission-and business-critical communication products and services. The company is one of the world’s leading suppliers of rugged devices that deliver real-time information to both public safety operators (police, fire and ambulance) and businesses in markets as diverse as retail, shipping and hospitality. And it sells into more than 100 countries, employing 1700 sales personnel.


It is this spread that provides Motorola Solutions with a major challenge.Lisa Bentley-Smith, sales incentive manager for EMEA, manages the compensation for 400 sales reps in what is an extremely diverse and complex region, having to deal with different currencies, languages, cultures and local laws.

When Bentley-Smith joined the sales management team in 2011, compensation was entirely manual and spreadsheet based. Not only was the process time-consuming for the admin staff, which had to deal with multiple data sources and a large number of queries, but also it was also frustrating for the sales team. With limited visibility over how they were being paid, personnel were often spending too much time checking whether they were being paid correctly.

“Walking down the halls, compensation was often the first thing to be mentioned by the general manager, the vice presidents and the directors,” says Bentley-Smith. “We wanted to end this – for compensation to become a non-issue.”

With managers spending increasing amounts of time on this activity it was clear that change was required. The EMEA region needed a new system that could fully automate the payment process and cope with all the complexities of the region in a simple, cost-effective manner.

“We decided to speak to our sales team to find out what they wanted from the new system,” says Bentley-Smith. “It turned out it was basic stuff. They wanted to know what they were going to be paid when and, if necessary, be able to raise queries quickly and efficiently.”

Solving the conundrum with the cloud Once it was clear what the sales teams wanted the new system to do, the EMEA sales management team set out to look for a solution for their region. The team spent a year trialling different products, focusing mainly on SaaS, but found that most did not provide the complex functionality to suit the region’s needs. The team then decided to trial Xactly, which was already in use by Motorola Solutions in North America, in order to assess whether it might also work for the EMEA region: it did and Motorola Solutions made its decision to implement Xactly across EMEA.

“There was a lot of pressure coming from sales teams to make sure the new system was perfect from day one and we could not afford to have one incorrect payment once we were live. To ensure we got things right we put together an implementation plan and ran Xactly in the background alongside our manual process until we were sure everything was functioning correctly,” says Bentley-Smith.

Results The system went live at the end of 2011, and EMEA immediately began to reap the benefits of a fully automated, cloud-based service. Xactly’s data management product allowed the team to upload monthly wages into the system straight from HR records, ensuring that all payments were correct and included recent salary changes. With the Credit Assessment feature, Motorola Solutions was able to load raw order and revenue data directly from the ERP system to accurately calculate how much each salesperson had earned.

Since implementing Xactly, Motorola Solutions benefits from enhanced oversight and gained the ability to effectively monitor and manage all queries from its sales team across the region. The company has noticed a significant improvement in service with payment queries reducing every month. This is largely because salespeople now have access to real-time data and can see how sales are being processed, and at what rate of commission.

The implementation has also enabled the admin team to focus on talking to sales people about their plans and payment options rather than spending their time processing data. “Xactly has not only saved us a lot of time, but all the calculations have been 100 per cent accurate,” says Bentley-Smith. “A member of the sales team will occasionally call me to say that one of the calculations is wrong, but the system has always been right!”

Xactly is also auditable, enabling the admin team to review the data to see what has been paid out and assess aspects such as accrual data. Simple reporting means sales personnel are also able to easily review their personal and team data, helping to build a better relationship between the admin and sales teams who know they can log in any day of the month, access their statement, see how much they are going to get paid, and review a full breakdown.

Next Steps

The sales management team is now looking at developing a tool for admin staff to review individual performance, pulling data from over- and under-achievers to assist in setting future compensation plans.

“We are seriously looking at analytics,” says Bentley-Smith. “We are making full use of the out-of-the-box reports but have also developed our own customised ones using live data. This means sales personnel can log in and review their results from the previous week or month. We have also developed reports for our managers, which mean they can be fully equipped with real-time views on how their teams are performing.”

Motorola Solutions and Xactly work in partnership; working together to help develop and adapt the system to the changing needs of Motorola Solutions. “Xactly has not only helped us by providing our teams with these tools, the Company has helped us do more than that,” says Bentley-Smith.

“Xactly has helped us enhance the relationship between management and sales teams and delivered a solution which enables our sales teams to focus on what they do best.”

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.