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Effective sales compensation management is a crucial factor in motivating and retaining a successful sales team. The two most commonly used methods for managing sales compensation are spreadsheets and specialized software such as Xactly

At Canidium, we have been helping organizations move from spreadsheets to sales performance management since 2008. We know there is a time and place for both solutions.

In this article, we will compare and contrast the capabilities of these two tools in sales compensation management. After reading this article, you can make an informed decision about which tool is better suited to your organization's needs.


Spreadsheets: 5 Benefits

  1. Flexibility: Spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets offer great flexibility. They allow businesses to create custom compensation plans, calculate commissions, and track performance in a format that suits their unique requirements.
  2. Low Cost: Spreadsheets are often readily available and relatively inexpensive. Most businesses already have spreadsheet software, making it a cost-effective solution for small to mid-sized organizations.
  3. Ease of Use: Spreadsheets are user-friendly and familiar to many employees, reducing the learning curve for managing sales compensation.
  4. Customizability: Spreadsheets can be customized extensively, enabling businesses to adapt their compensation management to evolving sales strategies and market conditions.
  5. Data Integration: Spreadsheets can be linked to various data sources, allowing for incorporating performance metrics, quotas, and other key information into compensation calculations.


Xactly: 5 Benefits

  1. Automation: Xactly is designed specifically for managing sales compensation, providing powerful automation capabilities to streamline the entire process and reduce errors and administrative overhead.
  2. Advanced Analytics: Xactly provides in-depth analytics and reporting tools, enabling businesses to gain insights into the effectiveness of their compensation plans and make data-driven decisions.
  3. Data Security: Xactly prioritizes data security, making it a safe choice for businesses dealing with sensitive compensation data. It offers role-based access controls and audit trails to ensure data integrity.
  4. Scalability: Xactly is scalable, making it suitable for larger enterprises with complex compensation structures and many sales reps.
  5. Compliance: Xactly helps businesses stay compliant with changing regulatory requirements, which can be a challenging task when using spreadsheets.


Comparison of Spreadsheets and Xactly

  1. Automation: While spreadsheets can be used to automate some aspects of compensation calculations, Xactly excels in this regard. It offers a more streamlined and error-free automation process.
  2. Analytics: Xactly provides more advanced analytics and reporting capabilities compared to spreadsheets, which can significantly enhance decision-making.
  3. Scalability: Spreadsheets work well for small to mid-sized businesses but may become unwieldy for larger enterprises. Xactly is designed to handle the complexities of larger organizations.
  4. Data Security and Compliance: Xactly offers better data security and compliance features, which are critical for businesses operating in regulated industries.
  5. Cost: Spreadsheets are more cost-effective for smaller organizations. Xactly may be a worthwhile investment for larger businesses with complex compensation structures.


Spreadsheets vs. Xactly: Which One is Better for Your Organization?

The choice between spreadsheets and specialized software like Xactly for sales compensation management depends on the specific needs and size of the business. 

Spreadsheets are a budget-friendly, flexible, and easy-to-use option for smaller companies. 

Xactly offers advanced automation, analytics, and security features, making it a better choice for larger enterprises with complex compensation structures. 

Want to learn more about Xactly's capabilities? Check out these articles:

Xactly Implementation: How SI Partners Lighten the Resource Load

Comp Plans: Your Pathway to Xactly Implementation Triumph

Download our complete guide to bringing incentive compensation management to your organization


Photo by sarah b on Unsplash


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