Hi, I’m Henry and I lead the Global Sales Compensation team at MuleSoft. My team and I create and operationalize the company’s sales compensation plans, determine quotas, and provide critical feedback on sales performance across all sales functions.
We work with sales leaders on executing their go-to-market sales strategies and create mathematical models to determine and forecast targets, quotas, and expenses. The team also has the herculean task of supporting the entire sales organization, helping them understand the mechanism of their compensation plans, and ensuring that everyone is paid the right amount, at the right time. It’s an exciting place to be as we are on the front lines, building processes, paving roads, and enabling MuleSoft’s continued growth.
I believe an extremely rewarding sales compensation plan is one of the biggest differentiators for our field employees at MuleSoft. “Pay for Performance” is at the top MuleSoft’s compensation objectives and philosophy. This means we strive to pay top dollar for exceptional performance. Given the impact and level of involvement Sales Compensation has with the field team, we are extremely prideful about our ability to accurately and reliably reward all of our field employees for the extraordinary work they do.
Through sheer determination and grit, our dedicated Sales Compensation team, as well as the broader Sales Operations team, enable our plans to work. However, as my team has discovered time and time again, it’s not easy to provide complete accuracy and transparency, while supporting a global sales force. For the past three years, we have run everything on spreadsheets. Thousands of lines of data and formulas reside in various tables across multiple tabs and workbooks. These spreadsheets constantly perform a choreographed and synchronized act that somehow result in a calculated earned commission value for each sales representative. This got us to where we are today, but I knew there had to be a better way to operationalize, scale, and provide the field with the level of transparency they deserve.
Our commitment to the sales team: Transparency and accuracy
One of the first and most critical issues we needed to address was transparency. It’s really important for our sales team to understand what they’re getting and how much. All of our data was processed in spreadsheets, so manually generating and disseminating an individualized report for each and every sales representative was an extremely protracted and laborious process. My team was constantly manually generating Excel statements for each and every member of the sales team. This was difficult and time-consuming and at the end of the day, that statement would just show a number––it didn’t explain what that number was comprised of. For example, you closed $125,000 in business, but you would have a difficult time tracking down how many and which opportunities added up to that $125,000.
The other issue was accuracy. It’s vital to make sure people are accurately compensated for the work they do. In order to make this happen we have to ensure:
- All the data that goes into the spreadsheets is correct
- Excel formulas are always referencing the right fields and calculating properly
Again, given the sheer volume of the data and the number of Excel formulas used to calculate just one commission value, this was not an easy process. The team had to manually pull data from different systems and sources. If the data were static, it wouldn’t be as difficult to ensure that we always have the right data in our spreadsheets. However, as we live in a dynamic world and are working at a high growth company, the data is constantly in flux. Sometimes, this means the team had to spend a lot of time combing through data to ensure that our inputs and outputs are correct and reliable.
Solving challenges using Anypoint Platform
We worked with Callidus and a MuleSoft partner, Admios, to build the connector that enables Mule to communicate with Callidus’ APIs. Using that connector, we were able to create an integration that pulls, synchronizes, and maintains data from our human resources and customer management systems with the data in Callidus. The integration allows us to seamlessly ensure that the data imported and utilized by Callidus is updated with the latest changes.
For example, changes may be made to who is involved in a deal, which products were sold, how much the products were sold for, who your manager was in February, the OTE, etc. Any of these changes had the potential to impact the compensation of an entire group of individuals. In the past, my team would have to go and update the data, rerun the calculations, verify the results, manually generate new statements, and communicate the commission changes to the affected teams and individuals. This is obviously very time-consuming and does not lend itself to scale with MuleSoft’s growth. Today, the data piece is caught proactively and updated through the integration. The rules we have set up in Callidus ensure consistent and reliable results in how commission is calculated.
On top of that, we have built dashboards that leverage the data provided by the integration. These dashboards provide real-time transparency to the field by showing exactly which opportunities they are receiving credit for and how their commissions are being calculated. This streamlines the communication of changes and allows the field and Sales Compensation teams to look at the same data at all times. Now, my team can spend their time helping MuleSoft grow, instead of spending all day trying to make sure that the data in the spreadsheets is accurate.
Leveraging what we have built: Accurate data = rocket fuel
Not understanding how you’re compensated can be immensely agonizing for sales teams. It is my belief that the more our sales force understands how they are being compensated, the more content and productive they will be. This integration, combined with the implementation of our sales performance management tool, is a monumental accomplishment for us. Operationally, huge strides were taken which will help my team scale, while providing the sales force with an unprecedented level of transparency. All of this allows us to improve the morale of our sales team, provide managers and leaders the information they need to better manage their teams, and further accelerate our growth.
My team is always looking for creative ways to solve problems. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, check out our open roles.