Xactly and BrightTALK Collaborate for Sales Success

"As BrightTALK turned its attention to more prospects in more sectors, it made sense to up our sales management capabilities to address this much larger customer base effectively and reward our sales teams appropriately."

— Charlie Blackburn, COO & Co-Founder, BrightTALK

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About BrightTALK

Founded in 2002 by Paul Heald and Charlie Blackburn, BrightTALK was created to help organisations engage their customers, partners and investors through live, online events. Today this pioneering webinar and video platform employs over 100 employees and has offices in London, New York and San Francisco.

Every day thousands of thought leaders actively share their insights, ideas and knowledge with professionals all over the globe via BrightTALK’s online event technology. The BrightTALKTM Channel offers a dynamic environment providing viewers live, interactive access to businesses’ thought leaders while presenters create powerful online events using the platform.

Depth of content is important. Users can identify the topics most relevant to them by searching communities, channels, summits or individual webinars, all available on-demand for future viewing and sharing with peers and colleagues. Its growing international client roster includes Jive, Dell, HP, J.P. Morgan and Symantec.

The Challenge

In 2012 the company was driving for further global expansion and BrightTALK COO and co-founder Charlie Blackburn knew aligning sales with company objectives would play a key part in achieving success. Blackburn comments, “As BrightTALK turned its attention to more prospects in more sectors, it made sense to up our sales management capabilities to address this much larger customer base effectively and reward our sales teams appropriately.”

“The team was growing fast and needed a system to match. Our existing method of managing compensation was via spreadsheets but we were already struggling and knew we would continue to struggle as our numbers grew.”

BrightTALK was keen to find a solution to fully automate the way it paid its sales staff, providing visibility to sales reps and managers so they could easily see how teams were performing, and how this translates to commission payments. Errors and delays were common, creating a headache both for the sales teams and the admin staff. Finding a solution which would link well with Salesforce was also important, which is what initially lead the team to try Xactly.

“Xactly’s technology, with its clear focus on sales performance, impressed us because sales execution is critical to grabbing any of the fast-moving market we operate in. However once we started speaking with the team at Xactly we quickly found they had more to offer than just software,” continues Blackburn.

Chris Cabrera, CEO at Xactly comments, “90 per cent of the time, when we come to implement a new system we find errors existing in the current system and BrightTALK was no exception.”

The Solution

Working closely with Xactly’s experts, BrightTALK was able to find the most appropriate plans and metrics to bring its sales teams in line with corporate objectives. It was keen to find a plan which would help reps to sell consistently throughout the year rather than ‘sandbagging’ deals or rushing to get all their sales out of the way at the start of the year.

Cabrera continues, “The quotas we ended up suggesting to BrightTALK were pretty interesting. Rather than simply implementing a cycle of identical 12 month quotas we looked at the best way to incentivise reps to sell evenly throughout the year. The result was to set monthly quotas
which increased over time, pushing reps to sell consistently, rather than rushing out sales at the beginning of the year and sitting back for the
next 12 months. We had run analysis in the past comparing the pay outs to reps who sell across a year to those who just sell a lot in the beginning and found the pay outs were wildly different.”

Thanks to these plans BrightTALK was able to change the behaviour of reps and saw a steady stream of revenue rather than sudden spikes over the year.

Blackburn adds, “With our reps now selling more consistently we found clarity on revenue much improved, making it easier for us to plan growth strategies or look at investments. Thanks to the success of this we are also looking at other changes we can make to our plans to further improve our sales process.”

Next Steps

Having initially used Xactly across only a portion of the sales team, BrightTALK has since rolled out Xactly Express across its entire sales team. Xactly Express is built on the Force.com platform and is an ideal solution for companies with up to 100 sales reps.

BrightTALK is now working on regular reporting from Xactly using Salesforce to pull and share data across all teams enabling all departments to see what is being sold and to whom.

“Xactly is now a key part of how we run our sales function,” says Blackburn. “As a fast growing business Xactly has been a key part of ensuring we grow using a successful and sustainable sales model.”