Xactly stakes claim on emerging sales performance market

On-demand sales incentive management vendor Xactly is punching above its weight for its size and, in laying claim to the 'sales performance' market has targeted a segment that looks set to expand dramatically over the next few years.
Written by Phil Wainewright, Contributor

On-demand sales incentive management vendor Xactly is spreading its wings today and laying claim to the wider "sales performance" market which, citing market research from Ventana, the company claims is far bigger than salesforce automation alone. Does that mean Xactly aspires to become bigger than Salesforce.com, I asked Xactly's CEO Chris Cabrera in a briefing call on Friday. Cabrera and his colleagues laughed off the suggestion, not least because Salesforce.com is itself a marquee customer for Xactly, as well as a major partner. Nevertheless this is a company that, like Salesforce.com before it, is punching above its weight for its size and has targeted a market that looks set to expand dramatically over the next few years.

Xactly is mapping several application opportunities that exploit its sales data store
One of the most impressive facets of Xactly's strategy is that it's defining its own market, rather than aiming to seize an existing application category from incumbents. After a period of intensive analysis of the market opportunity ahead of it, Xactly believes it can expand into a number of related application categories (see diagram) that are poorly served by current vendors — especially in the high end of the mid-market, which is the sweet spot for Xactly and its on-demand offerings.

"It is the high end of the mid-market that really is adopting on-demand because of the economics," Cabrera told me. The appeal of Xactly, he added, is that it gives them the information and tools to get the best out of their salesforce. "They will absolutely sell more stuff, and they'll sell more of the right stuff."

Today's announcements extend Xactly's offerings in several directions:

  • A new rewards module manages the special programs and contests used to engender competitive motivation among salespeople. Fulfilment is made easy and immediate via a back-end partner that utilizes Amazon.com's online retail technology.
  • Modeling takes the product's existing bank of cleansed sales performance data and allows customers to do what-if analysis of the impact of changes to compensation and incentive plans.
  • Connect is an API, provided free-of-charge, which allows developers to create custom connections either into or out of Xactly. This means customers can link back-end data from any system into Xactly, and once it's been cleansed and transformed in the Xactly engine it can then be exported, for example into business intelligence software for further analysis.

Xactly has set out a roadmap for further product introductions over the next year or two, extending its reach into areas such as territory management, quotas and pricing (as in the diagram above). All of this is founded on a recognition that its sales information data store is a valuable resource that it can exploit to deliver added value to customers. "Leveraging the power of the data piece is the foundation of our go-forward strategy," said Cabrera.

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