"It's not just about seeing how you're doing at the end of the month, but seeing where you're at every day," Mulvihill said. ClairMail's previous spreadsheet-based process was "equivalent to waiting until the end of the game" to gauge performance. Mulvihill said he knows of least two bonuses achieved by sales reps that would have been missed without the daily visibility into performance. He added that the ClairMail management team shut down two incentives and doubled another as a result of performance monitoring, and estimated that the sales organization has saved 100 hours of time as a result of efficiencies gained on the platform.
While Mulvihill gave Xactly high marks across the board, especially for its customer service, he noted a non-monetary cost of relying on the relatively young software: "Each time there is a version change, there are some burps," he said. "You have to be able to withstand the impact of changes. We have that tolerance." Mulvihill manages about a dozen enterprise applications, nine of which are cloud-based.
China Martens, senior analyst with The 451 Group, said that the SMB market for sales compensation software in the cloud remains relatively niche at the moment.
"When's it going to go mainstream? How do you get to that next level? I think that's what [Express] 1.6 is all about," Martens said. "There's still so much evangelism to do, especially in the SMB space, convincing the market that they really need this functionality."
That's what Cabrera aims to do in the coming year: "We're going to be exploding our sales organization and hiring lots of people that can do it," he said.
The decision to make Express available to non-Salesforce.com customers will be a key to unlocking a wider door to the SMB market, according to Martens.