HQ: San Francisco
Industry: B2B Finance Tools
Size: 300+ employees
- 25% increase in pipeline creation
- 70% more fields updated in Salesforce for improved data hygiene
CaptivateIQ is a sales commission platform that simplifies the way sales incentive plans are structured, tracked, and paid out to reps.
With a no-code solution that’s faster and more accurate than spreadsheets, and integrates better with today’s tech stacks than over-priced legacy software, the company is addressing a common operations headache felt across sales, finance, and HR: managing and distributing commission compensation for sales reps.
When Jordan Leu joined CaptivateIQ in 2020 as the startup’s first Director of Sales, he inherited a small team of 5 Account Executives. In the span of 2 years, that team has scaled to over 25 AEs and 3 Sales Managers at what is now a unicorn company.
But the same success predicated on solving sales operations challenges for so many companies led to a different kind of sales operation challenge internally, as CaptivateIQ sought to expand into new verticals and double down on the enterprise market in front of them.
How do you make data-driven decisions when Salesforce data can’t be trusted?
“Our Salesforce hygiene was bad. It was a dark time.” Leu jokes as he recalls forecasting meetings where top-level leadership was present to go over high-priority deals and where every field in Salesforce was subject to second-guessing because processes weren’t being followed and opportunities weren’t being updated in a timely manner.
Even for the data that is entered into Salesforce, small errors could add up in big ways.
“Imagine you say, ‘This deal's going great.’ And someone says, ‘Why is it still in the first stage? Or, ‘You said it’s going to be a million dollars, but it's really $2 million.’ When people can’t rely on the data, it breaks trust across the team.”
The difference between $1 million and $2 million is millimeters on a rep’s keyboard but miles in the rooms where forecasting and business decisions are made.
“It's garbage in, garbage out,” Leu explains. “When you can't trust the reporting at a leadership level, you go into leadership meetings with the goal of analyzing key trends like how long your deal cycle is, only to realize—we can't measure key metrics if the data is not accurate.”
How can you expect AEs to prioritize Salesforce data entry over selling?
As a sales commission software company, CaptivateIQ understands what really motivates reps—commission. And what doesn’t—admin work.
Fight for that next paycheck or spend hours each week moving information from one cell to another? It’s not a hard decision for reps.
“We have smart people in these seats and we're forcing them to do manual tasks and make updates in multiple places. The more rep time we can shift from admin tasks to time with customers, the better. We want them to be selling, on the phone, outbounding, all the things that drive revenue, especially in a market like ours.”
“One of the main reasons why AEs leave their jobs is that they have too many redundant and manual processes that take away from productive selling, ” says Leu. One survey found more than half of the sales reps claiming they work more than their contracted hours. Even so, it’s easier to justify leaving the office late in the evening to work on a deal than it is to catch up with Salesforce updates.
How can hand-offs be smooth when the flow of customer context isn’t?
One of CaptivateIQ’s selling points is time to launch when migrating a customer’s commission plans into their software. What takes legacy systems a month to do, their team can do in a few hours.
But it requires cross-team coordination. AEs get to know the customer’s commission plans, Solutions Engineers rebuild them in CaptivateIQ, and the Implementation team helps with the rollout.
“But the problem is our teams all rely on data in Salesforce,” Leu says.
The other problem: “The hand-off form in Salesforce takes at least half an hour per submission. It's clunky and the time inefficiencies really add up fast.”
For CaptivateIQ, two major hand-off processes (and around 100 employees at the company) are affected by this disconnect in the flow of information between teams:
- Account Executives to Sales Engineers.
- Sales teams to Implementation teams.
And so the need for a better solution was clear.
Not Salesforce, spreadsheets, or niche note taking tools
Before considering a new tool to add to their sales stack, Leu and his team tried to solve the problem with the tools they already had: Salesforce and spreadsheets.
“We tried to solve it in Salesforce first and reps weren't using it so it wasn’t accurate. And then we moved it out of Salesforce and tried a spreadsheet as a source or truth. People used it, but it was manual and there was a disconnect with Salesforce.”
So the team decided to seek out a solution designed for the problem, narrowing it down to two options:
- Scratchpad, which Leu had first heard about at his previous company and then again at CaptivateIQ from the AEs.
- A niche sales note-taking tool.
The evaluation process? Let the AEs choose the tool they’ll love to use
“The most important evaluation criteria was that the AEs had to love it. We weren't going to buy a tool the AEs wouldn't use. We didn't want shelf-ware,” Leu says.
So they created a Slack channel for the team with the message:
“Here are two tools that we can try. Everyone install them both and see which one you like more.”
Leu and his team had two main criteria.
- How often are AEs logging in and using it?
- Can it build a faster, better hand-off process than Salesforce?
“There were 7 AEs in the Slack channel who overwhelmingly gravitated towards Scratchpad. They would even send Scratchpad notes and tasks to us.”
As for the hand-off process? AEs now have a Kanban board in Scratchpad, where they can select the card, and fill out the form so that it’s all accurate.
“It lets the Solutions Engineer know that here's the most accurate info so they can hop on the call feeling prepared, while also updating Salesforce,” says Leu. Now the process is just in Scratchpad: one form that's pre-built with only 10 fields that they populate and then hit submit. Reps love that.”
Their “source” of truth is now a whole lot cleaner
“Scratchpad is the layer that sits on top of Salesforce for AEs. It’s the workspace for our revenue team that keeps Salesforce clean since AEs are closest to the info we really need to know and report on.”
—Jordan Leu, Director of Sales at CaptivateIQ
With Scratchpad now a part of the CaptivateIQ sales tech stack and actively used by AEs every day, data hygiene has never been better.
Leu believes that as great as call recordings with customers are, nothing gets everyone closer to customers than the context AEs have in their heads.
“The AE’s context is really how we get all of our data into Salesforce in the most accurate way,” Leu says. “There's a lot of non-verbal info that doesn't come across in call recordings. All of that is getting translated through the AE, into Scratchpad, into Salesforce, into our reporting.”