Take the Headache Out of Commission Payout with Smartsheet and Salesforce

by Brian Hintz

Identifying what motivates each individual within an organization is essential to the success of your business. Whether it’s time, money, or prestige, managers must identify these motivations to ensure the success of their team and the individuals that make up that team. 

For people in sales, who are often motivated by being successful, pushing themselves, and knowing that their compensation is directly related to their performance, visibility and accountability into the commission payout process is very important. 

The end of each sales period should be a time to celebrate success, but too often it is a negative experience because sales reps have no visibility into what commission they are being paid, for which deals, and whether they received compensation for all of their achievements.

Static Spreadsheets Result in Manual, Inefficient Processes

The commission payout process can also be a burden on the sales operations and finance teams. These teams still often rely on static spreadsheets to manually calculate commissions for sales teams. 

At the end of each sales period, sales operations runs a report in Salesforce for each rep showing the deals that closed, and then export that information to an Excel file. After reconciling any discrepancies between sales reported and sales actually closed, sales operations, in conjunction with the finance team, run the details through formulas based on each rep’s commission plan. 

Once compensation is calculated, the Excel files are emailed around to get approvals from sales operations, sales management, and finance. At this point, details are often updated by the approvers, based on changes in contract terms, start date, etc., which impacts how the revenue is recognized for commission.

This can lead to confusion as changes are not always communicated and there is no clear view of where the “master” version of the data lives. After the files are passed around and approvals are given, the approved commission amounts are then manually updated back in Salesforce to let sales reps know what commission they will receive.

Although this is a common workflow for commission payout, this manual process results in a poor experience for everyone involved. Potentially it could work for sales teams that consist of a few sales reps, but imagine completing this process for 100s (if not 1000s!) of reps within an enterprise sales org. Additionally, sales reps have little to no visibility into what’s happening with their commission and have to spend valuable sales time hunting down the details. 

A Better Way with Smartsheet for Salesforce

Smartsheet for Salesforce takes the pain out of this process with collaborative work management and automation. Smartsheet for Salesforce is a premium capability available for additional fees to Smartsheet customers with Team, Business, and Enterprise plans. 

With this integration in place, at the end of each sales period, the relevant Salesforce data is pushed into individual monthly booking sheets in Smartsheet that are unique to each rep and are shared with key stakeholders. Formulas are set to calculate commission based on compensation plans, and then automatically sum and roll up totals at the team level so managers have a view across their team.

Finance has access to calculate commission directly in reps’ sheets, which improves transparency for sales reps. Additionally, commission approval is granted in real time, prompted by automated notifications sent to key stakeholders. Once approvals are made in Smartsheet, the changes are automatically reflected back in Salesforce - no more duplicate data entry.

Here are four ways that increased automation helps streamline the commissions payout process:

  1. Increased efficiency - With automation, the process that used to take an operations analyst nine days of work is streamlined to take only a day or two. With alerts and notifications in Smartsheet, key stakeholders are notified as changes are made to ensure the process keeps moving forward.
  2. Reduced errors - One error made, due to manual data entry, can result in huge losses in commission paid to sales reps. With data automatically flowing between both Smartsheet and Salesforce, everyone can be assured that updates are made accurately and in real time. 
  3. Improved visibility - By sharing individual monthly booking sheets with key stakeholders, everyone has visibility into the process, in real time. This helps sales reps know exactly where their compensation stands, finance to make calculations in real time and manage budgets, and managers to see how their teams are performing. 
  4. Enhanced collaboration - With comments and attachments in Smartsheet, nuanced details of individual sales, contracts, and commission plans are kept in context. This creates one location for the truth and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

Discover How Smartsheet for Salesforce can Help Improve Your Processes

By implementing the Smartsheet for Salesforce connector, you can ensure that the commission payout process is seamless, and a more positive experience for everyone involved. 

While this is only one example of the ways that this integration can help you work better, you can learn about other use cases for the Smartsheet for Salesforce connector by downloading this free e-book

Plus, our team would love to talk with you about all the ways that Smartsheet for Salesforce can help you solve your specific needs. Contact us to talk with someone today.