Blackthorn, a native Salesforce app that manages events and payments, relied on Salesforce formulas to calculate sales commissions. It was a workable solution for a small sales team until they began to scale.
As the sales organization added sales development, customer success, and partnership teams, the complexities in commission structures outgrew Salesforce formula capabilities. Blackthorn had been handling Salesforce administration internally without a designated admin on staff. Since every change to quota required a new formula, the frequent changes of a scaling startup became a “formula frenzy.”
Further aggravating the situation, Blackthorn loves monthly kickers and end-of-year accelerators to drive performance, which called for more formulaic adjustments.
For maximum impact from these additional incentives, reps need to be able to easily track their progress against them. But the Blackthorn sales team had to review four different Salesforce reports when trying to determine how close they were to reaching these incentives. So, they were never quite sure if they had qualified or not.
Blackthorn had reached a point where, as VP of Sales Joe St. Germain said, “Formulas could not handle the complexity and scale as we expanded our teams and departments.”
Updating formulas had become so cumbersome that CEO and Co-Founder Chris Federspiel started searching for a solution. He hoped to find a solution that integrated with Salesforce and did not require a heavy lift to implement.
QuotaPath delivered on all accounts, and Blackthorn began using the compensation performance management solution in August 2021.
In the time since, Blackthorn’s revenue team has experienced significant time savings while providing clear visibility of compensation tracking for reps and management alike.
Setting up new quotas with Salesforce formulas used to require at least five to 10 hours of work per quota. Now in QuotaPath, it’s a simple update that only takes a few minutes.
Additionally, checking quarterly quota calculations and correcting errors previously took two to four hours per rep and per quarter. With QuotaPath, the team has found peace of mind with the consistent accuracy in their commission calculations and knowing that any adjustment takes a few clicks.
Team performance has also seen a boost. Increased visibility for Blackthorn’s reps through QuotaPath’s reporting has helped drive record sales over the past three months.
Below, the VP of Sales takes us through his QuotaPath experience, including selection, onboarding, ease of use, and increased visibility.
First, what is Blackthorn and who is Joe?
Blackthorn partnered with Salesforce in 2015 to offer a native app that makes managing events and payment processing easier. Higher ed, healthcare, and nonprofit organizations use Blackthorn’s tool to manage event processes like running event phone registrations, creating landing pages, and handling mobile organization. Its payment processor supports companies with mobile and subscription payments. Blackthorn gives companies full control of business processes through automation, configuration, and customization with no coding required. That’s two products that Blackthorn reps get to cross-sell.
The company now has 70 employees, 20 of whom make up the sales organization.
Joe leads as VP of Sales at Blackthorn and oversees the sales and business development. He joined Blackthorn in 2019 as a senior account executive. He has since climbed the leadership ladder, advancing to director of sales in 2020, and VP of Sales in 2021.
There are five different quota-carrying positions at Blackthorn: account executives, business development reps, customer success, partnerships, and sales leadership.
This means there are 10 different complex compensation plans, that include kickers and accelerators, and are tied to monthly customer payments.
Selecting an “out-of-the-box” solution
Although Joe has become an evangelist of QuotaPath across his sales team, it wasn’t Joe who initially introduced Blackthorn to our platform. It was CEO and Co-founder Chris Federspiel. Chris said he checked out a handful of commission tracking software and sales performance management providers before selecting QuotaPath.
“QuotaPath had the best ability to configure criteria without having to write SQL queries or run big data exports,” Chris said. “It was a click-through path that gave us what we needed with little training.”
Sold on speed
During the sales process, QuotaPath had promised Chris fast onboarding, implementation, and time to value. To both his and Joe’s delight, our onboarding team got Blackthorn up and running in less than two weeks.
That includes the total time it took to sync Blackthorn’s Salesforce CRM, set up every plan or “Path” for reps, and map out commissions. Training for the entire team came in later weeks but within the first 30 days.
“We figured onboarding would be quick based on what QuotaPath told Chris, yet we were still happily surprised that it worked out the way it was sold,” Joe said.
Plus, the QuotaPath onboarding team has been helpful and responsive to questions within the same day.
Before QuotaPath, if Joe had to add a new quota, which was happening every two to three months, he’d assemble a small task force. For example, when Blackthorn added a partnerships team last year, Joe corralled sales, a Salesforce admin, and a department leader to set up the new quota.
“Now I can do it myself and directly in QuotaPath without having to create a formula,” Joe said. “It’s saving us five to 10 hours of work for every new quota.”
Adding his team’s monthly kickers and end-of-year accelerators have also been easy, accurate, and effective in QuotaPath.
Complex comp plans…no problem
While Joe began to relish in the time he got back from no longer having to mess with formulas, his reps began to see the benefits from new visibility into their quota attainments.
“Our reps realized they could run scenarios and see how much they could earn from our monthly kickers,” Joe said.
This led to big pushes from reps as they moved to fully maximize the accelerators set by Joe. QuotaPath’s ability for reps to run “what if” scenarios also broke down how much they would need to book monthly to lock in an extra 2 percent per deal toward the end of the year.
This added visibility led to record sales the past 3 months.
Sure, there’s a number of factors that can lead to record-breaking sales months, but Joe was quick to credit QuotaPath.
“Our team has had record sales months the past three months,” Joe said. “QuotaPath’s visibility has given our reps a little extra boost to go out and get as much as they can.”
If you would like to see wins at your organization similar to Blackthorn’s, schedule a time to chat with a team member.