Back in 2019, just as Bengaluru’s investors were moving from optimism to outright exuberance, countless startups were disrupting the traditional way of conducting business. Plenty of startups closer home, changed the way people booked cabs, ordered food or booked hotels.
With the winds of innovation flowing across the Garden City, there was one problem that was persistent for all sales teams across industries - inconvenience in commissions. They were delayed, incorrect and cumbersome.
Sales commissions were never democratic. Sales leaders were never involved in formulating, publishing and monitoring commissions, which is the single most important element that drives sales. Apart from that, the calculations were manual, tedious and opaque.
One of the major reasons why the sales commission programmes failed was because the ones who built and led the sales teams were almost always looped out and un aware. Isn’t it surprising?
Well. Not really.
Ineffectiveness of sales programmes
While organisations used tons of different tools and softwares to motivate, measure and reward sales performance, they were rarely owned by the sales leaders. HR, administration and tech teams rolled out hundreds of programmes to motivate sales teams without really listening to them. Their ideology was to help the sales team focus on just sales.
Think about salespeople and you think of stereotypes: people who are motivated only by numbers; risk takers who thrive on the adrenaline of a potential massive payoff.
Yet another problem with the way sales programmes were run and commissions were calculated was that it was all manual which made it tedious, slow and immensely boring. Majority of sales commissions are still calculated on Excel sheets. Spreadsheets were never built to calculate commissions but to automate simple mathematical calculations which had more math than logic. This was one of the major reasons why sales programmes always failed. And Excel sheets made the entire process opaque.
But for sales leaders driven by numbers, there was a bigger challenge. They could not calculate the ROI for any programme in spite of running sales programmes and giving out incentives (though delayed).
When we started building Compass, our only aim was to ‘Democratise sales commissions’.
We had a strong vision of changing the lives of all the people who sell, so that we could help startups and corporations alike to sell, and sell meaningfully.
One of the best parts about Compass was that we were very clear of our target market and sure of the fact that it was lucrative.
The first version of the product was for everyone, right from the retail industry to the gig workers but was pulled back in multiple directions only to go nowhere. Then came a few iterations but we had to let go of the first few paying customers, some of them being massive companies.
The major iteration that we adopted was not in the product but the market. We opted for the beach head go-to market strategy and refocused on the BFSI sector in the Indian market and later gained first paying customers who have a massive workforce and are legacy companies.
But why the BFSI sector in the Indian market you would ask?
Insurance, as an industry, has always thrived on human engagement but has been considered uninteresting as a career option for far too long. The need of the hour was to build a comprehensive sales engagement strategy that motivates and re-engages agents, fosters transparent communication about tasks, milestones and achievements, and facilitates error-free and timely rewards.
With a large workforce spread across geographies, aligning them to a single-most important goal is almost impossible. One of the greatest complaints from agents in the insurance business was that daily tasks can be repetitive, boring, and unrewarding in nature. With this being the nature of the job, more and more agents fail to hit their yearly targets because they are uninspired to do more.
Compass focuses on the underlying fact: the insurance industry is about re-engaging with the agents for enhanced accountability and performance, so they stop thinking like agents, and start behaving like employees. And this can be achieved by using levers that they crave for - meaningful and timely rewards, lucrative commission plans and instant payments.
Compass is an unorthodox product built for orthodox problems in the most orthodox function, sales.
The newest version of the fast-growing SaaS startup is the ultimate personification of the bilateral vision of democratising sales commissions and making sales fun and judicious for all industries across geographies.
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While Compass has seen success, we are hungry to do more. Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation. As technology evolves, we will evolve and be ahead of it.
We will continue making a product with utterly differentiated user experience. We need to continue investing in scalability, flexibility, security, and our ability to learn incredibly fast.
We will learn and optimise how to share our vision and the benefits of our service with our target segment in the broader market. While we enter larger and more lucrative markets, we want to build a people-centric product that provides value for all stakeholders like our employees, customers, and partners — a product that is passionately built for innovation and solves core problems while we continue to have faith, ownership and empower people.
A critical part of our vision is making sure that our people are happy and excited about what they do, and that we build a company that our family and friends can be proud of.
At Compass, our only mission is to help the sales fraternity sell, meaningfully.
My team and I would be delighted to take you through a demo of what we've built and how we can gamify your incentive programs. Schedule a demo or leave your email id below and we'll schedule it for you! Look forward to hearing from you.