Accelerating compensation calculations by 70 percent and empowering sales teams with analytics

Published on 01-Mar-2013

"Flexibility to accommodate growth and change is a huge priority. IBM Cognos Incentive Compensation Management delivered." - Michelle Strader, Vice-President – HR and Talent Services, Silverpop


Professional Services

Deployment country:
United States

Automation, BA - Business Analytics, Business Integration, BA - Business Intelligence, Enabling Business Flexibility


Silverpop’s engagement marketing suite of web-based solutions enables companies around the world to build relationships with customers and prospects.

Business need:
Silverpop wanted to grow its business internationally by rewarding and retaining its most talented salespeople. To achieve this, the company needed to track the performance of its sales teams accurately.

The company replaced its decentralized, spreadsheet-based approach with IBM® Cognos® Incentive Compensation Management – a single, automated system for talent management, directly integrated with Silverpop’s solution.

Offers sales teams 24/7 access and enhanced visibility of compensation payments. Accelerates compensation calculations by 70 percent. Enables sales teams to review their compensation in real-time.

Case Study

Silverpop’s engagement marketing suite of web-based solutions enables companies around the world to build relationships with customers and prospects.

As a growing global enterprise, Silverpop needed to automate and centralize its incentive compensation process for more than 80 payees. IBM Cognos Incentive Compensation Management provided Silverpop with flexibility and scalability, customized to the needs of a mid-market company.

Scalability is a top priority for mid-market companies

Silverpop experienced a steady rate of growth, and, with an eye to the future, was seeking a solution to provide scalability. New sales employees were frequently being added to the team, and the company needed a system that would accommodate this growth.

Michelle Strader, Vice-President – HR and Talent Services at Silverpop says: “Scalability was a big consideration for Silverpop in choosing a sales performance management solution. Flexibility to accommodate growth and change is a huge priority. IBM Cognos Incentive Compensation Management delivered.”

Silverpop also required a rapid deployment so that the regular course of its business would not be disrupted. Several vendors were evaluated, and it became apparent early in the selection process that IBM was the best choice to implement a solution to meet the given time-frame.

Happy, invested sales teams drive profits

Prior to IBM Cognos Incentive Compensation Management, managing Silverpop’s spreadsheet-based system was tedious and time-consuming. With the IBM solution, this has significantly improved. Before IBM Cognos Incentive Compensation Management, the calculation of payouts took two weeks to complete from compilation to vetting, but now that same process takes only four days.

One of the greatest shortfalls of the previous system was that the sales team had little to no access to compensation data. IBM Cognos Incentive Compensation Management, on the other hand, offers payees 24/7 access and enhanced visibility to review their compensation.

Kelli Kellar, Vice-President-Controller at Silverpop, says: “The feedback that we have received from our sales team has been overwhelmingly positive. Before IBM Cognos Incentive Compensation Management, it was a very manual process. If there were any inquiries around commissions, the resolution could not be addressed immediately. This processes impacted calculations and tabulations for planning the next quarter’s targets.

“With the automation IBM Cognos Incentive Compensation Management provides, the sales team can now review their compensation in real-time and launch an immediate inquiry which can then be investigated. With IBM Cognos Incentive Compensation Management, this process is much faster and does not create disruption.”

Seamless automation and consolidation of data

Silverpop was pulling sales data from several different sources and needed a solution that would offer flexibility to change compensation plans without a complete overhaul of the existing system. Not only did IBM Cognos Incentive Compensation Management provide a single centralized and automated system, but it also offered direct integration with

The integration allows opportunity data and customer information to be pulled daily from into IBM Cognos Incentive Compensation Management, providing the sales team with updates on their closed opportunities and commissions. In addition, with Cognos Incentive Compensation Management being accessed solely through the process provides a smoother and simpler experience.

By consolidating its data in one place, Silverpop was able to speed up the payout process and generate more sophisticated analytics. “I can honestly say, in the six months since we deployed IBM Cognos Incentive Compensation Management, we are very pleased,” says Kellar.

“At Silverpop, we have rolled out many other software selections, and this has been one of our most successful. The IBM team was extremely responsive, the deployment was quick and the customer service has been great.”

About IBM Business Analytics

IBM Business Analytics software delivers data-driven insights that help organizations work smarter and outperform their peers. This comprehensive portfolio includes solutions for business intelligence, predictive analytics and decision management, performance management, and risk management.

Business Analytics solutions enable companies to identify and visualize trends and patterns in areas, such as customer analytics, that can have a profound effect on business performance. They can compare scenarios, anticipate potential threats and opportunities, better plan, budget and forecast resources, balance risks against expected returns and work to meet regulatory requirements. By making analytics widely available, organizations can align tactical and strategic decision-making to achieve business goals.

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Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Cognos Incentive Compensation Management

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States February 2013 IBM, the IBM logo,, and Cognos are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. The client is responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations applicable to it. IBM does not provide legal advice or represent or warrant that its services or products will ensure that the client is in compliance with any law or regulation.