Security Innovation chooses ElevateHQ; switches to 0% payout errors

Security Innovation is an infosec company providing application security testing and training. Having been in business for more than 20 years, they needed to automate their commissions. And we helped out!

0% payout errors

4-week implementation

"After ElevateHQ, there have been 0 errors in calculating commissions. It's 100% accurate."

Devin Cavanaugh

Sr. Director of Finance and Accounting

Jane Nichols works as a wedding planner. She has a deep desire for love and a long-lasting, meaningful relationship.

She is also known for being a perpetual bridesmaid (A total of 27 weddings, to be exact!).

We know what you’re thinking… she must have 27 dresses [It’s a classic romantic comedy, in case you haven’t watched it already].

However, the tension in her little world is palpable.

Jane is repeatedly navigating the challenges of being a bridesmaid, all while secretly yearning for a wedding of her own.

Sounds chaotic? Because it should.

Now coming back to the real world, Security Innovation (SI) was facing something similar.

Except, instead of 27 dresses, they were juggling between 27 (or more) spreadsheets hoping to find their one true love i.e. a commission management tool to create a long-lasting and meaningful relationship.

This is the story of how ElevateHQ automated commission management for SI in just 30 days. SI is an infosec company providing application security testing and training. They currently have 10 different commission plans for roles like account executive (AE), business development representative (BDR), and customer success (CS) team members.


Security Innovation had long relied on Xactly, a well-known legacy commission system, for its commission management.

They had already automated the commission calculation process, but there were other issues. Xactly’s cluttered UI made implementing changes time-consuming and complex.

"“Umm… there was one time we wanted to change quotas mid-cycle, but it took 10 days to get it done. It felt like we were backed against a wall"

— Devin Cavanaugh, Sr. Director of Finance and Accounting

Faced with these challenges, SI shifted to using spreadsheets despite still being under contract with Xactly.

However, when their sales team continued to grow things became more complex. They soon realized that spreadsheets would be a stop-gap arrangement at best. At this point, SI started looking for a solution that was easy to use and offered best-in-class customer support.


ElevateHQ implemented SI’s commission plans in just 30 days. The entire commission process was seamlessly onboarded onto the ElevateHQ platform.

Having ElevateHQ allowed SI to tweak their comp plans on the fly, and also reduced delays in commission payouts.

The Commission Problem

At the core of SI's challenge lay its commission structure.

They had a total of 10 commission plans for AE, BDR, and CS roles. And these plans were itself very different from one another.

How so?

A BDR’s comp plan is solely dependent on meetings whereas an AE’s is based on deals and invoices. And the same for CS members.

Different plans = different data from different sources

This meant they had tons of data to deal with, commissions to calculate, and invoices to collect.

Sounds a lot like being on bridesmaid duty!

Moreover, the challenge grew because of the significant time gap between earnings and payouts.

What was this about?

Sales reps earned their commissions when deals closed.

However, they had to wait for the client invoice to be collected for their commission to be paid out.

Security Innovation had to combine data from two sources (CRM + Invoicing) before running the commission calculation.

Lastly, SI pays commissions in multiple currencies. They earn commissions in US Dollars (USD) but pay in British Pound Sterling (GBP) and Indian Rupees (INR).

So, every time they needed to make a payment, they had to manually convert the amount into the required currency.

Outdated UI and operational challenges

Security Innovation had been using Xactly to manage commissions.

While it automated all things commission management, it brought challenges related to its user interface and overall usability.

One notable issue was its inability to adapt to SI’s evolving commission structure.

They either had to rely on a dedicated developer or reach out to Xactly’s support team to make basic alterations like adjusting commission rates, modifying commission periods, or setting quotas.

These issues made commission management a real hassle for SI, hindering their ability to respond swiftly to incentive changes.

"The back and enter buttons don’t work and doing the simplest task requires a lot of clicks. It's kind of like using Windows XP."

— Devin Cavanaugh, Sr. Director of Finance and Accounting

Moreover, mapping deals to invoice collections within Xactly required excess time and extensive assistance from Xactly's support team – further delaying commission calculations and payouts.

What added to the nightmare was that setting up new commission plans needed specialized expertise from Xactly. The support was slow and came at a high cost, adding a financial burden to an already complicated process.

"So whenever we needed to tweak things like commission rates, commission periods, or quotas in Xactly, we had to jump through hoops. We were either bugging our in-house developer or contacting Xactly's support team. Simple stuff turned into a bit of a production, making commission management feel way more complicated than it should be."

— Devin Cavanaugh, Sr. Director of Finance and Accounting

The return to spreadsheets and its challenges

Frustrated with the limitations of Xactly, SI reverted to managing commissions using spreadsheets.

While spreadsheets offered some degree of control, they came with their own set of issues.

1. Complex data aggregation

Gathering and consolidating commission-related data across multiple spreadsheets was time-consuming and prone to errors. This complexity delayed commission calculations and introduced data accuracy risks.

2. Limited visibility to reps

Spreadsheets lacked real-time visibility for sales reps. They couldn't track commission progress, performance metrics, or earnings in real time. This limited transparency impacted motivation and limited their ability to address calculation discrepancies or errors promptly.

3. Constant back and forth

Without a centralized system, constant communication between sales teams and finance became the norm. Sales reps frequently reached out for commission updates, clarification, or dispute resolution.

This manual, time-sensitive communication burdened both sides, diverting focus from strategic tasks.

"By this point, I had lost count of how many times the sales team had to engage with us. The constant commission-related emails had started to drive me crazy."

— Devin Cavanaugh, Sr. Director of Finance and Accounting

Also, the amount of time and effort spent on commission management increased drastically.

Enter ElevateHQ

Security Innovation's journey with ElevateHQ was a transformative one. In just four weeks, ElevateHQ seamlessly automated the commission plans, swiftly bringing all reps on board.

Real-time visibility to reps

Previously, the commission process was plagued by delays.

Xactly, the former system struggled with real-time data synchronization and calculations, leaving reps waiting for commission updates for extended periods.

However, with ElevateHQ, the game changed entirely.

The platform's real-time synchronization now allows reps to monitor commission changes instantly.

No more waiting in the dark – with ElevateHQ, they can access to up-to-the-minute insights into their earnings.

"This real-time visibility isn't just a feature; it's a game-changer. It empowers our reps to stay on top of their commissions, performance metrics, and earnings, all in real time. It also gives the much-needed boost to our reps… allowing them to chase their next big target."

— Devin Cavanaugh, Sr. Director of Finance and Accounting

Commissions → Approvals → Payouts

Acknowledging commissions was a tedious (and frustrating) process. There’s a lot of back and forth which often leads to disputes and communication gaps.

But ElevateHQ wasn’t just going to be another run-off-the-mill commission tool.

We recognized the need for a smoother, more efficient approach.

ElevateHQ got Security Innovation up and running inside 4 weeks.

Automating commissions is one thing, but doing it the right way just ticks all the boxes.

And that is what the approval workflow did. It transformed SI’s communication landscape. It enabled them to establish clear channels of communication, and any disputes that arose were handled with proper workflows in place.

Earlier people would ask when they would get paid on deals, and sometimes they'd be surprised why their commissions didn't include certain deals.

While approvals allowed reps to see exactly which deals they were getting paid for, payouts helped them track when they would get paid.

To help you understand: At the end of each commission period, payslips are generated. However, it's only paid once approved by all stakeholders. Upon approval, it moves to payables, then only paid once the invoice comes through.

Sorta like clockwork!

This new system ensures that acknowledgment and dispute resolution are streamlined, creating a more transparent and efficient commission process for SI.

"One of the things I love about ElevateHQ is their approval workflows. From answering countless inquiries about when will their commissions be paid to now managing everything in just a few clicks."

— Devin Cavanagh, Sr. Director of Finance and Accounting

Additionally, ElevateHQ’s in-built currency conversion feature eliminated the need for manually converting the payout amount each time. Now all they need to do is add the rate for the required time period and ElevateHQ can convert it to GBP, INR, or any geography.

ElevateHQ's quick implementation not only solved all of SI’s problems but also provided a long-term solution. From BDRs to CSMs, everyone could rely on it for instant updates and collaboration.