7 min read

How much time does sales commission tool save?

Find out step-by-step how and how much time sales commission software saves compared to Excel and Google Sheets!

Jocelyn Jobert
Jocelyn Jobert
Sales @Qobra
June 20, 2023
How much time does sales commission tool save?

Often defined as an easy solution, Excel and Google Sheets are used by most companies as a tool for calculating and managing commissions. And with good reason: their popularity (750 million users worldwide) and free availability mean that they are generally implemented as standard.

However, these generalist tools are widely recognized by their various users (Sales Reps, Managers, Sales Operations, Finance, HR, etc.) as inadequate for calculating and managing commissions!

Unmotivating, unreliable, opaque, unsuitable for communication, complex, untraceable data... Excel and Google Sheets waste an inordinate amount of time for all the teams involved, and ultimately cause the company to lose performance and business!

As proof, according to a recent study by Qobra and Modjo on commissions in France, 61.9% of employees benefiting from commissions calculation and management software exceeded their targets in 2022, compared with just 30.1% of those using Excel or Google Sheets.

Beyond the performance generated, how and how much time does a specialized commission calculation and management tool save over Excel and Google Sheets?

In this article, Qobra's experts take you step-by-step through how and how much time specialized software saves compared to Excel and Google Sheets!

1. Calculating commissions

Sales reps data recovery (CRM)

The first step in calculating the amount of commissions to be paid out to each beneficiary is to gather all the sales reps' data. 

In order to calculate an employee's commissions, the company's variable compensation plan requires the following data:

  • Sales generated
  • The number of new customers signed
  • The commitment period for each customer
  • Sales volume
  • Etc.

In other words, a set of information usually contained inside a CRM!

However, to date, Excel or Google Sheets do not offer companies the possibility of connecting directly to their CRM to retrieve all their data, and therefore require manual import. In addition to generating a high risk of error, this maneuver wastes a considerable amount of time for the department in charge (Finance, HR, Sales rep, Operations, etc.).

"Excel was taking up an enormous amount of our time, whether in terms of retrieving the various pieces of information (quotas, shift changes, etc.) and readjusting all these elements, updating the Excel temple, having it validated by the manager and then communicating it to the teams."

Aude Cadiot, Revenue Operations Lead at Spendesk

In contrast, a commission calculation and management tool such as Qobra connects to all the CRM, data warehouses and ERPs on the market (Salesforce, Snowflake, Google BigQuery, PostgreSQL, Hubspot, etc.)! 

What's more, companies can always make manual adjustments directly within the tool if they wish to modify one or more sales reps.

Qobra integrations

Verification of commissions amounts

According to some studies, over 90% of Excel files contain errors!

"With Excel, there were unexplained differences between the theoretical commission amount and the actual amount. With Qobra, we were able to solve this problem." 

Vladimir Ionesco, Director of Global Sales Performance at Doctolib

The high probability of one or more calculation errors on commissions amounts means that companies have to check a whole range of data (calculation formulas, beneficiaries, etc.) for each new payment period. A very time-consuming task!

What's more, this task is very often performed a second time by the beneficiaries themselves! For fear of not being paid the right amount of commission, they recalculate it on their own. Depending on the size of the company, this can mean a considerable loss of time for the entire sales reps. For example, a company with 100 sales reps, each of whom spends 30 minutes a month recalculating their commissions, ultimately spends 600 hours a year not being used to generate business!

Commission calculation and management software such as Qobra detects any error in a calculation formula or amount and immediately reports it to the company. As mentioned above, beneficiaries of commissions also have access to the associated calculation formulas and amounts, so if they spot an error, they can report it directly to their manager on the platform.

"When a Sales person has questions about his or her commissions, instead of him or her and me taking time, the visibility we have on Qobra means we can get an answer almost instantaneously." 

Guillaume Call, Sales Rep at Partoo
Qobra platform error alert
"On the commission closing part, we've gone from five days to two days with Qobra."

Vladimir Ionesco, Director of Global Sales Performance at Doctolib

2. Commissions management

Setting up and modifying a commission plan

For a company with a single variable compensation model and fewer than 10 sales reps, it's still possible to create and modify commissions plans in Excel or Google Sheets without spending too much time on it.

On the other hand, for a company with more than 10 sales reps and/or several commissions plans and/or different types of employee, this requires a considerable amount of time! And for good reason: you have to make sure that all employees have the commission plan allocated to them, and this for each new payment period, but also when there are changes to the variable compensation models. 

Excel and Google Sheets don't allow teams to be agile in managing their commission plan. Ultimately, the plan is not adapted to the sales rep's strategy, often resulting in a loss of revenue for the company.

For users of a solution like Qobra, this is child's play, since they only need to implement the commissions plans or desired modifications (commissions accelerators, caps, tiers, etc.) once, and the application is then made to all the intended beneficiaries.

"We have sales engineers, account managers, sales reps, everyone has slightly different plans but connected to each other. With Qobra, we can have different models that we reuse for the same positions, while being able to adjust a few small variables."

Tomas Hons, GTM Strategy & Operations Manager at Make

Inter-user communication

Excel and Google Sheets don't integrate any inter-user communication solutions, which makes commission management even more complex. Indeed, as we have seen, this is a topic that involves a large number of employees, with different roles and hierarchical levels. This generates a lot of back-and-forth (oral discussions, e-mails, internal messaging, etc.) and thus an additional mental burden and frustration within the various teams (Sales, HR, Finance, Operations, etc.).

To simplify communication between employees and managers and/or administrators, and to help them save time, Qobra offers its customers a chat functionality

In this way, each user can create discussions with one or more other users while linking one or more commissions statements. Specific exchanges and requests are centralized on a single page. As a bonus, this communication system can be directly linked to Slack or Microsoft Teams.

"Coordination between the sales team, managers and finance, and inevitably the Sales Ops team is much simpler with the feedback system, the exchange system directly on the Qobra tool, which saves us a lot of time at the end and closing of bonuses."

Paul Barret, Sales Ops at Glady

3. Commissions communication

Disseminating and sharing information

"With Excel, they actually had no real-time visibility.... This created a lack of confidence, a black box feeling."

Aude Cadiot, Revenue Operations Lead at Spendesk

Generally speaking, teams in charge of commissions using Excel or Google Sheets do not provide their employees with access to these documents. In fact, these documents are sent directly to the HR and payroll departments, without showing the people concerned the details of their commissions.

A lack of transparency leads to mistrust and frustration among sales reps, which unfortunately often translates into high turnover.

Inevitably, this also means a considerable loss of time for the teams in charge of commissions. This is because they have to devote time to answering employees' queries about their commissions.

Qobra users can consult all their commissions in full transparency, autonomy and detail (without being able to modify them). They also have access to their current and past commissions.

"Qobra allows us to have better tracking over time, not to accumulate historical errors and for each Sales rep to know the commissions he earned 3 months before, the month before, and to have visibility on everything."

Clément Bouillaud, Director of Operations at Partoo

Coordinating the commissions plan

Very often, commissions alone are not enough to drastically improve a company's sales rep performance

To this end, many companies regularly organize sales reps SPIFF as part of their commissions programs.

This task is often carried out by sales reps and/or Sales Operations managers. From the initial brainstorming to the final reporting and animation, the steps involved in implementing a sales rep SPIFF are numerous, complex and time-consuming. As a result, despite all the goodwill in the world, sales reps are often flops.

Characterized as a complete software package, Qobra's platform offers a feature for organizing sales reps quickly and easily. Managers and/or Sales Operations only need to decide amongst themselves on the rules, participants, objectives to be achieved and rewards!

Participants are then alerted (e-mails, notifications, Slack) in real time on the progress of results and the ranking of the best collaborators. At the end of each challenge, administrators receive a complete analysis of the results.

Qobra provides a real framework for SPIFF sales reps, and takes charge of their animation and maintenance.

Qobra SPIFF platform

4. Commissions follow-up

Data analysis and processing

Excel and Google Sheets are not tools originally configured to calculate and manage commissions. As a result, they don't offer any simple way of processing and analyzing all commission-related data. And yet it's vital to analyze the return on investment of commissions, which are one of the sales reps' biggest expenses.

It is therefore up to the teams in charge of the topic (Sales, Finance, HR, etc.) to analyze their commissions plans (rules, targets, amounts, bonus accelerators, etc.) and their relevance to improving the company's sales performance. A task that is often poorly carried out due to lack of time and specific skills.

"With Excel, there's a gray area that gets created where in fact you're not really sure that the commission model and bonus are being applied, which raises a real question of post performance versus motivation evaluation."

Vladimir Ionesco, Director of Global Sales Performance at Doctolib

With Qobra, companies receive personal support in setting up or reviewing their commissions plans, to ensure their relevance before deployment. Then, from the platform, companies can generate a 1-click report (key KPIs, team performance, amount of commissions, etc.), so they can then adjust their variable compensation plans in line with their ambitions.

"Before Qobra, there was a clear inability to fully track the link between performance and bonus, and therefore to make, and operate, the right operational and sales rep decisions."

Vladimir Ionesco, Director of Global Sales Performance at Doctolib

Commissions payments

As mentioned above, the management of commissions involves a number of company departments, including HR and Finance. Indeed, it is their responsibility to receive, verify and send to payroll the commissions paid to employees.

To simplify and secure this process, it is essential to establish a connection between commissions, HRIS and payroll software. This is not possible with Excel and Google Sheets, which require manual management, thus wasting a lot of time. Although commissions payments must be made as quickly as possible, as they are linked to a fixed, unchangeable date.

"Before Qobra, for 100% of the pay slips I received, I had this little reflex to check if the commissions were correct." 

Matthieu Saroli, Entreprise Account Executive at Didomi

By adopting software like Qobra, Finance and HR teams no longer have to worry about this task, since the tool links directly to the company's HRIS and payroll software. This automation still allows the company to make manual adjustments.

The last word...

Sales rep data recovery, automatic verification of commissions amounts, inter-user communication, data analysis and processing... As we've just seen, a commission calculation and management tool can help you save precious time in (very) many ways!

"That's about 5 to 6 days a month we save with Qobra compared to Excel."

Maximilien Jooris, Head of Revenue Operations at Agicap

As proof, depending on the size of the company and the complexity of its commissions plans, this can range from a few days a month to one or more people working full-time on the topic.

In other words, default tools such as Excel or Google Sheets quickly become obsolete when it comes to managing sales reps as the company grows.

By adopting specialized software such as Qobra, not only do companies save a considerable amount of time, which in turn enables them to be more efficient, but they also activate a powerful lever for attracting, motivating and retaining talent!

"We don't need someone who spends a whole month managing commissions. Qobra does it very efficiently for us. Now that we've brought a lot of transparency around commissions, including how it works, it really boosts the sales team's confidence, and it also boosts their motivation."

Fabian Q.Veit, CEO at Make

Many companies of different sizes and sectors (Spendesk, Doctolib, Make, Payfit, etc.) already rely on Qobra's teams to manage and calculate their employees' commissions!

Want to know more?

Our teams are at your disposal to help you manage your commissions plans.


Jocelyn Jobert
Jocelyn Jobert
Sales @Qobra
June 20, 2023