We talked to David Marshall of Performio about its sales commission software and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
David Marshall: Good to spend a lot of time at home with the family this year – the kids are over it now – time to cut loose.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Performio.
David Marshall: I worked in Telcos for the first decade of my career, focusing mostly on sales and sales operations. I noticed that sales commission programs were hopelessly complicated and under-served by existing software solutions in the market. Because of the frustrations I experienced, I started consulting and building software solutions to better serve the sales commission process. Over a number of years, I got to the point where I could create a proper software company, which became Performio.
How does Performio innovate?
David Marshall: We spend a lot of time with customers observing their pain points, and based on this first-hand knowledge, we develop features and functionality that will better solve these challenges. Perhaps that’s not true innovation, but the process accumulates over time to develop something that is uniquely useful for a reasonably large cohort of users – that is, innovation.
We have also invested in feature development, where we have gone out on a limb and aimed to build something unique and new to solve a problem. For example, we developed a workflow capability that was inspired by messaging apps – rather than developing a traditional workflow solution.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?
David Marshall: Initially, there was a hit in March/April where business seemed to come to a standstill for a few weeks there. But subsequently, we have had a very successful year. I think we are fortunate to be operating in the SaaS marketplace for productivity tools – they can only benefit from the drive towards remote work and the digital economy.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
David Marshall: When you bootstrap a company and rely on business cash flow to fund growth – that enforces tough choices every day. You need to operate very leanly. It also rules out a lot of options. There’s a downside to that, but also a benefit in not having to spend time considering those options!
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you protect yourself and Performio in the future?
David Marshall: I always made sure I stuck with a regular exercise schedule – at least one hard workout (run, bike, gym) every two days. That kept the stress levels down to a manageable level. Anxiety and worry about business problems are different. I often dealt with this by dealing with issues that needed to be dealt with ‘today.’ Big issues that could wait – I ‘parked’ them and focused on them when I had to. Sometimes that led to procrastination – but it worked well in most cases to keep me sane.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
David Marshall: Xactly, Callidus, Varicent are competitive in our space, but they are legacy players and have been around a long time in the market.
We stay in the game by striving to be more modern and easy to use that can get enterprises up and running quickly. We do this by continuing to develop our amazing product that is changing the game for Enterprise level sales and finance orgs.
Your final thoughts?
David Marshall: Keep things in perspective. It’s business, but not the end of the world.
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