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Sales Incentive Automation Saves Time, Money
An OUT OF THE BOX Consulting Case Study

Nimble Storage, innovators in cloud-based adaptive flash storage, faced a challenge that some might consider a good problem to have: high participation in the company’s sales incentive programs for channel partners and resellers.

Nimble sells on-premise and cloud-based adaptive flash storage via a channel sales model, selling through distributors and solution providers worldwide. Nimble’s innovative Adaptive Flash platform, based on proprietary data sciences methods, is the preferred storage platform for over 5,000 businesses and public sector agencies worldwide.

The problems
Capturing, managing, responding to and fulfilling all the sales incentive program claims and awards. Nimble needed to streamline and automate what was largely a manual (and therefore, time-consuming and error-prone) award claim process that took away from Nimble’s marketing team almost twenty hours of valuable time, every week.

The team at OUT OF THE BOX Consulting is a pleasure to work with. They were able to save us countless hours and frustration each month by fully automating our complex sales incentive process.

Judy Kent, Sr. Manager of Channel Marketing, Nimble Storage

Nimble Storage uses (SFDC) to manage its sales opportunities, but needed a way to more efficiently manage hundreds of sales incentive award (SPIFF) claims each month. Further, because Nimble’s customers, and sales partners, are located all around the globe, they needed a solution that could handle award distribution in a wide variety of locations (and their corresponding languages and currencies), as well as manage multiple programs that had varying durations and award types.

Reuven Shelef, President of OUT OF THE BOX Consulting (OOTB), said: “We had an excellent history with Nimble Storage, providing them with solutions for several years. This project was particularly complicated. It was a ‘McGuyver’ type project. We had to figure out how to do something that hadn’t been done before, and do it quickly.”

OOTB solved the problem by creating an application that is built natively on and as such, integrates fully and seamlessly into Nimble’s environment. The application automates the SPIFF claims submission, evaluation, processing and award distribution processes. The application saves Nimble both time and money, and eliminates all errors on claims. SPIFF claims management and response can now be handled in a fraction of the time it once took, with no errors. It also provides valuable data to help Nimble know which incentive programs are most effective, both in terms of regional participation and impact on sales and revenue.

Streamline the Incentive Process
Nimble offers a variety of SPIFFs every quarter for specific sales achievements, each designed to meet different marketing objectives. For example, they offer incentives for:

  • new customer acquisition
  • closing larger deals
  • pipeline growth

These incentive programs run simultaneously, for varying lengths of time, and generate hundreds of SPIFF claims each month. Judith Kent, senior manager of channel marketing for Nimble, turned to OUT OF THE BOX Consulting to find a solution that would streamline the SPIFF management process for her team.

Nimble had worked with the OUT OF THE BOX Consulting team on other projects, and Kent was confident that they could deliver a great solution that would streamline SPIFF claims processing and fulfillment.

Batch Processing Saves Time
“Until we created this application, Nimble would need to go through each award claim manually. It was a very time consuming, and error-prone task,”

Shelef explained. “Nimble used to spend as much as 30 minutes on each SPIFF claim. That claim processing now takes half a second, and is completely automated and error-free. Thirty minutes times thousands of SPIFF claims is a significant value. It saved Nimble thousands of hours of time, so the project had a very high ROI (return on investment) for Nimble Storage.”

“The system that OUT OF THE BOX Consulting created for us has a batch processing capability to run large volumes of claims and will auto-approve or deny claims, as needed,” Kent said.

The application eliminates the need for manual processing, cutting the time spent on SPIFF fulfillment by more than 80 percent.


  • On-demand reporting for point-in-time spiff expense forecasting
  • Error reduction
  • Multiple spiffs can be run concurrently with automation
  • Annual spiff expense report rollup at year end
  • Annual tax reporting for winners earning over $600/yr.
  • Automated claim status notifications

Improved Communication with Sales Reps
The application doesn’t just enhance the efficiency of the marketing staff at Nimble, but it also improves communication with Nimble’s Sales Reps.

“One of the best parts of the system we now have, is that Nimble Sales reps can see the disposition of incentive claims for each opportunity they are working as the claim object is visible to them,” Kent explained. “This allows them to inform their business partners of the disposition of their award status and soon, when Nimble rolls out the SFDC Partner Communities feature, partners will be able to access their deals in Nimble’s SFDC and see the status of their incentive claims in real time themselves. This system automatically and dramatically reduced the number of phone calls and emails we had to field to provide updates on claim awards. Improving this process significantly improves productivity as reps no longer spend time chasing down this information.”

The sophisticated application still allows Nimble complete control, however. “If data was incorrectly input into SFDC by a Nimble sales rep, or there are special circumstances around a sale that may not be documented in our core SDFC database, we have the ability to modify the claim evaluation result and account for sales field errors and omissions or delays of data entry,” Kent said.

A Customized Solution
Nimble needed its sales incentive application to blend automated processes with fields and forms that could be customized. OUT OF THE BOX Consulting’s solution includes template forms that can be customized, so that it blends seamlessly with the SFDC data to make sure sales personnel are qualified for and informed regarding the SPIFFs they request.

“Any business that provides sales incentive awards to their sales teams or their channel partners can streamline their operations and reduce time and labor with an automated sales incentive program,” Kent said. “This program designed by OUT OF THE BOX Consulting is tailored to Nimble’s sales process and SFDC environment, so it provides many features and enhancements that are not available from an ‘off-the-shelf’ sales incentive application.”

A Satisfied Customer
Nimble was delighted with the solution OUT OF THE BOX Consulting provided, and would highly
recommend them.

“The team has excellent business logic and application workflow design skills,” Kent said. “OOTB has the ability to anticipate workflow considerations that will impact our business. They are fast at making enhancements to the application as our needs change and have deep proficiency of They understand what capabilities are possible and how to streamline the applications. OOTB meets deadlines and communicates effectively throughout the process to show you various options of business paths to accommodate your desired workflows”, Kent added.

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