Steve Cakebread, who recently left his job as president of on-demand CRM vendor Salesforce.com, has been appointed chief financial and administrative officer of Xactly, maker of software for managing sales representatives' compensation.
The privately held Xactly is a much smaller company than Salesforce, which has annual revenues in excess of US$1 billion.
But Cakebread's background sends clear signals about what Xactly -- which just made its first acquisition, scooping up main rival Centive -- is hoping to accomplish, said 451 Group analyst China Martens.
"In a nice market, you would think this is a company headed to an IPO," Martens said. "So it's very interesting they'd hire a guy who took Salesforce public and took Salesforce through acquisitions of increasing size."
Large enterprises have had sales performance management systems for a long time, but Xactly and its competitors, which also include Callidus, are targeting companies that have done this type of thing "on the back of a napkin," Martens said.
Cakebread is "a world-class CFO, and exactly the kind of guy we want to round out our management team as we prepare for explosive growth," said Karen Steele, vice president of marketing and business development at Xactly. "There is still an underserved part of the market that is still using spreadsheets to do what we do."
Xactly, based in San Jose, California, has already managed to score some high-profile customers, including PayPal and Pep Boys.
Its system manages areas such as incentive pay, sales quotas and territories, non-cash rewards, and the ability to analyze data related to completed sales -- such as which products were sold to whom through a particular channel.
The company also anticipates that large players like Oracle and Salesforce.com -- both of which are Xactly partners -- will stay out of Xactly's space for now. "It takes a lot of domain expertise, it's a tough problem to solve," Steele said.