5 Considerations to Design the Perfect Compensation Plan

Compensation is possibly the most important and the most contested part of the sales department.  Heads of sales, human resources, and finance often have different views of what is the optimal compensation structure.  While there are many ways to determine compensation, there are several factors that should be considered when designing your plan.

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Process or Talent? Which do you take?

That’s an easy one.  Process always trumps talent.

Before you get upset and start defending how talented your staff is and that you couldn’t generate the numbers that you do without them, imagine how much more productive they would be if you gave them leads that close at four times the normal rate?  Or if you have sales events for them to use that routinely lead to $100,000 days?

I’m not going to completely define what process should be in place, but I will say that as a sales manager, process always trumps talent. Here is why.

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Selling in a Tough Environment

Lets face it, most of us work in a difficult sales environment.  This doesn’t mean that we sell a bad product or work for a bad company/organization.  What it means is that we face fierce competition or work in an economy that is weak.  When unemployment is up, like it is in a lot of cities, it makes it very difficult to sell a product that can be labeled as a discretionary or “luxury” spend.  Put in competition for those discretionary dollars and you now face a difficult selling situation.

Given that we’re in these situations, it doesn’t make any sense to make it difficult to buy.  However, some of us still do that.  Status quo does not work in these situations.  So, whether you work for a team in the middle of a labor situation, work for a team that has no owner or an owner in financial distress, or you simply work for a team with a “rebuilding” product.  You can still put up league topping numbers if you create a low barrier to entry and sell your sellable assets.

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Make Informed Calls, Not Cold Calls

You are sitting at your desk making sales calls.   But now the computer is missing. A pile of 8 x 5 cards is stacked in front of you. Each card contains only a name, address and phone number.  Sliding your hand into your pocket for your cell phone, you find only lint. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over….into the Twilight Zone.

I don’t think any of us want to go back to the times of index cards and no computers.  How successful would be today if all you had was a name and number on a piece of paper?  Luckily for you, those days are over.

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New Year, New Goals

It’s now the end of January and you should have had time to reflect on your achievements from the past year.  If you’re still reflecting, now is the time to stop.  The top producers forget about the past and are always moving forward toward the future.  They are not content with past success or past earnings, they simply know that the revenue must keep coming in for them to earn commissions and eventually get promoted.

My new year’s advice is:  (more…)

Effort or Experience? If You Must Choose, Which One Do You Pick?

The ultimate question for managers.  Most want both, and if you can find a salesperson that does both, do whatever you can to keep that person forever.  However, many times it’s a struggle.  For one reason or another, experience leads to less effort and sales behaviors that have the potential of harming the department.

So I ask the question – How do you handle the experienced salesperson who can put up some numbers but doesn’t exude the principles and effort that you would like in your department?

Here is the rub.  Salespeople believe that as long as they are putting up numbers that everything is okay.  They believe that revenue dominates every other action that may be displayed.  To a certain point, they are correct, however, we all know that other actions are taken into consideration.

This situation can be defined in that age old saying “Risk vs Reward”.  How much do you value this salesperson’s production versus the potential damage that is being done to the department. (more…)

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