The Carrot

Risk vs. Reward

Posted by Mike Martin on Tue, Oct, 06, 2015

Payout ranges for a team of managers came up during a recent discussion of mine with a sales compensation director who oversees the compensation plans for about 5,000 sales reps. The idea of risk versus reward arose, as it always does. Most of the time, however, risk versus reward is focused on the top performers versus the bottom performers:

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Topics: incentives, ZS Associates, rewards, Sales Managers, ZS, Mike Martin, performance, sales team, risk

What Is the Most Important Question to Ask About Your Sales Compensation Plan?

Posted by Mike Martin on Tue, Sep, 29, 2015

This time of year, many companies are thinking about their sales compensation plan design for next year. The design process often involves a number of internal discussions and some feedback from field managers or sales reps. There are a number of questions that compensation groups will ask during this process:

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, ZS, Sales Force, Mike Martin, sales compensation design, question, planning

Why Daniel Pink Is Wrong About Sales Compensation

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Tue, Sep, 22, 2015

Much has been made recently about the importance of intrinsic incentives. Some have even suggested that the best motivational model has no extrinsic incentives and relies purely on intrinsic motivation. One book in particular, Daniel Pink’s 2009 Drive, has been widely credited with initiating the intrinsic versus extrinsic dialogue, or at least raising the volume on the conversation.

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Topics: sales, ZS Associates, motivation, intrinsic incentives, extrinsic incentives, ZS, Chad Albrecht, compensation, Daniel Pink

Why You Need Incentives for Salespeople

Posted by Mike Martin on Mon, Aug, 24, 2015

Leaving a sales compensation design meeting the other day, I ran into an old friend. We took a few moments to catch up and the topic of my meeting arose. We were planning for a market event, I told her, and discussing how to adjust the compensation plan. Her reaction surprised me: “I think we should get rid of the bonus program and pay 100% on salary. It would be simpler to understand, and the team could focus on the national forecast.” Disagreeing immediately, I shared a few counterpoints that showed the value of having a sales compensation plan. I assume readers of this blog also receive this opinion occasionally, so I wanted to share my response.

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Topics: incentives, sales compensation, ZS Associates, motivation, Incentive compensation, ZS, Mike Martin, salespeople, salary

What if James Harrison Was Your VP of Sales?

Posted by Steve Marley on Fri, Aug, 21, 2015

I read an article recently that quoted James Harrison, an outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, an American football team in the NFL. Linebacker is a central defensive position responsible for hitting and tackling a wide variety of the offense’s players.Harrison is well known in the league and has accrued around $150,000 in fines over the past five years for hits that were deemed late or unnecessary. Whether you think Harrison is “aggressive” or “dirty,” at his prime he was a feared defender. He is an intimidating man. 

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Topics: sales compensation, sales, ZS Associates, ZS, Steve Marley, sales comp

Three Tips to Help You Build a Sales Contest for Maximum Impact

Posted by Steve Marley on Fri, Jul, 24, 2015

Mike Ahearne and Thomas Steenburgh recently published an article that described techniques to help maximize organizational sales by moving the largest group of sales people – the “Core Performers” – to higher levels of performance.

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Topics: incentives, ZS Associates, motivation, ZS, Steve Marley, compensation, SPIFs, contests, top performers

Should You Include a National Kicker in Your Bonus Plan?

Posted by Mike Martin on Fri, Jul, 17, 2015

Many companies will attempt to boost sales by adding a national kicker to the bonus plan. The most common kickers are constructed one of two ways:

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Topics: sales compensation plan, ZS Associates, ZS, Mike Martin, compensation, National Kicker, kickers

How Much Does Money Matter to Get a Rep’s Attention for a Short-term Promotion?

Posted by Mike Martin on Tue, Jun, 23, 2015

Last week, the U.S. Treasury announced that it will be changing the face on the $10 bill to include a woman. This exciting news reminded me of some recent trivia I looked up regarding the $1,000 bill. Did you know that Grover Cleveland is on $1,000 bills and that they were pulled from circulation back in the 1960s?

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, motivation, ZS, Mike Martin, SPIFs

Two Questions You Should Be Asking Your Sales Force About Their Goals

Posted by Mike Martin on Fri, Jun, 05, 2015

As summer kicks off, I can’t help but look ahead to the early fall sales compensation plan design season. I am in no rush to get there, but thinking ahead does nicely remind us that now is the time to collect feedback from the sales force on the current incentive program and goals. Over time, I have found that getting answers to just two questions can provide a wealth of feedback into what should be refined, added or removed from the goal-setting process.

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Topics: sales compensation, sales, ZS Associates, motivation, ZS, Sales Force, incentive plan, Mike Martin, sales team, goals

Should You Pay Your Salespeople on Profit?

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Mon, May, 18, 2015

In a recent webinar on sales compensation, we polled the audience, asking about the biggest issues facing sales compensation professionals today. Out of several hundred responses, consideration of moving the sales force away from revenue toward paying on profit was one of the top issues faced by more than four in 10 participants. In this post, we will help you think through whether you should consider shifting the metric in your incentive plan to pay on profit.

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Topics: sales compensation, sales, ZS Associates, ZS, Sales Force, incentive plan, Chad Albrecht, sales team, profit, revenue

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