The Carrot

Is Your Sales Compensation Plan Pulling Your Top Reps Over for Speeding?

Posted by Brian Thompson on Wed, Nov, 18, 2015

We create sales incentive plans so reps drive as fast as possible to generate results—we want them driving for sales at 100 mph at all times. However, when we introduce caps and decelerators, we are effectively getting in a police car and putting up the flashing red and blue lights behind them. Instead of being fully rewarded, the sales reps feel like they have been pulled off the highway and issued a ticket with real out-of-pocket costs to them. As a result, we run the risk of frustrating and demotivating our top performers who are “driving the fastest.”

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Topics: incentives, sales compensation, ZS Associates, caps, ZS, accelerators, decelerators, Brian Thompson

A Goal Without a Plan Is Just a Wish

Posted by Mike Martin on Tue, Nov, 10, 2015

I was watching sports this weekend, supposedly taking a break from sales incentives, and one of the announcers shared the title quote: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” The quote really resonated with me, so I decided to do some quick research on it Monday morning.

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Topics: incentives, sales compensation, ZS Associates, ZS, Mike Martin, goals, The Little Prince, Quotes, Inspiration, Wish

Your Sales Comp Transition Plan Needs to Start Now

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Fri, Nov, 06, 2015

In the vast majority of organizations, over 80% of the sales incentive plan timeline is spent developing the plan, leaving less than 20% of the time to roll it out to the sales force. In more concrete terms, most organizations will budget around two to three months from start to finish for new sales compensation plans. Assuming a 12-week timeline, this means that 10 weeks will be spent on strategy development, data collection, plan designs, plan modeling, finalization and material content—and only two weeks will be spent developing the communication and training documents needed to roll out the plan to the sales force. 

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, ZS, Chad Albrecht, communication, Rollout

Motivating Beyond Money

Posted by Amol Joshi on Fri, Oct, 23, 2015

As father of a four-year-old toddler, I am always exposed to the world of incentives, even when I am not at work on sales force compensation. “Clean up your toys and I will get you some ice cream.” “Stop jumping on the sofa and I will show you another episode of Caillou” (a popular Canadian show about a toddler’s life).  As you can imagine, I am always very eager to learn more about the world of incentives, what motivates us and what drives engagement (and sometimes discipline!),

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, motivation, ZS, Acknowledgement, Amol Joshi, Dan Ariely

Why Promoting That Great Rep to Manager May Be a Mistake

Posted by Steve Marley on Thu, Oct, 15, 2015

The NHL hockey season is starting and, as a native Canadian living in Chicago (a hockey hotbed and the home of the current Stanley Cup champions, respectively), I believe—as many do—that the greatest hockey player ever was Wayne Gretzky. However, as a head coach of the Arizona Coyotes, Gretzky’s record was a modest 143 wins, 161 losses and 24 ties, for a 47.3% winning percentage. And Gretzky is not alone in this respect: many superstar athletes go on to coach teams, and the results are mixed. Clearly, excelling in the performance of a chosen sport does not mean one will excel in the coaching of that same sport. Of course, some former players do make successful coaches, and some “career” coaches are not successful, so there is no set formula for success.

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, ZS, Steve Marley, sales reps, Hockey, Promotion, Wayne Gretzky, Sales Manager

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

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