The Carrot

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

How Compensation Conferences Can Improve Your Sales Compensation Program

Posted by Steve Marley on Tue, May, 12, 2015

Late May is conference time for many sales compensation organizations and sales performance management software companies. At least six occur in a two-week period! If you are lucky, a vendor may sponsor your attendance or provide a free pass. Oftentimes, discounted registration fees are available. Even if your cost is discounted, attending a conference usually requires travel costs and the opportunity costs of time away from your daily tasks. So, what benefits will you receive by attending one (or more) of the upcoming conferences?

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Topics: sales compensation, sales, ZS Associates, ZS, Steve Marley, incentive plan, IBM, conferences, Xactly, Anaplan

Can Sales Compensation Design Benefit From Crowdsourcing?

Posted by Mike Martin on Thu, May, 07, 2015

Crowdsourcing is a technique whereby an organization publicizes a problem to the general public and solicits solution ideas, with a prize sometimes going to the best submission. Nonprofit and for-profit companies have crowdsourced for challenges such as the XPrize, which holds global challenges in categories like technology or life sciences and gives multimillion-dollar awards. Or the cultural statistics Web site FiveThirtyEight recently used crowdsourcing to solicit ideas for improving the NBA draft process.

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

Three Ways to Ensure Reps Understand Their Sales Compensation Plan

Posted by Mike Martin on Tue, Apr, 21, 2015

Over time, I have run into a few litmus tests that companies use to gauge the simplicity of their sales compensation plan communications:

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Topics: sales, ZS Associates, ZS, Sales Force, incentive plan, Mike Martin, sales team, communication plan

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