The Carrot

From Housework to Sales Comp: Four Tips for Making Operational Improvements

Posted by Steve Marley on Thu, Nov, 03, 2016


Over the years, I’ve helped a number of companies successfully improve their sales compensation operations. I don’t know whether that type of work has spilled into my personal life or if I’m successful in this work because of my natural thought processes. Whichever came first, I now consider many things in everyday life in operational terms.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Steve Marley, sales comp, Sales operations, operations, sales comp administration

Can Incentive Programs Find Inspiration in Sports Contracts?

Posted by Steve Marley on Mon, Oct, 24, 2016

 

October is great month to be a sports fan in America: Hockey and basketball seasons are starting, baseball playoffs are in full swing and the football season—both professional and college—is well under way. Although it’s more common before the season starts, this is also a time when we hear a lot about player contracts. Contracts in professional sports are typically negotiated on three main components: the length of the contract, the guaranteed portion of the contract, and the incentives that allow the athlete to earn more money. Contracting decisions are made with two pieces of information: historical performance data and expectations of future performance.

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

When Bad Incentives Happen to Good People

Posted by Jason Huhn on Fri, Oct, 14, 2016


Many of us have heard about Wells Fargo’s phony account scandal by now in which the bank reportedly fired about 5,300 employees in its retail banking division over the past few years for creating more than two million fake accounts. These unauthorized ghost accounts were designed to inflate sales credit for Wells Fargo employees, helping them exceed quotas and earn more incentive dollars. It’s estimated that the fraudulent accounts generated about $2.6 million in fees at the expense of the bank’s customers, which the bank has agreed to repay.  

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, incentive plan, sales comp, ethics, Wells Fargo, Jason Huhn, compliancy

Rewards to Remember

Posted by Mike Martin on Wed, Oct, 12, 2016


Have you ever won a free trip, free concert tickets or free admission somewhere special? If so, I bet that you remember quite a bit about the experience. My mom and uncle still reminisce about their free childhood trips to Kennywood, a little amusement park outside of Pittsburgh, that my grandfather won in a work contest.

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Topics: incentives, ZS Associates, rewards, ZS, Mike Martin, sales comp, contests, ROI, cash

Four Tips for Measuring the Impact of Your Sales Contests

Posted by Mayank Gupta on Wed, Sep, 28, 2016


Many companies use contests to drive sales during lean periods, promote a product during competitor launches or expand their customer base. Investments in these contests range widely across companies and across industries. However, when it comes to measuring the impact of the contest on the business, not many companies have a structured approach. Most companies limit themselves to conducting a financial ROI analysis, rather than looking into other metrics that could suggest a positive impact even though the measured ROI may be negative. In the absence of such structured measurement data, the design of future contests would not be well-informed, leading to sub-optimal outcomes.

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Topics: ZS Associates, sales metrics, sales contests, ZS, SPIFF, Mayank Gupta

Four Steps to Consider if Your Sales Team Needs to be Paid Overtime

Posted by Brian Keating on Thu, Sep, 22, 2016


In a previous post, we reviewed the Department of Labor's new overtime rule and how it could affect inside sales teams. Yesterday, a bill was introduced in Congress (H.R. 6094) to require a delay of the effective date by six months, pushing it to June 1st, 2017. This will give organizations more time to adjust to the new rule, or for Congress to propose new changes to the rule. If your team may be affected and considered non-exempt, here are four considerations as you evaluate how to keep overtime costs down: 

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, ZS, Brian Keating, department of labor, overtime, overtime rule

How an Olympic Pool Demonstrates the Importance of Fairness

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Wed, Sep, 07, 2016


The Olympics are the pinnacle of sport. Stories of hard work, sacrifice, striving and achievement captivate us all.

Fairness is another key theme in sports, of course, and this year’s Russian doping story highlights the importance of fairness at the Olympics: Officials do their best to test everything and ensure that nobody has an unfair advantage due to illegal substances or other means. An individual’s effort and abilities should be the only elements that impact the final outcome.

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Topics: ZS Associates, fairness in sales compensation, ZS, Chad Albrecht, Olympics, fairness, swimming

What if the Problem Isn’t Sales Comp?

Posted by Mike Martin on Fri, Aug, 26, 2016


This may be blasphemous to even suggest on a blog dedicated to discussing how new sales compensation ideas and tips will help the industry optimize its field sales compensation plans, but what if the solution isn’t about sales comp at all? Recently, I had a chat with Ashish Vazirani, ZS’s high-tech industry lead, and I posed this exact question. Here’s the gist of our conversation: 

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Topics: Ashish Vazirani, ZS Associates, ZS, Mike Martin, sales comp

Don't Confuse 'Simple' With 'Understood'

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Thu, Aug, 18, 2016


In multiple incentive practices surveys that we’ve conducted over the last several years, the need for simplicity in the plan design has risen to the top three issues in every study. “My salespeople don’t understand the plan” and “My compensation plan is too complex” are oft-heard refrains.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Chad Albrecht, sales comp, simplify, complexity

Car Washes and Payout Curves: Part Two

Posted by Mike Martin on Thu, Jul, 28, 2016


A few weeks ago, I wrote about an interesting car wash study conducted by Joseph Nunes and Xavier Dreze in 2004 that focused on the threshold at which companies should start paying sales reps on performance. This week, I wanted to look at another aspect of the study that gives some insight into another part of the payout curve: how much to pay as a rep nears and then passes the goal.

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Topics: customer loyalty, ZS Associates, ZS, Mike Martin, sales comp, payout curves

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