The Carrot

Sales Compensation Principles, Sports Contracts and Artemi Panarin

Posted by Steve Marley on Wed, Apr, 20, 2016

I was born in Canada, a lifelong (suffering) fan of the Toronto Maples Leafs hockey team. When I moved to Chicago to work with ZS, I had the good fortune of witnessing the growth of a perennial contender for the Stanley Cup in the Chicago Blackhawks. The NHL has salary caps, as do most professional sports leagues. Salary caps are put in place to ensure that large market teams do not simply “buy” championships or create competitive imbalances. It’s not a perfect system, but most people understand why caps are in place.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Steve Marley, sales comp, Hockey, Artemi Panarin, NHL, sports contracts, Blackhawks

Is Your Comp Plan Experiencing ‘Role-Creep’?

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Mon, Apr, 11, 2016

I’ve started to get more and more questions about whether roles that are on the “fringe” of selling should be on a sales incentive plan. This could include roles like sales assistants, sales operations roles and even marketing roles. This is almost surely due to the strong economy and salespeople receiving payouts well above what they were a few years ago. Those who see it firsthand but don’t actually participate in the sales incentive plan want a piece of the action, too.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, incentive plan, Chad Albrecht, sales plan, role creep

Is Your Comp Plan Driving Unethical Behavior?

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Thu, Apr, 07, 2016

I was recently working for a client who had gone through some tough times. The government had accused some in the sales department of deceptive practices that ended up cheating the company’s customers and lining the pockets of those same salespeople due to the structure of their incentive plan. This is not the first time that I’ve seen this happen. That led me to wonder, What is the role of the sales incentive plan as it relates to ethical behavior?

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Chad Albrecht, ethics, incentive plans, compensation plans, unethical behavior

NCAA Basketball, Cinderella Stories and Sales Contests

Posted by Mike Martin on Mon, Apr, 04, 2016

We’ve just completed the most exciting month for college basketball, with the victors of the NCAA tournament to be decided tonight. The Final Four is an impressive lot in and of itself. North Carolina, Oklahoma and Villanova all spent time ranked in the top 10 in the nation this year. They were 1 and 2 seeds, and were expected to vie for the championship. And then there’s Syracuse. The Orange were unranked coming into the tournament, had a losing streak in the few weeks prior and were seeded 10 in their region. Many people are wondering how they made it to the last four teams. It could be a lucky draw or maybe they’re playing well at the right time. Whatever the reason, they’re an unlikely participant, but I would argue that teams like Syracuse are what make the tournament great.

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Topics: ZS Associates, sales contests, ZS, Mike Martin, march madness, basket ball, top performers, syracuse, NCAA, underdog

Segmenting Your Sales Force: What Marketing Can Teach Sales About Incentives

Posted by Steve Marley on Thu, Mar, 31, 2016

Brian Thompson co-authored this blog post.

An average audience of almost 112 million people tuned in to watch the 2016 Super Bowl, according to Nielsen. In recent years, the hype leading up to the Super Bowl seems to be as much about the commercials as the game, itself. Reportedly, advertisers now have to pay $5 million for a 30-second TV spot and, for that amount, brands pull out all the stops. The cost is staggering: It equates to paying $167,000 for every one second of air time.

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Topics: ZS Associates, sales incentives, ZS, Steve Marley, segmentation, Brian Thompson, super bowl

Is Luck a Strategic Criterion in Sales Comp Plans' Design?

Posted by Brian Keating on Fri, Mar, 18, 2016

It’s well established that motivation decreases when the outcome of an activity is not in the salesperson’s control. Two salespeople with the same skills can exert the same amount of effort—and do the same things to control the outcome—and have very different results, seemingly because of luck. We, as sales compensation professionals, should simply remove luck from the equation, right?

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, lucky, Brian Keating, luck, sales plan design

Showcase Your Top Sales Reps Far and Wide

Posted by Mike Martin on Fri, Mar, 04, 2016

A lot of people I went to high school with have become involved with a company called Nerium International. It is a skin product company and looks to be doing well. The company takes people from various professions and recruits them in to be sales reps. It offers really nice rewards such as Lexus SUVs and big cardboard checks for top reps. These rewards are then highlighted over and over again on social media to show others not yet affiliated with the company how they, too, can attain similar success. The results are amazing. People see the posts from their friends and sign up to sell the products, and before you know it, the company is growing at an electric pace.

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Topics: ZS Associates, motivation, sales incentives, ZS, Mike Martin, top performers, Nerium, Recognition

Focus on the Process, Not the Plan

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Tue, Feb, 23, 2016

My colleague Mike Martin recently blogged about how so many companies aiming to create a simple sales incentive plan end up mired in complexity. I’d say that’s the biggest issue that companies face with their sales incentive plan these days. Go to any conference and speak with any sales comp professional and you’ll hear the same thing: Incentive plans are too complex for sales reps to understand. This has been the case for several years now.

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, quotas, sales incentive plan, ZS, Chad Albrecht, simplify, margin

How Do You Compensate Millennials?

Posted by Steve Marley on Fri, Feb, 19, 2016

In an interview with The Arizona Republic, the owner of the Phoenix Suns National Basketball Association team, Robert Sarver, called out one of his players, saying, “My whole view of the millennial culture is that they have a tough time dealing with setbacks, and Markieff Morris is the perfect example. He had a setback with his brother [who was traded from the team] in the offseason, and he can’t seem to recover from it.”

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, motivation, ZS, Steve Marley, millennials

Why Are Startup Companies Perceived to Have Better Incentives?

Posted by Mike Martin on Thu, Feb, 11, 2016

Over the past few months, I’ve had a few conversations with sales leads from Fortune 500 companies who are lamenting their lack of competitive advantage against new startups in their field. Concerns include: “Our company does a study every year on salary and the benchmarks say that we’re competitive, but something is still missing.” “I’ve been in interviews in which people will show me what other companies are offering. We can’t compete with that.” “It’s our top people I’m worrying about losing.”

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Topics: ZS Associates, sales incentives, ZS, Mike Martin, compensation, benchmarks, top performers, startup

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