The Carrot

Is The Elf on the Shelf an Effective Incentive Plan for Kids?

Posted by Mike Martin on Thu, Dec, 18, 2014

Have you heard of Elf on the Shelf? My family has one. Becoming pretty popular, the 10-year-old tradition works like this: A family first buys an elf that will “appear” after Thanksgiving. Once named, the elf comes alive, but only at night. The elf does not move at all during the day, but as we tell our kids, he or she is always watching. At night, the elf flies back to the North Pole and reports to Santa on how the kids are behaving. The next morning, the elf returns to a new spot in the house to start the process all over again.

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Topics: ZS Associates, Incentive compensation, ZS, incentive plan, Mike Martin, compensation

Four Lessons on Team Sales Incentives From the Service Industry

Posted by Steve Marley on Fri, Dec, 12, 2014

I was having dinner with a colleague at a restaurant the other week, and I noticed something interesting that applies to sales incentives. Our server took our drink order and, shortly after, our food order. After she brought our food and drinks, and around halfway through the meal, another server stopped by our table and asked if she could get us anything else. After she left, my colleague and I both wondered what happened to our original server. Did her shift finish? Do we have a new server? Were two or more servers “sharing the floor”?

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, sales incentives, ZS, Steve Marley, sales people, service industry

What can Sales Compensation learn from the NFL fining Marshawn Lynch?

Posted by Mike Martin on Wed, Dec, 03, 2014

Marshawn Lynch is a star running back for the Seattle Seahawks who was recently in the news due to getting fined $100,000 for refusing to speak to the media after some football games in November. As expected, reactions to the fine were mixed. While Marshawn and his teammates did not think it was fair, the NFL supported the fine by referencing his contractual requirement to be available to the media. 

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, Incentive compensation, Sales Bonus, ZS, Mike Martin

Are You Giving Away Free Sales Incentive Pay?

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Mon, Dec, 01, 2014

Companies invest in creating incentive structures that motivate their sales force. However, when incentives are not driving incremental sales, they can lead to wasted money and lower sales force engagement. This can be especially damaging for companies with slimming margins that are trying to spend every incentive dollar efficiently.

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, Incentive plan design, Incentive compensation, ZS, Chad Albrecht, sales quota

Back to Basics: Two simple reasons to use an incentive compensation management solution

Posted by Steve Marley on Thu, Nov, 20, 2014

I was working with one of our software partners to describe the benefits of an Incentive Compensation Management (ICM) solution to a company that was interested in purchasing. After articulating the benefits of an automated software solution to help with the processing of performance, payouts, and reports, the company asked one simple question: How much money will it save us? Discussions stalled at that point.

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, Incentive plan design, Incentive compensation, incentive compensation management (ICM), ZS, Steve Marley, compensation administration

Would Sales leaders like MBOs more if we changed the name?

Posted by Mike Martin on Tue, Nov, 18, 2014

A couple times on this ZS blog I have written about Management by Objectives (MBOs), such as how to improve them by focusing on quality over quantity and using the IMPACT framework to create more impactful objectives.  However, I still find that the name “MBO” carries a lot of baggage.

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, Management by Objective, MBO, Incentive compensation, Sales Bonus, goal setting, ZS, Mike Martin

Back to Basics: How to Set Good Sales Quotas

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Tue, Oct, 21, 2014

In prior Back to Basics blog posts, we have walked through how to establish pay levels, pay mix, and the incentive plan design. But many plan designs are tied to performance vs. sales quotas and, as any salesperson will tell you, the plan design is only as good as the quota that goes with it.

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Topics: sales compensation, sales quotas, ZS Associates, Incentive plan design, Incentive compensation, ZS, Chad Albrecht, back to basics, quota settings

Back to Basics: Four Ways to Maximize Your Use of SPIFs and Contests

Posted by Steve Marley on Thu, Oct, 09, 2014

In a previous blog in this series, Chad wrote about sales compensation plan periods and noted that the majority of companies follow an annual performance period. I look at annual performance periods as akin to a long race, whether it’s a 5K run or the Indy 500.

Unlike shorter races – such as 100m or 200m dashes or an automotive drag race where you go full speed for a brief duration – longer races require strategy: when to pass, when to conserve energy, when to work with someone for mutual benefit or when to take a break (like a pit stop).

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Topics: sales compensation plan, sales compensation, ZS Associates, Incentive plan design, Incentive compensation, ZS, Steve Marley, SPIFs, sales contents, sales performance incentive funds

Back to Basics: Incentive Compensation Plan Periods and Payout Frequency

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Thu, Oct, 02, 2014

The majority of companies follow an annual incentive plan period for salespeople.  This is likely for multiple reasons.  First, executive compensation and broad-based compensation programs – two additional categories of compensation programs – are almost always annual.  For consistency, companies place salespeople on annual plans, as well.  Second, most companies have an annual business planning process and annual incentive compensation plans and goals tie in nicely with this planning process.

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Topics: sales compensation, sales quotas, ZS Associates, Incentive plan design, Incentive compensation, Sales Bonus, performance incentives, ZS, Inside Sales, Chad Albrecht, compensation administration

Back to Basics: Adding Accelerators or Decelerators to Your Incentive Compensation Plan’s Payout Formula

Posted by Mike Martin on Mon, Sep, 29, 2014

In the prior blog post, we described how to design your incentive compensation plan’s payout formula, and we briefly mentioned the concepts of accelerators and decelerators.  At a high level, accelerators are used to encourage increased performance and decelerators are used to safeguard against significant overpayments. 

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, Incentive compensation, goal setting, ZS, Mike Martin, pay-for-performance, sales quota, back to basics, accelerators, decelerators

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