The Carrot

Discussing the Impact of the New Overtime Rules on Your Sales Bonuses

Posted by Brian Keating on Fri, May, 20, 2016

On May 18th, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that anyone earning less than $47,476 in salary is eligible for overtime, with a few exemptions. Inside sales teams are impacted and so are more than an estimated 90,000 sales managers, according to the DOL. This has implications on not only base pay but also non-discretionary bonus calculations. When someone earns overtime, the employee is eligible for an increase in base pay and a corresponding increase on bonuses/contest awards during the same period. 

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Brian Keating, department of labor, regulations, DOL, overtime laws, sales bonuses

The Maintenance Month: Why You Should Be Taking a Closer Look at Your Sales Comp Plan in May

Posted by Mike Martin on Wed, May, 11, 2016

For sales compensation managers, time can be measured by certain checkpoints: January is the time for rolling out the new sales compensation plan; For those companies looking for a new compensation system, May and June have user conferences

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Mike Martin, sales comp, the maintenance month, May

A Winning Hand: How to Stack the Deck to Ensure a Successful SPM Implementation

Posted by Steven Bebout on Mon, May, 09, 2016

A high level of excitement tends to surface when the request for funding to automate your organization’s sales compensation process is approved. The journey that culminates in approval of a sales performance management system can take months or years to complete. Many hours are spent researching technologies, reviewing Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Sales Performance Management, attending vendors’ user conferences, and discussing functionality with vendors’ sales reps. Although it’s fun to focus on the set of differentiating bells and whistles delivered by the solution that you selected, once the funding is secured, it’s imperative to focus on preparing for the implementation: identifying your implementation partner, completing mission-critical due diligence, constructing your internal team, and preparing for your implementation kickoff.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, implementation, sales performance management, winning hand, Steven Bebout, SPM

Rethinking Your Incentive Plan When the Rules of the Game Change

Posted by Brian Keating on Tue, May, 03, 2016

Companies in several industries are redesigning compensation plans due to regulatory intervention. Financial services firms, for example, are reacting to the April 6 U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) ruling that requires advisers working with investments that are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (think 401Ks and IRAs) to act as fiduciaries and put their customers’ best interests before their own. Even if advisers were already behaving in that manner, the ruling calls into question some of the commission-based incentive practices that are common in the industry.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, incentive plan, Brian Keating, department of labor, regulations, save your savings, government intervention

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

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