As Aaron Ross developed one of Salesforce.com’s most successful teams, he faced many of common challenges of sales managers – including complaints about the compensation.
Here’s a portion of his story from the new book Predictable Revenue (check out it on Amazon) on earning sales comp buy-in:
Engage The Whole Team In Designing Their Compensation
The complaints were a little varied but ultimately came down to the fact that I hadn’t taken enough time to educate some of the newer sales reps on why we had that system.
Rather than even telling them why it was designed that way, I instead set up a process to get the team’s help to revisit and redesign the comp plan. Out of about 15 people at the time, 5 opted to help.
We had one main session to dig into the issue, to review the team’s priorities and goals (identified through the V2MOM process), and to create forum for them to share their ideas on how to better shape the comp plan to support the goals.
After a couple of hours of discussion, which included revising even the basic assumptions surrounding how we measured performance and success, and if we should use different metrics, the team came to the conclusion that the current comp plan was the best one to use.
Rather than just telling them why the comp plan evolved into its current form, I led them through their own discovery process. They “got it” and the complaints stopped. Even better, they could be much more effective in teaching other team members or new hires about the comp plan so these frustrations didn’t pop again with the next generation of new team members. We ended up in the same place we began: the comp plan didn’t change. One could feel like we wasted time, but I felt it was a fantastic use of time as a coaching exercise and as a way to increase trust and transparency in the team. The reps felt more connected to the team and the systems because they now understood more intimately where everything came from and why – they owned it.
My only disappointment was that I had hoped they would come up with something I had missed so we could improve the plan.
Aaron Ross is an author, speaker, and managing Director of Predictable Revenue, Inc., which helps companies multiply sales. He is also CEO of PebbleStorm, Inc. Find his newest book Predictable Revenue on Amazon.
About this series: We are proud to present sections of Predictable Revenue. For more about the series, check out our Q&A with Aaron.