As companies grow and add to their product lines, there are some standard growing pains that occur. In this post, I want to respond to a great LinkedIn discussion going on right now about how to create incentive compensation plans to motivate a sales team for cross-selling. There’s no doubt there’s a battle between cross-selling and one-face-to-the-customer.
Say you have been successful selling one product line, and now have added another. You have a choice—train your sales team on the new product line, or develop a new team dedicated to that new area.
Lets go with the latter option—having two teams:
- Equity in compensation plans (Team A has it easier than Team B). This is standard, and can’t be avoided. Sales teams like to complain.
- Customers being called on by two different reps from your firm.
- Encouraging cross-selling.
By designing sufficient referral incentives, you can take care of the last two issues. Instead of having the new team cold-calling into existing customers, have them be introduced by the sales team that has already established a strong customer relationship.
This can be distracting, so they need an incentive. Offer a SPIF or even a small commission to help grease the wheels. Yes, it increases the cost of the sale; but it also makes the sale go faster, and will get you into more accounts. Finally, it can provide some early success stories for your new product line. Be careful that you do not put too much money into the referral commission, or your first sales team won’t be chasing the new deals.
What advice would you give?