It may not always be easy to pinpoint exactly how or why your comp plans haven’t worked. But it is easy to spot the negative results: Clients become unhappy, sales costs skyrocket, and your profits plummet.
Luckily, we know how you can do better. Xactly recently teamed up with SalesOpShop to help create an episode for their presentation series, The Future of Sales™. Together, we figured out the 5 sales comp mistakes organizations commonly make.
Said fast: They’re using an outdated process in which they’re rewarding individuals for non-productive actions 9-18 months too late using the wrong incentive.
Now say that five times fast.
If the objective of comp is to drive the right behavior, sales organizations need to stop making these mistakes – yesterday.
That being said, here are the 5 things you shouldn’t be doing with your sales compensation plans:
1. Use an outdated process
Typically, sales organizations will build a plan that’s that’s focused around selfish, outdated sales activities — ones that benefit a sales rep and a rep only. Your teams should focus rather on the clients experience. After all, you can’t sell to a customer who is being treated like he’s just another quota.
2. Compensate against outdated metrics
Your sales reps have just back from a trade show with 50 new leads. Hooray! Here’s the thing: They might all come back cold—and if you still reward that rep for those 50 leads, you’re compensating against horrible metrics. It’s a waste of time, and worse: you’re encouraging this behavior. Who’s to say your rep will come back with any quality leads, so long as he’s got more than X amount?
3. Don’t reward key contributors that impact client success
For example, you might only compensate your Hunters, rather than reward the entire team. Right off the bat, this is a huge mistake. Your Hunters may be the ones who close the sales, but they would be nowhere without your Prospectors — the team who finds those quality leads and keep the pipeline full. Any given deal can incorporate more than one person; so make sure you’re compensating everyone individually and fairly, to the amount that they’ve contributed to that deal being closed.
4. Compensate too late to affect change
You reward 9-18 months late, rather than the moment a team performs. When something major is accomplished, like a rep being recognized by a client as a trusted advisor, why wait to reward them? Research tells us that the longer you wait to compensate your team, the less likely they’ll want to perform. Or show up in the office. (Source: “Your New Year’s Resolution: Carbs, Candy, & Compensation”)
5. Only use financial incentives
Want the bottom line? Money ain’t everything. Dan Pink once said, “Just using financial incentives creates a focus that adversely impacts (B2B sales) performance.” Instead, focus on these three factors:
Autonomy – Freedom to work anywhere, anytime
Mastery – Paid professional memberships
Purpose – Pursuit of your own ideas 1-2 days/month (much like Google’s 20 percent time policy)
Surprisingly, financial incentives won’t always motivate us to do better. But when you offer an intrinsic component to the game, you win. (From: Ted Talks, “Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation”)
Take the time and review these common sales comp pains. Whether you’re suffering from all five, or just one, ask yourself: Am I solving these issues the easy way, or the right way? Above all, SalesOpShop urges you to keep it simple. The results: Shortened sales cycles, increase winning chances, improved client satisfaction and job security.
Want to know the future of sales compensation? Head over to SalesOpShop and see for yourself.
—Erik Charles is Xactly’s Principal Incentives Strategist.