When to Participate in a Sales Compensation Plan Design Workshop

Jul 05, 2017
3 min read
Sales compensation plans require continuous analysis to be successful. Learn how a incentive planning workshop can help improve planning and performance.

At Xactly, we work with clients to ensure their plan designs are right for their business, focused on driving the right sales behaviors, and accurately balance risk and upside in the plans. Xactly’s plan design experts work with organizations to make sure their plans deliver solid value to their businesses – guaranteeing they get the most out of their compensation spend.

For organizations of more modest sizes, we have developed a workshop model to deliver great value through a more efficient process.

Should my organization participate in a compensation plan design training?

There are several reasons to choose Xactly’s Strategic Services for your plan design workshop. First, the workshop guarantees a fast return on your investment. Most sales compensation puzzles can be worked out in a day when it comes to smaller businesses. Next, Xactly can offer the right price to accommodate a smaller business, without needing to forego the consulting expertise and proprietary design tools that we highly value. Third, our design consulting is implementation-ready – it’s the only of its kind that guarantees plans recommended will work well with Xactly’s solutions. Finally, our customized design workshop guarantees your plans are built right for your specific business needs. Our do-it-yourself model ensures that you know how to adapt plans as business needs change in the future. 

How does it work?

A workshop engagement takes place in three phases. The first starts with an assessment, where we prepare to make the workshop day as effective as possible. A workshop phase is where all parties roll up their sleeves to get to the nitty-gritty of your plan details. Finally, a post-workshop phase includes adequate support to appease any possible questions or changes.

Assessment Phase

A strong start to the workshop begins with interviews with all key stakeholders in your business. This includes representatives from sales, sales ops, and finance - to make sure the objectives of all parties are clearly understood by your workshop team.

Together, the group will take a detailed tour through your current plan documents. Next, an audit of your plan health will be conducted, by analyzing the pay and performance history. This will be a granular combing of data including components like pay levels, pay mix, goal accuracy, and alignment of compensation costs with results. Using Xactly Insights™, our teams will review prevalent practices specific to your industry. At the summation of all this assessment, we’ll recommend plan adjustments.

Workshop Phase

Where the magic happens! To begin this phase, our team starts with an overview of sales compensation design principles, and the best practices our experts have come to find in their experience.

A great perk of our workshops - they can take place either in your offices, or via web meeting. After a thorough presentation of the findings from your plan’s assessment, your workshop team will explain the appropriate best practices related to your unique assessment. The workshop team will work with you to create a detailed compensation plan(s) for your team – exploring role definition, pay structure, and determining the right measure of sales successes to use for incentive delivery.

This includes working through the specific mechanics for your plan, including components like payout tables, and linkage among measures. The ending of the workshop should include a thorough list of next steps concerning modeling criteria, transition planning, communication planning, and plan administration.

Post-Workshop Phase

The support doesn’t stop following your workshop with the team. It’s possible that questions will come up, ideas will present themselves, and concerns about the plan designs may arise! Xactly will be available for follow-up meetings to address questions or concerns. If both parties agree to some changes, or new approaches, the appropriate next steps will be taken to ensure they are implemented successfully.


While we are huge proponents of sales compensation training opportunities, there are times when a workshop route is not enough. If an organization is on the larger size, has a complex sales organization, configures many compensation plans, or is looking to make a substantial change in direction, the workshop approach may need to be reassessed.

As always, Xactly will work with you to ensure the approach is best for your organization’s individual needs.

  • Incentive Compensation
Justin Lane
Justin Lane
Sr. Director, Strategic Services

Justin Lane is the Sr. Director of Strategic Services. He has experience helping companies develop best in class Incentive Compensation Management Strategies (sales and non-sales).