Sales Compensation Planning: Everything to Consider in 2019

Karrie Lucero
Karrie Lucero
In Incentive Compensation
Karrie Lucero is a Content Marketing Manager at Xactly. She earned marketing and journalism degrees from New Mexico State University and has experience in SEO, social media and inbound marketing.

The start of a new year comes with a new sales plan—and that means you must reassess your sales capacity needs, align and balance sales territories, and create a sales incentive plan that drives sales performance. Enter sales compensation planning.

The Importance of Sales Compensation Planning

Your sales compensation plan drives your company to reach its goals. Therefore, it’s important that your sales compensation planning drives the right sales behaviors and motivates reps to achieve and exceed their quota.

Your sales compensation planning (and resulting sales incentive plan) should consider the different parts of your compensation plan (e.g., pay mix, bonus vs. commission, commission rate, etc.). To help, here are 10 of our top how-to reads to guide your 2019 sales compensation planning—complete with sales compensation best practices, tips, and templates.

Download our "Ultimate Guide to Sales Compensation Planning" for incentive best practices and everything you need for a sales comp plan design project.

Understanding Pay Mix & Commission Structures

Read about the different types of sales rep compensation, different commission structures, and tips for paying different roles on your sales team.

1. What is Pay Mix in Sales Compensation?

To motivate reps, attract new talent, and keep top sales reps from leaving, your compensation must be competitive. Pay mix—the ratio of base salary to target incentives (aka commission) that your sales reps earn—is an important part of this. Discover how benchmarking against industry pay and performance data can help you create a strong pay mix for competitive sales compensation planning.

2. Sales Commission Structures: Which Model is Best for Reps?

Typical sales compensation plans are made up of two parts—a fixed base salary and variable commission. Setting the right sales commission rate structure helps motivate reps to achieve and maintain high performance (and can help encourage middle performers to improve). Learn more about the different types of sales commission structures.

3. How to Use a Tiered Commission Structure to Drive Sales

Tiered commission structures are one of the most common variable pay structures for sales reps. Under this pay structure, sales reps earn higher commission rates once they’ve hit a target amount of sales or percentage of quota (e.g., 6% up to $100,000 in sales, 9% up to $200,000 in sales). See how a tiered commission structure drives performance and motivates reps to meet and exceed quota.

4. What is Draw Against Commission in Sales?

Commissions are a large part of sales rep compensation. A draw against commissions guarantees pay for sales reps to motivate them to perform. These commission advances often work best for onboarding sales reps, who may or may not repay the commissions (depending on your compensation plan). Learn how a draw against commission can motivate reps and increase performance.

5. How to Design a Sales Manager Compensation Plan (With Examples)

Not all sales roles are created equal. Sales reps and managers have different responsibilities, and therefore, their compensation plans should be different. Discover best practices and templates for creating a sales manager sales compensation plan and how pay should differ by role.

Download our "Ultimate Guide to Sales Compensation Planning" for incentive best practices and everything you need for a sales comp plan design project.

Sales Compensation Planning Best Practices and ASC 606 (IFRS 15) Compliance Tips

Discover sales compensation planning best practices and templates, and learn how to transition and comply with the new revenue recognition standard, ASC 606 (IFRS 15).

6. How to Develop a Sales Incentive Compensation Plan (with Templates)

Strong sales incentive compensation plans motivate sales reps and are competitive compared to your industry peers. Learn how to design a sales incentive compensation plan that drives the right sales behaviors, and use templates to tailor your incentives by sales role.

7. 5 Tips for Designing Successful Sales Incentive Compensation Plans

Your sales compensation planning requires more than just incentives to be successful. Ensure your compensation plan is the best it can be with these tips from Xactly CEO, Chris Cabrera. Discover the importance of incentive design, knowing your sales team, and tracking the right metrics to design successful sales incentive compensation plans.

8. Accounting for Sales Commissions

ASC 606 (IFRS 15) is now in effect for all public and private companies, yet many companies are still transitioning to the new regulations. Learn the basics of ASC 606, how to transition to compliance, and best practices for accounting for sales commissions.

Motivating Sales Reps Beyond Incentive Compensation

Sales compensation is the main driver behind sales performance. But your sales compensation planning should include additional incentives and coaching tips that sales managers and leaders can use to motivate reps and keep them engaged.

9. 16 Sales Incentives to Keep Your Team Engaged and Motivated

Sales team morale can make or break performance. To keep on track towards company goals, sales managers and leaders need to keep sales reps engaged and motivated. One of the most popular methods are SPIFs—special performance incentive funds. Learn how additional sales incentives help keep your sale team engaged and motivated to hit their number.

10. Industry MBO Examples to Kickstart Your Sales Team Engagement

Management by Objectives (MBOs) encourage sales reps and provide a way for them to individually strengthen the sales organization as a whole. Discover the benefits of MBOs and use these industry MBO examples to guide your sales compensation planning.

Want to learn more? Download our 2018 Sales Compensation Administration Best Practices Survey for best practices and tips. Get your FREE copy today!


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Sales Compensation Planning: Everything to Consider in 2019

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