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Sales Team Roles and Responsibilities: How to Build Strategic Compensation Plans

May 23, 2022
3 min read
Compensation is one of the most important parts of your sales motivation and performance. Discover how you can tailor sales team incentives to each role to maximize their engagement and performance.

​Sales is a money-driven role. That’s why you have incentive compensation to motivate sales people to close deals and exceed their quota. But it’s about more than just offering reps money for every deal they close. If it were that easy, we’d never have to change our plans, adjust territories, or even worry about continued training.

Well-designed strategic compensation plans are unique to every company. Every sales team is structured differently, allowing you to customize compensation strategy to your specific needs—including each of the different sales roles on your team.

Strategic Compensation for Different Sales Team Roles

Your sales team is made up of a wide variety of resources. While they share the same overarching goals, they do not all share the same responsibilities.

Start your planning by looking at your different sales team roles and responsibilities. Typical sales roles include the Account Executive, Sales Development Rep, Sales Specialist, Customer Success Rep, and Sales Manager.

The Account Executive (The Closer)

Account executives (AE) are what you’d consider a traditional sales rep. They guide qualified prospects through the sales funnel with the ultimate goal of sealing the deal. Because of this, account executive roles have more impact on the outcome of a deal than any other role on the sales team.

As a result, their incentives should be centered around rewarding how quickly they can move deals through the sales cycle and ultimately closing them. This will ensure they are encouraged to continuously push deals as they work towards their quota.

Sales Development Rep (The Hunter)

Sales Development Reps (SDRs) have traditionally been called cold callers. They find new leads for account executives and are often the first point of contact a new potential customer has with your organization. SDRs source leads from a variety of places, building contact lists, and then reaching out to contacts to gauge their interest.

Because Sales development reps are primarily responsible for bringing in new business, they are not as closely involved with closing a final deal. They do, however, help qualify the best leads for AEs. Consider incentives that motivate SDRs to pass high-quality leads to AEs and also reward them for leads they brought in that later close.

Sales Specialist/Sales Consultant (The Expert)

Sales specialists, also known as sales consultants, support sales by presenting demos and developing proposals for potential customers. The more complex the sale, the more important it is to have a sales specialist present to help with any industry-specific questions and challenges that may arise. 

Sales specialists don't close deals, but they play an important part in the sales process. Consider different incentives depending on the challenge of the sale. For example, incentives may differ for an existing customer demo vs. a new prospect demo. 

Customer Success Rep (The Farmer)

When a sale is made, the Customer Success Reps focus on renewing that sale as well as up-selling and cross-selling current customers with different add-ons and product offerings. Your customer success team helps guarantee you aren’t losing ongoing revenue by tending to your current customers and reducing churn.

A well-built Customer Success Rep incentive plan will recognize the daily consultative outreach and up-selling activities that keep the Customer Success Rep harvesting.

The Sales Manager (The Leader)

Every sales team needs a leader, and the best sales teams rely on sales managers to keep them focused on the deals that matter. In addition to monitoring team performance, coaching is a critical responsibility for sales managers.

Because a large portion of sales manager responsibility lies in monitoring team success, they’ll likely have a higher base pay (salary) than the rest of your team. Their variable incentives should focus on rewarding them for their team's performance.

Moving Forward with Your Sales Team

When it comes to motivating your sales team, getting compensation right is essential. Without the right incentives, your sales performance suffers, and you run the risk of missing your revenue and growth targets.

Tailoring incentives to each role allows you to hone in on each position’s strengths. This allows you to motivate each person more effectively by basing their rewards around actions and metrics they can impact on a daily basis. This keeps your team motivated, engaged, and inspired to exceed your goals.

To learn more ways you can improve your incentive compensation, check out our guide “The Ultimate Guide to Sales Compensation Planning.”

  • Incentive Compensation
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The Xactly News Team reports on the latest product, events and market trends taking place within Xactly and throughout the revenue intelligence industry.