X-Factor Compensation Leaders: How to Be Incredible at Incentive Planning (IHG)
Incentive compensation planning carries an incredible amount of responsibility and ultimately, plays a large role in the success of a company. Employees tasked with the process are creating a plan that will motivate and encourage the right sales behaviors to achieve goals, all while driving growth.
Finding the right mix of incentives, driving sales behaviors that align with company goals, and staying within budget is never easy, but luckily, compensation planning can be simplified and doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. As part of our Friends of Xactly (FOX) Community, we’ve spoken with sales compensation leaders to create a blog series about their journeys in sales compensation, best practices, and the Xactly advantage.
Meet The Expert – Malika Terry, IHG
Who: Malika Terry
Position: Director, Compensation and Benefits
Company: IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group)
Time in sales compensation: 7 Years in Sales Compensation; Over 15 Years in Compensation & Benefits
Bio: Malika is the Director, Americas Region Compensation and Benefits for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). Responsible for the planning and administration of compensation and benefits programs for America’s Hotel and Corporate employees to include United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
She received her Master’s degree in Business Administration with a major in International Business from Mercer University and an undergraduate degree in Social Work from The University of Georgia. She is a Certified Compensation Professional and an active member of several Professional Organizations such as The Society of Human Resources (SHRM) (www.shrm.org) , WorldatWork (www.worldatwork.org), The Atlanta Area of Compensation Association (www.aaca.net), and Southeastern Benefits Education Network (www.sben.org).
In addition to her commitment to professional growth and community development, Malika enjoys spending time with her two daughters; traveling; entertaining family and friends; outdoor adventures; and watching college sports, especially the Georgia Bulldogs. She balances work and life successfully by carefully prioritizing family & friends, community involvement, work, and self.
IHG is a multinational hotels company headquartered in Denham, UK. They offer hotel reservations in 12 brands within their family, “spanning 5,000 hotels in nearly 100 territories and countries.” Below is our Q&A with Director of Compensation and Benefits, Malika Terry.
Tell us about your career journey in sales compensation. (How did you get your start? How did you end up where you are today?, etc.)
“My journey into Compensation and Benefits was influenced mostly by my love for data. Sales compensation is a part of the overall responsibility of my team; therefore, I journeyed into sales compensation as a natural part of the compensation life cycle.”
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role today?
“The biggest Sales Compensation challenge I face in my role is helping sales employees, managers, and HR partners understand the various sales incentive plans and which plans are associated with the various roles at IHG.”
How has technology played a role in your evolution as a sales compensation professional?
“Technology and especially the implementation of the Xactly Incent system has played a major role in the evolution of my role as a sales compensation professional. The IHG team is now able to spend less time on the administrative side and more time on the consulting and strategy execution side of sales compensation. HR Partners, employees, and managers have a better understanding of the sales incentive plans, and with technology, they have direct line of sight to the plan.”
Describe your company’s sales compensation planning process, your role in it, and how Xactly has changed this process (What is your favorite Xactly tip/trick that you’ve learned?).
“I am not involved [in] the entire process for sales compensation planning; however, my favorite Xactly tip/trick is plan modeling and forecasting. The planning team is able to model and determine the potential cost of the plan by inputting data and running reports. I love that this process is now simplified and quicker than our former excel modeling approach.”
What piece(s) of advice/lessons have you learned on your journey that you would share with your peers or younger self?
“Learn to network, especially if you are pursuing a career in sales compensation. It is important to know and understand the needs of all your key stakeholders. Learn how to speak “Finance,” “Sales Operations,” “HRIS/Payroll,” “Sales Operations,” etc.
Network inside and outside of your company and industry to learn more about best practices, practical application and how to incorporate the best approach into your company’s sales incentive plan. I personally reach out to my professional network by phone, email, text messages, Linkedin, message boards, etc. to discuss industry trends or to brainstorm.”
How do you envision the future of sales compensation? What do you anticipate for 2018 that was different for 2017?
“That’s a good question…and I’m eagerly waiting to see what 2018 holds for Sales Compensation.”
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Ultimate Guide to Sales Compensation Planning
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