Show me the Money!!

Show me The Money

One reason that sales as a career attracts many people is the money! They come there cause it’s possibly the most glamorous way to make Money..the incentives are attractive and the perks sometimes jaw dropping.

I do hope more people stay in sales because they eventually start loving the impact they create and not just the money but the money for sure is a great pull to attract people into the career.

Recently I have started to focus my energies to work with small to midsize businesses instead of the large corporations I used to work with in the past. Almost always I see a really big gap in the sales incentive programs and even more broadly the sales compensation programs.

I don’t want to step on the toes of HR here but I do want to share a few things I have realized as a seller and sales leader that are important to consider. Here is sales management 101 for you. 

  1. Keep it simple, simple to the level of dumb! Don’t take this otherwise but please note no seller is motivated by an incentive they have to calculate. So keep this as simple as you possibly can. Even if you need to give a little less or more to build simple calculations, I would recommend doing it. The seller needs to know how much money they can make and when they will get paid as simply as they can. So if they have to use fancy trackers to come up with the number, very likely they are just going to ignore the amount.
  2. Incentivize the sales behavior you need to see. Consider your sales objectives. Review what behaviors will enable the activity that can drive the achievement of the sales objectives. If you want to increase wallet share by upsell and cross-sell, don’t just give an incentive on revenue quota, break it down to ensure up-sell and cross-sell is captured and incentivized.
  3. Don’t starve the eagles to feed your chickens! Eagles here are the metaphor for your high flying sellers who get the big prey. A lot of business owners are scared of the eagles and I have seen incentive programs that are friendly for below average or average sellers but don’t really motivate the overachievers. By doing this you are pushing the team to mediocrity. I see this even more where there is a diverse team, with some really seasoned sellers and some newer / younger ones. Remember Pareto’s principle 20% of your sellers will get you 80% of the business.
  4. Don’t Delay the payouts. I understand that the payouts need to be linked to business revenue realized and that make commercial sense. However if the seller cannot control that activity in any way, most of them then treat the incentive as just a bonus ( I may get it). That’s not motivating at all. Give it to them as much as you can and if required bring in a claw back option. Remember we are motivated more by loss aversion than by possible gain.
  5. Make the Scoreboard visible. Transparency is key in sales incentives. Sellers are competitive and knowing where they are on the scoreboard helps. Also the $$$ against the name creates a strong visualization of the money in the pocket for everyone.

The above points are not rocket science but still do go a long way in building an effective sales incentive program. A sales incentive program should motivate the sellers to deliver results you need that may be tough to accomplish if you did not incentivize it.

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