I speak with a lot of salespeople every week. Many are from the payments industry or the payroll space, but almost every industry has been represented in the past year.
I’m shocked at how often companies change the comp plans of their outside sales force!
Even worse is the ones that maybe don’t change the comp plan, but use 2 sneaky tools to take money from their sales teams’ pockets (I explain each at the end of this).
Here are 5 signs you need a new comp plan (or new employer)
The Moving Carrot
There are few things more exciting than not just meeting sales targets, but smashing them. If your company takes your stand-out performance and tacks on more and more for you to hit your bonus or randomly changes your quota, it might be time to consider a change.
The Comp Plan is more confusing than folding a fitted sheet
When your plan is confusing or worse rewards contradicting behaviors, it should probably be tossed out. I’ve seen plans where the best thing for the reps earning potential is for all of their accounts to go to a competitor after a few months or they have five different criteria to hit to get an accelerator on a sixth criteria. Isn’t sales hard enough?
Floors and Ceilings
No commission until you are at 90% of plan or no commission past a certain dollar amount? That’s a plan written for, yep, you guessed it, average performers. The rock stars get capped to pay the salaries of the under-performers.
Working your tail off every single day for the elusive quarterly or worse yet, yearly bonus is frustrating. It’s hard to stay focused on a target that is SO far away. It’s just not as satisfying to wait 180 days. I like getting my rewards FAST.
You need a calculator and Stephen Hawking to figure out your commission payout
I’ve hired reps that got paid a commission on revenue, but they could never figure out how their company actually calculated revenue. They got a percentage of “margin” but no one told them what the cost was to determine the margin. When you can’t easily calculate exactly what you make on each customer you bring in, seek out some transparency from another company.
Those five are bad enough, but here’s the SNEAKY stuff. This is the stuff that KILLS high-performing sales professionals.
You can only sell in a certain vertical or you can only sell one product
I left a company because of this. I sold payroll and credit card processing and for some reason, they took payroll away from me. We have had reps who were incredible sales professionals have to pass on a deal because it was a retail store and they were only supposed to work restaurants. Channel your inner Braveheart! Shout FREEDOM at the top of your lungs as you walk out the door!
And here’s the sneakiest of all…
Saturation & inside competition
When your company or your sales leader hires someone in your backyard, assuming you’re putting up solid numbers, it’s going to be harder for you to sell.
When your company focuses its investment on developing an inside sales force… guess what? You, as an outside sales pro, are going to compete not just for leads, but with people at your own company on who owns what lead.
What if inside sales logs a call to a prospect and two weeks later you stop in, strike up a great conversation, solve the problems, provide the solution, and close the deal? You’re going to have to fight to get paid on that deal. It will happen and the bigger the inside sales team and the more focus on the inside sales team from a leadership perspective, the more often you’ll run into it.
And finally, the last part of this… saturation.
When your company completely dominates your area, there isn’t a ton of upside potential. I worked with a wonderful woman from TD Bank. Her bonus was based on hitting a complicated algorithm of “bank bucks”. Most of that came from new deposit and loan accounts. The only problem was that they already had almost 90% market share in the area!