Does Changing Compensation Increase Sales?

Back on Wednesday, I was part of a panel, along with Lee Salz, author of How to Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager and Mike McCue, editor in chief of Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, at the Incentive Marketing Association conference in Boston.

One of the attendees asked how she could change the compensation for her highly paid, salaried producers, in order to provide the incentive to sell more.

If that’s all it takes, getting salespeople to sell more would be easy!  One of the many areas we analyze when we evaluate sales organizations is to what degree the salespeople are motivated to earn more money.  In a sales force like hers, we would likely find that the salespeople are not very motivated to earn more money and would likely rebel if the compensation were changed to pay less in salary and more in commissions.  There are two important points to understand:

  1. If a higher risk – higher reward plan would excite them, they wouldn’t be working for this company in the first place.
  2. There is an enormous difference between wanting more money (“pay me more”) and being motivated to go out and earn more (what must I do to earn another $50,000 this year?”)

It all goes back to hiring the right people in the first place.  Salespeople who are looking for security will never be your top producers.