Sales Compensation Changes Fail to Change Results

Dave Kurlan is a top-rated keynote speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and expert on all things sales and selling.

Deloitte conducted a sales compensation survey and identified many issues of common concern.  Some of the highlights are:

Not Happy with Effectiveness of the Plan – 40%

Incorrect Levels of Turnover – 69%

Too Much Complexity in the Comp Plan – 81%

Dissatisfaction With Sales Performance -44%

Missed Year End Quotas by at Least 75% -43%

New Metrics Largely Unsuccessful

Great intentions but lousy results – it’s not unusual.  But why? Let’s explore the reasons behind designing and implementing programs like these.

When there is dissatisfaction with performance, management often determines that revising compensation, metrics, incentives, selection, training or market focus will solve the problem.  While this works once in a while, in most cases, the primary reason for disappointing sales performance is because the companies hired salespeople who can’t consistently or effectively execute the strategies.  For example, what good does it do to change the compensation plan if the people who were hired aren’t motivated by money?  What good does it do to change the metrics if the people in place aren’t capable of meeting the expectations?  In most cases, sales management doesn’t possess the competencies required to develop their C players and turn them into B’s and A’s.

So the next time that you’re dissatisfied with performance, instead of thinking up a new plan, evaluate your sales force to better understand the root causes.  Only then can you begin to work on the real issues and hope to get them resolved.

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