iStock_000015742269SmallAt this point in the year, new sales compensation plans have been rolled out, but we are still a month or two from understanding how they are working. We do not have enough sales results yet to judge the incentive plans’ impact, so what can we do during this so-called downtime?

In my opinion, the number one thing we can be doing right now is ensure that first-line managers understand the plan.

One company I work with surveyed its field force and found something interesting that supports this recommendation:

  • Of the three regions surveyed, 59% of reps in the west responded that they “Understand how my goals are set.” In the other two regions, about 38% of reps responded the
  • The survey then asked if the goal motivates the rep.  65% of the west’s reps responded yes, whereas only 42% of the other regions’ reps responded yes.



The insight here is that reps who understand their goals (and by extension their compensation plans) are more motivated.

The study went on to ask reps if they felt their managers understood the sales compensation plan.

  • Of the west’s reps, 91% responded yes, compared with 81% of reps in other

Again, the west region was coming out on top. A very simple correlation can be assumed:

Managers who understand the plan → Reps who understand the plan → Reps who are motivated by the plan

Based on this relationship, spending more time now with managers to repeat the plan rollout from early January or conduct a Q&A could be very productive and help to ensure all the work we did back at the turn of the year pays off.

It would be great to hear some example of how companies are reminding managers about the incentive compensation plan. Please share below.

Topics: sales, Sales Managers, Sales Force, incentive plan, Mike Martin, sales team, Managers