For a sales rep, engagement is a summation of many different things. Oftentimes in sales compensation, we try to look at engagement through the lens of payout levels, but as I look more into what motivates sales reps—and people in general—one common theme is that engagement requires more than money. It also requires a sense of purpose and belonging.
So what does this mean for sales compensation? I believe that it requires sales leaders to look beyond dollars to understand an individual rep’s level of engagement. Ask yourself these key questions:
- When was the last time that the salesperson achieved his goal? Forget the payout on this one. There’s a strong satisfaction that results from achieving any goal.That satisfaction has the power to re-energize the sales force. On the other hand, missing it repeatedly can be demoralizing.
- Does the salesperson understand what is expected of her? To truly be engaged, a rep needs to understand expectations, how to achieve them and how they will be measured. Also, it’s important for reps to know that they have the resources needed to accomplish their goals. Sales leaders can introduce this information and send reminders, in addition to ongoing sales compensation communications.
- Is the sales manager spending enough time with the salesperson? Being a salesperson is a tough job. It’s one that requires a lot of time planning and executing by yourself. Manager coaching and availability can provide a connection back to the home office and to the company strategy. Managers can also provide affirmation that a rep is on the right path, or helpful advice to redirect when they aren’t. Sales compensation reports can be an avenue to facilitate these discussions.
Each of the above can be further expanded by working with other parts of the organization (training, marketing, sales, etc.). If you can do that, you’ll have a more complete picture of engagement and a better vision of how to maximize it. And remember, engagement is contagious. Salespeople will also be influenced by peers, so as you make progress, expect the results to compound.
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