According to NBC News, the five most popular New Year’s resolutions in 2017 are:
1. Get healthy
2. Get organized
3. Live life to the fullest
4. Learn new hobbies
5. Spend less/save more
If we put our sales compensation lens on, what could each of these mean for our programs in 2017?
1. Get healthy: For sales compensation experts, the near-universal resolution to adhere to a healthier lifestyle could be just as applicable professionally. The new year is a great time to commit to checking the health of your incentive plans and assessing how they compare across the sales teams and with other organizations. Also, it’s good to see if the plans are doing what we actually want them to do in terms of paying the right people and motivating them to pursue the most impactful activities. The month of January, itself, may not be the best time to do this because you likely just rolled out a new plan, but it’s a great time to plan for this exercise later in the year, which takes us to No. 2.
2. Get organized: January is a great time to set up your sales compensation calendar for the year. There are basic deliverables that you can log, such as when you’ll send reports and pay salespeople. You also can do some next-level planning, determining when you’ll kick off incentive compensation design or the previously mentioned health check. Some companies even go so far as to plan when they’ll run contests and other special programs.
3 & 4. Live life to the fullest and learn new hobbies: Both of these resolutions are about breaking out of the normal routine, experiencing something new, and growing. For sales compensation, this means looking at new and creative ways to motivate the sales force. There has been ongoing buzz about ideas like gamification, giving salespeople choices with their incentives, and including more non-monetary rewards in the compensation program. Try running a contest with one of these components early in 2017 to see if it appeals to your sales force.
5. Spend less/save more: This last one is likely the most straightforward. For sales compensation professionals, it means looking at the services that you’re providing and seeing if any of them are no longer necessary. It also can mean looking at how technology can help automate processes to save time and money.
The new year is a great time to assess your personal motivations and objectives. It’s also a great time to evaluate your sales compensation programs. Cheers to a successful 2017!
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