Autodesk's Approach to Motivating a Millennial Sales Force and Tackling Some of the Biggest Sales Comp Challenges

Posted by Alex Southworth on Tue, Aug 22, 2017

This blog post was originally published on ZS's high-tech blog, Tech Bytes & Insights

For high-tech companies, a strong inside sales function boosts efficiency and lowers costs, and for millennial-age salespeople, inside sales roles offer the chance to collaborate with a team instead of working solo in the field.

After ZS’s 2017 Comp Bytes event, where executives from leading high-tech brands met to discuss sales compensation challenges and innovations, I spoke with Robert Bieshaar, senior director of worldwide sales and services incentive compensation at Autodesk, to learn how inside sales models are evolving at his organization, what he and his colleagues are doing to motivate the next generation of salespeople, and how Autodesk is working to overcome one of the most common and cumbersome sales comp challenges: goal-setting fairness.


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How an Olympic Pool Demonstrates the Importance of Fairness

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Wed, Sep 07, 2016


The Olympics are the pinnacle of sport. Stories of hard work, sacrifice, striving and achievement captivate us all.

Fairness is another key theme in sports, of course, and this year’s Russian doping story highlights the importance of fairness at the Olympics: Officials do their best to test everything and ensure that nobody has an unfair advantage due to illegal substances or other means. An individual’s effort and abilities should be the only elements that impact the final outcome.


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For Sales Comp Plans, Fairness Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Posted by Mike Martin on Mon, Dec 16, 2013

I have been having many conversations recently with sales ops teams getting ready for 2014 about "mathematical fairness" and "perceived fairness."

I consider the standard checks teams perform on their sales compensation plans to be measures of mathematical fairness, which checks for quantitative inequalities. It ensures, for example, that both large-volume and small-volume territories have the same opportunity to earn, or that different geographies, such as Manhattan and Texas, have the same opportunity to earn. These checks are often shown through scatter plots or bar graphs. They are very useful and provide confidence to the home office and sales leadership that the proposed incentive plan is fair.

However, they do not always translate as well to the sales force.


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"That’s Not Fair!" Psychology and the Evolution of Sales Compensation

Posted by Chad Albrecht on Wed, Oct 02, 2013

Capuchin monkeys are starkly averse to inequity, according to a 2003 study. When offered a cucumber slice for doing a task, 95% of monkeys completed it. But when some monkeys were offered a more appealing reward, a grape, the percentage willing to perform the task for a cucumber slice dropped to 60%. And when one group received grapes for doing less or no work, the fraction of monkeys willing to do the task for cucumbers dropped to 20%.

The experiment can teach us something about human behavior—or more importantly human sales behavior: When incentive compensation is unfair (or judged as such), the sales force’s motivation shrivels up.


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New Coke, Anyone? Why Sales Comp Should Go Beyond Data

Posted by Mike Martin on Thu, Apr 11, 2013

I was recently in Atlanta and visited the World of Coca-Cola. While walking through the exhibits and learning about Doc Pemberton and his secret formula, I saw a reference to the infamous launch of New Coke in the mid-80’s.

Often referenced as one of the top marketing blunders of the past century, New Coke provides a lesson about perception and reality for today’s sales compensation projects.


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