Excerpt from Inside Sales Success: A Guide for Global Sales Leaders
By Anneke Seley

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Winning Compensation and Incentive Packages

Compensation is always an influential factor when candidates are considering a sales role. Compensation is also a critical component of business strategy, and sales incentives are especially important to get right in high-volume selling environments.

Generally speaking, inside sales reps will invest their time and energy on whatever activity will yield the highest personal return. So you need to align your comp plan with the most important measurable goals you’ve set. These goals could include increasing market share in a new industry, increasing sales of a new product line, improving customer retention, or selling new business.

Bear in mind that the wrong pay package can ultimately weaken your position in the market.Because customers have more choices, more options, and access to more opportunities, companies need to offer a truly superior experience.  And unless you pay close attention to incentivizing and motivating reps, you won’t be able to hire or retain the kind of talent that can provide.

Challenge reps to perform
but strike a balance. A sales target that’s too easy to achieve has obvious implications on sales productivity. Yet a quota that is so high that it is not achievable can have devastating effects. Successful companies structure plans to include bonuses or commission accelerators for “stretch goals” or overachievement

Compensate reps on things they control
Team selling models with combined quotas can work well, but if the bulk of your inside team’s income is tied to whether or not someone else – like a field sales rep – closes a deal, you’re setting up inside reps for frustration and disgruntlement. Many companies have established both individual and team targets to cover both bases.

Automate commissions
No sales leaders should have to waste their time vetting Excel spreadsheets to ensure commission checks are accurate. Commission payment delays and errors are a surefire way to disrupt sales team productivity. Sales compensation automation solutions that integrate with existing CRM systems could be a worthy investment.

Motivate the entire team
There are many ways to think about the art and science of motivating a sales team, but one way that’s outdated is to reward only your top selling reps. For inside sales teams, a rising tide lifts all boats – comp plans that recognize performance improvements of average reps and include incentives for team goal achievements in addition to individual performance will yield better overall results. This will also encourage collaboration and idea sharing – something that distinguishes top performing inside organizations from the rest.


About Anneke Seley
Anneke has been a creator and champion of global inside sales organizations since the 1980s, when she started and grew OracleDirect from $0 to $25M. She is the founder and CEO of Reality Works Group and coauthor of Sales 2.0: Improve Business Results Using Innovative Sales Practices and Technology. Anneke and her team at Reality Works have helped hundreds of global companies increase revenue by optimizing their inside and social selling teams. Anneke continues to write, speak and explore the concepts presented in her eBook and welcomes your questions and comments on her blog, “The Sales 2.0 Advocate.”