Fostering a High-Growth Culture: Aligning Sales Compensation

By: Dashon Catlett Health Insurance, Revenue Growth Strategy, Sales Compensation, Sales Strategy, Sales Transformation

The rapidly evolving health insurance industry continues to create challenges for companies seeking growth. Recent industry research indicates the number one concern of sales executives is pursuing growth goals in the current environment. In response, carriers are shifting to more performance-driven sales cultures to achieve objectives. How are companies successfully developing growth cultures through sales compensation, leadership, coverage, talent and enablement?

Part I of this series details three ways to effectively align your sales compensation program to foster a high-growth culture:

  1. Emphasize Goal Achievement–Historically, membership volume has been the key factor in determining sales comp payouts. Today, growth is required from all front-line sales resources to remain competitive, leading to a more rigorous approach for goal setting. This can enable significant pay “upside” for exceeding goal and, conversely, more punitive payouts for underachievement. In addition, this approach can motivate long-tenured incumbents to strive for incremental growth and create a sense of urgency for new hires.
  2. Incorporate Strategic Objectives–Aligning sales compensation to unique business strategies can be challenging. However, many forward-thinking carriers have allocated sales compensation dollars to strategic objectives. Profitability, customer satisfaction and cross-selling are examples of metrics companies leverage to challenge sales people to be more strategic.
  3. Employ Recognition and Special Incentives–Effective recognition programs and special incentives can tap into a seller’s competitive nature. Developing a stack-ranking program that rewards top performers with President’s Club trips, gifts and special recognition from leaders can greatly influence culture. Periodically running sales contests for new or strategic products can also work to keep the sales force engaged throughout the year.

Shifting to a performance-driven culture is imperative in order to meet growth goals in today’s evolving and digitally enabled environment. Aligning sales compensation plans to reflect these expectations is an effective way to inspire cultural change.

Stay tuned for Part II of this series which will address leadership imperatives in a high-growth culture.

Are your current plans doing enough to encourage a high-growth culture? Contact us today for a complimentary sales compensation briefing.

Learn more about AGI’s Health Insurance practice.
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Dashon Catlett

Dashon Catlett is a manager in the Atlanta office. He works with clients in multiple industries, including health insurance, technology, financial services, distribution, and life sciences. Dashon has completed numerous projects related to account segmentation, job role design, sales force sizing, territory deployment, and incentive compensation design. He recently helped lead a sales, marketing, and operations full-pillar assessment and change management roadmap project for one of the global leaders in the clinical research industry.


Prior to joining the Alexander Group, Dashon worked on the sales effectiveness and client development teams at American Express, where he was responsible for driving adoption of valuable tools on Salesforce.com among sales representatives. He has a B.B.A. from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Dashon is also a Certified Sales Compensation Professional (CSCP).


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