What About the Millennials? Sales Compensation ‘Hot Topics’ Survey Results

By: David Cichelli Sales Compensation

The Alexander Group recently published the results from the “2017 Sales Compensation Hot Topics Survey.” With more than 140 sales departments participating, the survey report reveals sales compensation stakeholders’ current perspectives on:

  1. The Future of Sales Compensation
  2. Risk and Governance
  3. Talent Topics
  4. Pay Plan Types
  5. Rewarding Strategic Objectives
  1. Are companies abandoning the use of sales compensation? Pundits suggest that companies are reducing or curtailing the use of sales compensation. The survey results do not support this speculation. Only 4.1 percent plan to reduce the use of sales compensation.
  2. Have companies made changes to their compliance practices to reduce risk and improve governance? Yes, increased program oversight is occurring. Further governance and risk assessment is necessary to reduce legal and ethics exposure. 41 percent report more compliance oversight occurring in 2017.
  3. Is there a sales talent shortage? There is not a sales talent shortage…yet. Headcount expansion is occurring. Available candidates are in the market. Turnover is at historical stable levels. Most companies offer a referral bonus; few provide a signing bonus. Millennials are not getting any special treatment, reports 92.2 percent of the companies.
  4. Are incentive plan types uniform from one company to another? Most customer-facing jobs with “persuasion” participate in the Sales Incentive Plan (SIP). The VP of sales normally participates in the Management Incentive Plan (MIP). Use of pay plans by job type is not monolithic; companies use a variety of pay plans for like jobs.
  5. What are typical strategic objectives and how do companies reward success? To focus on strategic objectives, such as acquiring new accounts, companies use a variety of incentive techniques; the most popular are spiffs and contests.

View the Executive Summary.

Companies pay sales compensation to most customer-facing jobs with persuasion responsibilities. Sales leaders use a variety of pay plans for customer service and other field support jobs.About the 2017 Sales Compensation Hot Topics Survey
The survey was conducted from June to August 2017 and published in August 2017. One hundred forty-five sales departments participated in the survey.

Contact Alexander Group to evaluate your organization’s sales compensation challenges.

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David Cichelli

David Cichelli is Alexander Group’s principal thought leader regarding sales effectiveness challenges and solutions facing sales organizations during different stages of growth. David is a frequent speaker, author and instructor on sales management issues. David helps clients develop sales strategy solutions that ensure alignment between corporate sales objectives and sales resources. Additionally, he is the firm’s sales compensation practice leader and a nationally recognized expert in sales compensation. David is author of “The Sales Growth Imperative” McGraw-Hill (2010) based on the Alexander Group’s experience working with successful sales entities, and the bestseller “Compensating the Sales Force,” McGraw-Hill (2004), now in its expanded and revised second 2010 edition. David developed and teaches the one-day class on sales compensation for WorldatWork, the association of compensation professionals.

David has been with the Alexander Group for over 20 years. His previous experience includes field sales support for an industrial chemical company and sales compensation practice manager for a large human resources consulting firm. David has a BA from Pennsylvania State University and a MS from Michigan State University.