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 contributes his revenue growth knowledge and experience to a wide array of sales organizations. His clients include leading companies in technology, telecommunications, wholesale/distribution, financial services and healthcare. David helps clients redefine and deploy go-to-customer solutions to ensure optimal revenue performance. By applying the Alexander Group’s Revenue Growth Model™, he helps companies achieve their revenue objectives through the coordination of marketing, sales and service resources. These efforts include revenue planning, customer engagement design, sales force configuration, and program design and management. He is the Alexander Group’s sales compensation practice leader.

Widely recognized by national professional associations and trade publications for his work in linking sales compensation to management’s objectives, David is a frequent speaker on sales compensation topics. He is author of Compensating the Sales Force (3rd edition) and The Sales Growth Imperative, published by McGraw Hill. He serves a leadership role in the design of the firm’s revenue growth conceptual models. David is an officer of the company. He is also the author of the 2018 Sales Compensation Almanac, published by AGI Press.

Prior to joining the Alexander Group in 1985, David served for five years as a national practice manager in sales compensation for a leading compensation consulting firm. Previously, he had spent seven years providing support to the field sales organization of a multinational Fortune 200 chemical company. David has a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University and an M.S. from Michigan State University.