Sales leaders predict healthy growth for the rest of 2011

By: David Cichelli Sales Compensation, Sales Growth, Sales Leadership

Sales executives forecast healthier growth for the remainder of 2011, according to our most recent sales survey. More than 105 sales leaders provided their sales force expectations for 2011 as reported after the close of the first quarter in the just published 2011—1st Quarter Sales Update Survey.

Survey participants predict the U.S. economy will grow at 3%; their industry sector will grow at 5%; and their own company sales division will grow at 9% for the 2011 fiscal year. A projected median 9% growth for the whole of 2011 is a remarkable turnaround in sentiment from the depth of the recession. Prior to the recession, companies anticipated their annual growth at 10%, suggesting that recessionary concerns are in full retreat and growth optimism is returning. However, this 9% expected growth will come mostly from sales productivity improvement since the survey participants only expect to add new staffing of 3%. “Improving Sales Productivity” was the highest rated sales initiative for 2011.

The survey findings also indicate that sales forces will see increased incentive payments in 2011 as compared to 2010. Nearly 61% report a rise in incentive payments for 2011. Twenty-five percent will see growth of 1% to 4% in incentive pay; and another 26% will see an increase between 5% and 9% in incentive payments. The “freeze” on base salary increases looks over. And, incentive compensation payments are returning to their pre-recession progress.

Learn more about Alexander Group’s Sales Compensation practice.

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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.


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