Research indicates that “selling” is moving beyond the traditional sales jobs. Roles, such as pre-sales, sales development representatives and post-sales customer success managers, have elements of selling making them eligible for incentive compensation. Do you reward these jobs for sales success?
Sales compensation pays for “persuasion” success. Helping buyers make informed commitments is the basis of a selling role.
By replacing the word “selling” with “persuasion,” the lens of eligible jobs expands. Selling is the act of informing customers of solution offerings, helping with decision making, securing purchase commitment and ensuring customer satisfaction. A closer look at jobs along the sales path/buyer journey reveals that a number of roles help with some or all of these efforts. Should you reward for these successful persuasion outcomes?
Here is the challenge. Traditional sales compensation practices link incentive pay to revenue outcomes. Not all of these roles produce booked revenue. While some are responsible for securing revenue such as renewals, others contribute to the sales progression, such as securing qualified leads. Do these successful persuasion events warrant sales compensation eligibility even if revenue has yet to be booked?
Digitally enabled selling systems now provide the platform for multiple parties to guide the buyer through the purchase process. What were once silo organizations, such as marketing, sales and service, are now becoming connected, integrated functions with the seamless hand-off of responsibilities from one sales progression task to the next.
In Chart I, some companies are paying for persuasion prior to booked revenue for select jobs such as lead generation representative, business development managers and even territory sales.
And, the types of measures being rewarded include the following as displayed in Chart II. The top three persuasion activities include number of new opportunities, number of leads and number of meetings.
While the trend for rewarding “non-sales” jobs is emerging, many still do not provide incentive payments. However, here are the jobs for incentive participation consideration outside traditional sales roles.
Sales compensation is no longer just for sellers. Others who are influencing (persuading) the customer to meet with a salesperson, help configure their purchase requirements, ensure customer satisfaction and ensure solution adoption are all candidates for sales compensation eligibility.