It’s March and we’re coming up to the end of the first quarter of 2009. Is your Sales Compensation Plan for 2009 in place? It’s surprising how many well-run, best of breed companies fail to put their sales commission plan in place in a timely fashion or fail to properly communicate how their sales people will be compensated.
I’ve been doing implementation of incentive compensation systems for over 12 years, across over 30 different industries, and a range of small, mid and large companies. There’s no pattern or type of company, but you hear so often even this late in the year how the sales commission plan hasn’t been designed or isn’t ready. Meanwhile, sales people are still selling, unsure how their efforts will affect what ends up in their pockets.
During the first quarter of a year, we sometimes get calls for assistance on making plan changes. There’s always some percentage of these calls where the customer will say, “I need help with changing our sales commission plan, but I don’t have all the details yet. All I know is that we’re doing something very different and complicated, but it hasn’t been finalized yet. Can you help me?” My answer, “..sure, please call me as soon as you know what the details are.”
I’m always amazed that in spite of the obvious morale issue, sales people continue to sell even when they don’t have a comp plan in place. You never hear about sales people going on strike because their sales commission plan wasn’t in place or that a company’s revenue is down because they weren’t ready with the new sales commission plan at the beginning of the year.