compensation

The End-of-Year Race

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The annual end-of-year race is about to commence right after Labor Day.  The finish line resides somewhere within the holiday season.  This period represents the closing of the revenue year and will determine success (or something short of that).

The importance of this time period is clear.  Do you have all of your tools aligned to make the final revenue push?  If we may be so bold, here are a trio of recommendations for all CROs heading into the race.

Bankable Forecast - this is the most important aspect of the race. Can you take your forecast to the bank?  If not, you need your team to perform a real-world purge of the forecast for the remainder of the year.  You must know what is closing in the time period to make the right adjustments to your game plan.

Bench Strength - your team may be facing some unexpected turnover.  The economy is roaring and salespeople are confident in finding new opportunities.  When is a popular time to make a change?  Many salespeople will make a move right before the holiday season to leverage time off with family and friends.  Others will wait until early in Q1 to cash in their variable compensation (commissions, bonuses, etc.).  Either way, you need to have a plan for building a strong bench in case turnover occurs in your team.

Results-Driven Incentive Plans - next year's compensation plans will be on your list during the race.  You have to recognize effort and reward results with a plan that drives the behaviors you need in each role.  The mix of salary, commission, bonuses, spiffs and more needs to be designed for a Jan. 1 launch date.

Clearly, there are other topics for all CROs this time of year, but these 3 tasks will cover a good portion of your 2019 foundation.  If you need help on any of these topics, we are here to help.

CRO Rule #8 - The Most Underutilized Tool

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CRO Success Rule #8
Incentives are the most underutilized tool available to Chief Revenue Officers in terms of meeting their performance objectives.

Truly, there are certain things I encounter, when working with CROs, that are as consistent as an underutilized incentive plan (and strategy).  Salespeople are motivated by money in most instances.  That motivation will drive behaviors.  If you incent the motivation, you will elicit the behaviors you want.

That is a bit simplistic, but you get my point.  One thing all sales incentive programs should contain is that new business should pay out at a higher commission rate than existing (customer) business.  There are variations and adjustments needed to fit your plan, but this basic structure should always be followed.

I discuss margin incentives, threshold incentives, team incentives and more in the book if you are interested in learning more.

CRO Rule #7 - No Subsidies

CRO Rule #7
Reward the strong and effective; don’t subsidize the marginal performers.

Incentives are one of the most under-utilized tools available to the CRO today.  Strong salespeople are almost always motivated by a return on investment which speaks to money.  Yet, there are certain mistakes I have encountered over my career that I have listed in my book.

Here they are (with more details available in the book):

Incentive Mistake #1:
All business (new and existing accounts) earns the same incentive.

Incentive Mistake #2:
Putting a cap on a salesperson’s earnings.

Incentive Mistake #3:
Not creating an incentive based on desired outcomes.

Incentive Mistake #4:
Not having a defined sales cycle.

Incentive Mistake #5:
Letting Finance design the incentive plan.

Incentive Mistake #6:
Paying incentives on orders versus customer payment.

Incentive Mistake #7:
Assigning more sales leads to the reps that are NOT doing well to help them crack the incentive column.