Human Resources and Sales Compensation don’t mix well together

Reese Bacon

An effective sales incentive design is critical to enabling your reps to achieve their quota.  Yet the design of most sales compensation plans fall under the responsibility of Human Resources.  If this is you and your company, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why would you, the sales leader or sales enablement lead, want the chief sales enabler (the design of the sales compensation program) left up to the team in HR?
  • Shouldn’t you oversee how the sales compensation plans are designed and executed vs. someone who doesn’t know sales?

There can be many reasons for why sales incentive design reports to HR.  Sometimes it’s a simple question of capacity.  On occasion it’s about organizational alignment.  Other times it’s a power struggle.  And still yet, it can be a question of who has the competency and who can be objective to govern the plans. Whatever the existing rationale, an emerging practice has sales incentive design reporting into Sales Enablement. It is the one decisive enabler to sales success of the organization. Here's the case for why Sales Enablement should own sales incentive design:

  • Leadership: Sales Enablement Leaders are strategic, objective, analytical, persuasive and adaptable. These leaders know how to motivate the sales teams.  They inspire trust and confidence in others. These are crucial capabilities for leading sales compensation.
  • Alignment: Sales Enablement is the one singular role within any sales organization that is positioned best to secure alignment. They do this successfully between all the functional departments in a company. They are the ones who create the behaviors that sales comp tries to incent.
  • Efficacy: It’s essentially more efficient to combine all the components of sales enablement under one leader to guarantee proper coordination and collaboration. But it’s this reason that makes it work.  Tying all the Sales Enablement Programs and Processes into how they Sales Team is compensated is key to success to drive the correct behaviors.  This is the key to a great compensation program. 

More companies are changing the way how compensation is developed and managed.  Reporting into Sales Enablement with HR oversight has proven to develop better compensation plans.  These plans have driven better productivity and revenue.  They are designed by the people who developed the sales behaviors wanted in the field.  Then incenting those behaviors leads to this increase in productivity.  It’s a great marriage between them.  

 To find more information or how you can complete this in your company, let us know here.  If you and your company are enlightened by current trends, you’ll place Sales Compensation in its rightful place.  It will increase your productivity and revenue.  And you will hit the number.

Reese Bacon

Reese Bacon

Throughout his career, Reese has developed people strategies aimed at improving overall sales performance. After many years and hundreds of client experiences, he’s convinced that the primary role of sales leadership is employee development. Superior coaches build superior players who win in the market. Reese is considered an expert in the field of sales incentives and change management. Clients rely on his expertise to guide sales development initiatives resulting from leadership, strategy, organizational or process change.