One critical function of a sales compensation scheme is to measure the success of your sales force and check whether they are meeting business targets. To this end, you need to set effective sales goals and performance objectives and keep a running tally of who is meeting them.

Sales goals should be clearly defined and achievable, but they also need to be challenging enough to motivate sales reps to work hard to reach them. To set effective sales goals, you’ll have to answer questions such as:

Small businesses can benefit from simple incentive planning. This can include comparing each sales rep’s goals with their historical performance, and reviewing the territories that are being asked to generate the highest and lowest levels of growth.

But while it’s always good to keep your goal-setting calculations simple, they must not be simplistic. For example, a goal that requires each rep to grow sales 10% annually may be easy for the reps to understand, but may not be fair if the reps work in very different selling environments.

Finally, you should also set performance goals on the more qualitative elements of selling:

For example, if you have a star seller who is also a lone wolf, you could ask them to enrol in a training programme to help improve their ability to work on teams. Or you could ask an experienced salesperson to mentor someone on their team or join a new product development strategy committee.

Performance scorecards

Communicating with your sales staff about performance metrics is also key. We suggest publishing performance scorecards on a regular basis. Realising the value of accurate and timely reporting has led to more and more companies adopting web-based solutions that calculate performance and communicate sales incentive earnings via user-friendly reports.

The publication of sales compensation scorecards, if designed and delivered well, can be an eagerly awaited event each month. Scorecards can keep the sales force on track and provide just the right amount of motivation to close the next deal or break into a new account.

If you missed my previous articles on the subject of sales compensation plans, catch up with them here:

For more information on any aspect of sales compensation, contact me on 020 7099 2621.