Sales Coaching Blog

Mothers make great Sales Managers: Part 3 Compensation

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

November 30, 2010

Posted by: Kristi Shoemaker, EcSELL Institute

Do you give your kids an allowance or do you pay them for each individual task?  Is one child motivated by money and the other could care less?

At my house, all I need to do is dangle some money in front of my oldest son and he jumps to action...almost.  First he tries to negotiate the pay rate and THEN he decides whether the effort is worth the compensation. My younger son could care less about money.  He will do it if he likes doing the task or is incented with something fun, or a reward, or praise.  I know this because I have taken the time to understand what motivates each child individually.

The same holds true with the compensation plans and recognition programs we put in place for our sales teams.  Do you have a one size fits all philosophy or have you customized the comp plan based on job responsibility and personal motivations? With regard to rewards and recognition, do you know what each person's hot buttons are?

In September we held a powerful sales management webinar on how to structure sales compensation plans based a person's very specific role in the organization. We featured our Pillar Partner Valitus Group who is an expert in sales comp plan design. Listen to it with our compliments - it will be worth you time. Takes about 60 minutes. Valitus Group offers a formalized way to structure compensation plans based on two dimension: Is the person a "hunter" or a "farmer" and is his job function "transactional" or "consultative".

Setting up your compensation plans correctly is critical. If you are wondering if yours is set up right, a simple test is to look at where your sales reps are spending their time and energy. Sales people do what they are paid to do. If your comp plan isn't evoking the right behavior, it might be time to change it. BTW the webinar mentioned above also provides some guidelines on when it is OK to change a sales comp plan.

The "science" part of motivating people is via an effective compensation plan. The "art" comes into play on a daily basis. If Sally is a praise junkie, then always catch her doing things right!  If Joe values his time with his family, then give him the afternoon off if he accomplishes something big. If John's favorite restaurant is down the street, buy him a gift certificate for landing a new client. But here is the secret... you have to ask your people what they like. You have to get to know them personally so you know what to motivate them with. 

At our fall Sales Leadership and Coaching Summit, our instructor, Susan Hirt of TalentPlus, handed out a simple form, titled "Focus On You". She suggested that sales managers use this during a sales meeting. You can create one of your own. Across the top list these 6 questions:

1. What name do you like to be called.

2. What do I get paid to do?

3. Hot buttons?

4. Best successes: 1 professional  1 personal

5. What I do best

6. Goals: 1 professional 1 personal

Ask each of your team members to answer the questions and share their responses with the group. Be sure to do it yourself.  One of our EcSELL Institute Members recently did this exercise with his team. Here is what he had to say about the exercise.

"I had (11) inside salespeople, customer service and marketing folks participate.  I bought lunch to entice them!  I used the form that we got from Talent Plus at your Memphis summit.

I started things off by reading my sheet which kind of broke the ice. Everyone took turns going through theirs and we had a lot of laughs along the way, as well.  Based on comments from the group everyone learned something they didn't know about their colleagues whether it be work or personal.  All said they wanted to do something similar again, because they saw value in the exercise."

Stewart Bruce, VP Sales and Marketing, Graham-White

Never forget, some of your best lessons come from good 'ole Mom!

What are some fun, non-traditional rewards you give your team members? 

Topics: compensation recognition rewards, 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity

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