The Coaching Effect Blog

8 Critical Sales Coaching Activities & The Missing Link

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

September 11, 2013

There are times in our sales leadership career when we have the opportunity to do something special, the chance to catapult our skills and also the skills of those with whom we work, and truly make a difference in the lives of those on our teams.

Read More

Topics: New Leaders, sales leadership, sales leadership, sales analytics & performance tracking, front line sales managers, innovative technology for sales departments, Sales Strategy, sales processes, Leadership Development, sales manager, sales coaching, sales coaching, Leadership & Management, Executives, Sales Management, sales management skills, professional development, sales performance, ideas for sales leaders

Sales Managers--roadblock or on-ramp for strategy and growth?

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

December 9, 2011

EcSELL is currently going through our semi-annual retreat.  Goals are reviewed, tweaks are made, a deeper understanding of our member and associate needs is causing change.  We spend three, half days where our team shares where they’ve been (themselves and their departments), where they’re at, but most importantly, where they want to be professionally and personally.

Read More

Topics: collaborative leadership, Leadership Culture, sales meetings, Sales Strategy, sales coaching, Leadership & Management, Executives, collaboration, ideas for sales leaders

20 Fun Facts about the Inc. 500 Leaders

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

September 5, 2011

Our friend, Dharmesh Shah of HubSpot, recently posted a blog article about the Inc. 500. We  thought our readers might also enjoy these fun and fascinating facts about the Inc. 500.  See how you compare!  

Read More

Topics: Executives, ideas for sales leaders

Effective Sales Compensation Plans STEP 1: Establish the Strategy

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

September 6, 2010

Sales Compensation Planning, Step 1:  Establish the Sales Compensation Strategy

Guest Article by Bob Malandruccolo

EcSELL Institute's Research Director, Jaime Davis-Thomas has been working with Bob on a series of blog posts on the topic:  STEPS TO CREATING AN EFFECTIVE SALES COMPENSATION PLAN.  We hope you enjoy this series of articles and we thank Bob Malandruccolo, of Sales Force Effectiveness Consulting, for his contribution.  Enjoy STEP ONE!

The first step in designing sales compensation plans is documenting the Sales Compensation Philosophy. A Steering Committee, consisting of a group of delegated stakeholders, should determine what the sales compensation philosophy should be. These are the most common topics that I have experienced:

  • Company Goal Alignment -- Of course the sales compensation plan should be aligned with company goals. And of course I have seen plans that are not aligned.
  • Profitable growth is a common philosophy that addresses specific measures.
  • Pay for performance suggests a goal-based plan.
  • Performance Standards & Thresholds -- Minimum sales performance standards lead to thresholds. A threshold is a performance level where the first incentive dollar is earned after passing the threshold performance level.
  • Standardization is another topic. I have seen sales compensation plans that had multiple plans for the same role, typically because of acquisitions.  
  • Realistic goals are oftentimes the feedback from the Design Team and can be included in the philosophy upon approval from the Steering Committee.You can imagine that this topic is included because previous goals were not realistic. I have a client who has not hit their revenue goals for the past 10 years. I would think that over time, some things would need to change. As I think about their change, it was a different head of sales every other year. 
  • Simplification. What I have seen is that some companies have baked-in a new measure if they want the sales force to change their behavior. Others would call that type of sales force "coin-operated." They can only get the sales force to act unless they get paid. If you have a coin-operated sales force, I wonder what sales managers do.  

How do you determine the sales compensation philosophy? The answer is simple. You have to ask. During interviews with the Steering Committee, you need to ask them about their philosophy on sales compensation. All of their answers can be aggregated and submitted during the first Steering Committee session. During that time, the Steering Committee can vet the answers and agree on the philosophy that will guide the Design Team. Another one of my clients had their project manager send an email to the Steering Committee members asking about their philosophy on sales compensation. Once again, their answers were served up during the Steering Committee session and agreed upon.

Download this best practice document from EcSELL Institute's Resource Library titled "Sample Sales Rep Compensation Plan"


The first step is defining the Sales Compensation Philosophy. It is developed by the Steering Committee and the philosophy guides the Design Team during the design process.  

Step 2 is determining which Eligible Roles are included for sales compensation treatment.  

Step 3 is selecting the Total Target Pay Level for each sales role. This represents the mid-point pay level for target performance.  

Step 4 is determining what the Pay Mix should be for each sales role. Pay mix is the ratio between base salary and incentive pay at target performance. 

Step 5 is choosing the amount of Upside of incentive pay for high performers.  

Step 6 is selecting Weights & Measures that are linked to incentives for the plan.  

Step 7 is determining whether the plan should be based on Commission or Bonus or both.  

Step 8 is defining the Structure Details of the plan including threshold and excellence levels and the payout curve.  

Step 9 is choosing the Frequency of Payouts for each measure.  

And finally, Step 10 is determining the Administrative Details included in the plan. 


To learn more about building an effective sales compensation plan, please join us on Sept 13 at 10 PST/12 CST/1 EST for this month's sales management webinar titled "Sales Compensation Best Practices"


Bob Malandruccolo is the founder and principal owner of Sales Force Effectiveness Consulting. With over twenty-five years of practical business, management and consulting experience in sales and marketing, Bob has worked with a broad range of clients from Fortune 100 corporations to small, closely-held firms with special emphasis on sales and marketing process implementation. He has worked closely with his clients through hundreds of successful engagements and implementations across multiple industries (manufacturing, engineering, distribution, software, healthcare insurance, medical products, healthcare, automotive, telecommunications, retail, information handling, media).

Article Source:
Read More

Topics: compensation recognition rewards, Leadership & Management, Executives

Communication as a Sales Leadership Challenge

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

August 3, 2010

Communication is a Common Challenge for Sales Leaders

EcSELL Institute's Guest Author: Abby Goodman, OfficeTeam

Read More

Topics: Engagement, Research, Leadership & Management, Executives, Sales Management

Collaborative Leadership in Sales Management

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

July 30, 2010

Posted by: Jaime Davis-Thomas, Research Leader, EcSELL Institute

You've probably heard of the concept "Collaborative Leadership", but are you aware how it can transform your sales organization? Keep reading.

Collaborative Leadership Defined

  • It is leadership shown by a group that is acting collaboratively to solve agreed upon issues.
  • It uses supportive and inclusive methods to ensure that all people affected by a decision are part of the change process.
  • It requires a new notion of power...the more power we share, the more power we have to use [1]

Benefits of Collaborative Leadership

  • Buy-in.  Collaborative leadership encourages ownership of the enterprise, whether it's a coalition, an organization, a business, or a community project. By involving everyone in decision making and problem solving, it makes what people are doing theirs, rather than something imposed on them by someone else. The sense of ownership builds commitment to the common purpose.

  • More involvement in implementation. Members of a collaborative group are more likely to be willing to take responsibility for implementing the group's action plan, because they were part of developing it.

  • Builds TrustCollaborative leadership, by its use of an open process and its encouragement of discussion and dialogue, builds trust among those involved in the enterprise.

  • Elimination of turf issues. Similarly, collaborative leadership can help to address turf issues through establishing mutual trust, making sure everyone's concerns are heard, and helping organizations, factions, or individuals find common ground and work together.
  • Access to more and better information and ideas. When all involved in an issue are party to addressing it, they bring with them a wealth of information, as well as a variety of perspectives. As a result, the solutions they arrive at are likely to be better than those developed in a vacuum, or by only a small number of people.

  • Better opportunity for substantive results. The combination of ownership of the process and its results, trust, real collaboration, and better planning yields real success in the real world. In looking at successful community development efforts, Chrislip and Larson [2] found that nearly all were characterized by collaborative leadership.

  • Modeling new leaders. Collaborative leadership helps to train new leaders from within the group, thus assuring continuity and commitment to the issues the group is addressing.

  • Stakeholder empowerment. The inclusion of all stakeholders - anyone with an interest or involvement in an issue or organization - in problem-solving and decision-making not only prepares potential leaders, but leads to people taking more responsibility and caring more about what they do. It leads to better functioning in every sphere.

  • Fundamental change for the better in the ways organizations operate. Collaborative leadership breeds more collaborative leadership and more collaboration, leading to a different way of looking at solving problems. This in turn brings more willingness to find common ground and common cause with others, more willingness to tackle new issues, and more effective and wide-reaching solutions. [2].

Key Lessons for Leaders

There have been a number of research projects and reviews of key lessons for Collaborative leaders but they all come down to some similar themes. Madeleine Carter, writing for the Center for Effective Public Policy as part of research project funded by the United States Department of Justice and State Justice Institute, defines five qualities of a collaborative leader:

Read More

Topics: Engagement, collaborative leadership, Emotional Intelligence, sales leadership, sales team, Leadership & Management, Executives, Sales Management, collaboration

Sales Manager And Leadership Lessons

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

April 27, 2010

"Was there one of my top 150 people who was thinking, ‘You know, Jeff, commercial real estate shouldn't be so #@$%!* big', but didn't have a way to say it".  Jeff Immelt, GE's Chairman & CEO is now looking for new ways to connect with, develop and coach his team and he seems to have gotten creative.

Think about it this way...  Let's say you have a sales rep who put together a great year and exceeded their number in a big way.  Any prudent Sales Exec/Manager would investigate what they are doing and share new best practices with the balance of their team in hopes of emulating the result.  Don't pass up the same opportunity given what we know about GE, their success and approach to developing talent. 

Read More

Topics: Best Practice, New Leaders, Sales manager training, Career Development, front line sales managers, sales coaching, professional development for sales management, Leadership & Management, EcSELL Institute, Pillars, Executives, Sales Management, sales management skills, coaching, professional development, sales management resources, Resources for sales managers, sales performance, 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity

A strong value proposition when selling to executives

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

March 26, 2010

Posted by: Kristi Shoemaker, VP Marketing, EcSELL Institute

Read More

Topics: sales training, Value Proposition, CEO, Executives, Resources for sales managers

6 Reasons Executives Grant Meetings With Salespeople

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

March 11, 2010

Posted by: Kristi Shoemaker, VP Marketing, EcSELL Institute

Read More

Topics: Best Practice, Sales manager training, sales management research, Research, sales management webinar, Executives, sales management skills

Sales Management Leadership Comparisons: I lost my example...

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

January 6, 2010


It was disheartening to hear as it all unraveled.  A person who I've blogged about, oft used in my analogies for those in sales leadership, a role model for all who work to be the best at their respective trade-has really biffed.

Read More

Topics: Best Practice, New Leaders, Sales Management Summit, professional development for sales management, Leadership & Management, EcSELL Institute, Executives, Sales Management, sales management skills, coaching, sales leadership conference, professional development, Sales mgt summit, Strengths

Subscribe to Email Updates

Follow EcSell


Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all