Tag Archives: Commissions

Where Can I Find a Good Salesperson? Five Suggestions

Situation: The Company wants to expand its sales force by adding “diamonds in the rough” – hungry individuals motivated by a high commission/low salary opportunity with high total compensation potential. How can they find these individuals?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Hire “out of school” and use a good sales assessment tool to evaluate which candidates have the right attitude and skill set to succeed. Create a career path through a lower paid inside sales position to eventual higher paid outside sales position while the individual gets up to speed understanding your technology and as they develop sales skills. This helps to generate revenue to cover costs while developing new sales candidates.
  • Accept that you will likely experience turnover hiring candidates out of school. High commission sales forces in other industries deal with 85% turnover over 3 years to find “keepers.” This may be a significantly higher level of turn-over than you are used to in other positions.
  • Look to sales job fairs and Craig’s List for candidates.
  • Give your current sales people a bonus for referring friends or acquaintances who will stay with you for 6 or 12 months. Pay out theses bonuses over times.
  • Find a good sales recruiter to find experienced high-producers in industries with a similar product sale.
    • The appeal to these individuals is a high earnings opportunity combined with the chance to sell a sexy product.
    • Because these people will already be high earners, you may have to create a draw system so that they do not have to make too great an earnings sacrifice by switching to your Company.

Key Words: Sales, Hiring, Training, Commissions, Referrals, Bonuses 

How do You Pay Sales Reps? Two Examples

Situation: The Company is considering two options to pay sales people – base/draw plus commission, or no base/draw and larger commission. What do other CEOs find most successful?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Align your sales incentive plans to your company objectives. Two examples, one of an aligned system and one of a dysfunctional system:
    • Aligned System
      • Sales reps are 100% commission (including expenses) with no caps on income. They are measured by two sets of metrics.
      • To keep their jobs, they have to achieve a minimum of 85% of their revenue goal. Fall below this and out the door.
      • However, commissions are calculated on the gross profit achieved on sales, and reps are provided with software to calculate GP and commission.
      • This company is the most successful in its market.
    • Dysfunctional System
      • Sales reps are paid a base plus quarterly commissions calculated on achievement of revenue goals.
      • The net result was that reps had no incentive to preserve gross margins.
      • The result was constant conflict between sales and finance; the situation only started to improve as reps’ commissions were converted to a combination of revenue and margin.
  • Issue: what is the role of the rep within the sale?
    • Is the rep a door opener or a closer?
    • What percentage of the close is attributable to the rep?
    • In a complex or staged sale, allocate commissions based on contribution to the close. Reps who can’t close are not as valuable as those who can.

Key Words: Sales, Commissions, Commission Plans, Objectives, Alignment