C-Levels in Sales Comp: Asking Good Questions

Most C-level executives know good questions are more powerful than statements. Effective C-level executives ask the right questions about sales compensation, as well as sales effectiveness more broadly.

We recently asked C-level executives about the top questions they ask their organizations about sales compensation. We wondered where they got involved in the process – whether evaluation, design, or implementation. We also wondered if there were some common questions – those that almost all C-levels ask about sales comp. In our research, we heard these five questions most consistently:

  • Are we driving the right behaviors? (65 percent of C-level executives) When we cut through all the structures, measurement, and math, sales compensation is really about moving the behaviors of the sales organization in the right direction.
  • What are the financial returns and risks? (53 percent of C-level executives) When making a change in the plan, the anticipated benefits and the known risks should be clearly understood.
  • Does it align with the strategy? (40 percent of C-level executives) One of the likely reasons the organization made a change to the sales compensation program was to support the current or near-future sales strategy.
  • How will it affect our ability to recruit and retain top people? (34 percent of C-level executives) The plan should address talent management objectives.
  • Is it easily understood? (20 percent of C-level executives) Sales compensation is ultimately a communications tool. Its ability to clearly get the message across within the organization’s parameters is a true test of its effectiveness.

How does your C-level get involved in the sales compensation process? What questions have you found most helpful?

Mark Donnolo is the managing partner of SalesGlobe and author of What Your CEO Needs to Know About Sales Compensation. To learn more, visit SalesGlobe.


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