C-Levels in Sales Comp Asking Good Questions 2

We’re wrapping up our series on C-level participation in the sales comp process. The role of the C-level varies among companies for many reasons, but high performing sales teams using have at least one C-level executive asking good questions.

 We suggested some questions dimensions last week, but your organization’s specific situation will determine the best questions.

 Representation Questions

These questions ask how the sales compensation plan incorporates each of the C-Level Goals around Customer, Product, Coverage, Financial, and Talent. Remember to include only the essential performance measures in the sales compensation plan, and give management the responsibility to manage to the rest.

 Motivation Questions

These questions ask about the types of behaviors the sales compensation plan will drive. While most organizations think about the positive behaviors, also test for behaviors that may conflict with the strategy or with the workings of the sales team. This is a great opportunity to test the plan with experienced managers and reps to expose the full range of motivators in the plan.

 Results Questions

These questions ask about the measurable, tangible results to expect in each C-Level Goal area. This is a question that seeks specific answers rather than generalities. How much does the company expect to grow a particular customer segment or product group? What indicators will show that the organization has successfully supported its new sales coverage model?

 Dependency Questions

Recognize that the sales compensation plan isn’t the only driver of performance in the organization, but is a supporting program in the Enablement layer of the Revenue Roadmap. These questions ask about other organizational and environmental factors that could affect success.

 Risk Questions

These questions ask about all the things that could go wrong, either with how the program operates or how the dependencies play out. In most cases, predictions about sales performance turn out differently than anticipated. The idea is to acknowledge that likelihood and anticipate those possible occurrences. A useful exercise when addressing major change is to identify the possible challenges, assign them probabilities, and determine how to address each. It simply helps to stay realistic and better prepare to make the change work.

 Simplicity Questions

These questions ask about how to strip the sales compensation program down to its essence to make the message clearer and make managing the program easier. Asking questions about why the organization really needs a sacred component of the program can create some discomfort with a team that has invested so much hard work to that point. But these questions are valuable as a final push to the thinking around design.

 Change Questions

These questions ask how to turn the design into reality. The team should be planning for change from the inception of the program and continue through finalizing the design and preparing for roll-out.

 When the team is discussing the objectives of the program at the start, working along the way, or evaluating the results of its work, using the C-Level Question Dimensions can help team members and executives cycle around a dynamic questioning model that stays current with the challenges at hand.

 How would these questions impact your sales comp plan?


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


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