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Tales from the Sales Team: Commission Confusion

By April 16, 2020 No Comments

In our Tales from the Sales Team series, we’ll cover actual concerns and questions from real salespeople about their paycheck and sales commission.

“What am I even getting paid for here? What’s this line item in my paycheck?”
– Rex, the Sales Rep

Our hero, Rex came to his commission administrator, Natalie, one day with this question. He’d worked at the company for years and had never seen this particular note on a paycheck before. What was it? A sales incentive contest! But no one had told the sales reps about it.

Turns out Rex unintentionally won the contest when he sold more XYZ products than any of his fellow reps. But neither he nor anyone else on the team had known this was a goal. It was a breakdown of communication between executives, administrators, and the sales people on the ground.

Employees speak with an administrator about details on paperwork.

What happened?

It happens too often: an incentive program is built and deployed by a leadership team. The commission rules are adjusted and submitted to the commission administrator, who then makes the necessary changes. However, details and goals never get funneled down to the people competing for the incentive. The buck stops at the commission administrator, literally.

The person handling commissions already juggles several intricate and complicated tasks, from calculating ever-increasing levels of commissions to building reports. Communicating details about a temporary incentive may not be at the top of their priority list. That’s why any contest or temporary sales incentive plan needs to include a process for alerting each sales representative on the team. 

How To Fix It?

Incorporating this task into a strategy requires someone to know their sales team well. How does the sales team generally consume information? Are they using email on the regular? If not, what’s the most effective way to spread the word quickly?

Once a solution is determined for that puzzle piece, it needs to be built into every incentive plan deployed. There should also be a backup communication scenario: in addition to a team email, the news should also be shared at a full sales team meeting. Print posters and hang them around the office. Send mailers to remote team members. Share it on Slack. Use smoke signals if you have to.

Communicating incentives to your sales team is key if you want to drive sales. So ensure that every time sales incentives or commissions shift, even slightly, you let your team know. And repeat it a few times so they don’t miss it.

The task of communicating incentive requirements often falls to the commission administrator, even if it really should be dealt to an executive or sales manager. That said, Core Reporter can make sharing this information so much easier. For one thing, the tool instantly cuts a commission administrator’s workload by 30% to 50%, giving them time to compose a sales team email with the needed information. But it also allows the email of individualized reports which will outline the incentive goals and an individual’s progress toward them. Those reports can be built with the single click of a button and then emailed with just one more click. 

Right now, if you sign up for Core Reporter, you can get access to robust reporting for three months free. Contact us to get more information.

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