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Key Success Factors to Gaining C-Suite Buy-In for New Sales Compensation Plans

May 30, 2018  |   Compensation,Uncategorized   |     |   Comments Off on Key Success Factors to Gaining C-Suite Buy-In for New Sales Compensation Plans

rawpixel-651373-unsplashGaining C-Suite buy-in to new sales compensation plans is one of the last steps before implementing new plans. However, we would first recommend to “begin with the end in mind,” as Stephen Covey recommends in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

It’s not just the preparation for that final approval meeting that is important. The approach you take from the very beginning of the sales compensation project is critical to getting C-suite approval at the end of the project.

Key Success Factors

Following are some key success factors we recommend to help ensure C-Suite buy-in of your new sales compensation plans:

1. The first step in your sales compensation design process should be to interview all C-suite executives to gain their feedback on the current plans, and explore their ideas and vision for the new plans. It is critical to gaining the C-suite executives’ collective agreement on a set of guiding principles for the new sales compensation design. These guiding principles will serve as a guidepost throughout the design process.

2. The C-suite executives should either be directly involved in the design sessions, or have their delegates involved to voice their priorities and opinions throughout the design process. A strong cross-functional design team with executive leadership involvement is critical.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Keeping the C-suite executives informed throughout the process is critical to getting their final approval. Periodic weigh-ins with draft plans and opportunities for the executives to provide input and feedback is really important and key to a successful buy-in. Transparent communications throughout the process ensures that there are no surprises, and increases the likelihood of approval.

4. Clearly demonstrate how the plans are aligned to the business strategies.

5. Demonstrate that the new plans drive higher levels of sales force engagement and motivation than the current plans. This means that the plans should provide upside opportunities for the strongest performers to earn 2-3x their target incentive.

6. Clearly demonstrate the plans are externally competitive to ensure that they will help to attract and retain top talent.

7. Provide savvy financial modeling, including multiple performance scenarios to illustrate the overall cost and ROI to the company, as well as the individual impact to each employee, will help ensure that the C-suite executives have confidence in the financial details behind the new plan. Partner with finance throughout the process to ensure that the financial modeling is done appropriately and that all financial issues are considered. Strong financial modeling will ensure the new plans are cost effective and financially feasible.

8. Finally, keep the final approval meeting presentation simple and concise. The key points should fit on about 10 pages. The executives will have been engaged during the whole process, so think elevator speech for this final meeting. However, you will want to be prepared to answer detailed questions, so put the details in the appendix and be prepared for any and all questions and objections.

Contact Us

Tackling a sales compensation design project is a huge initiative, and can be overwhelming. Sales incentive design is an important function that requires specialized skills to effectively design, implement and administer. BCR has a great deal of experience in working with organizations in improving their sales compensation plans. Reach out to us and we can discuss how we can assist your organization.

Written by: Jill Rea, Consultant

BCR is a local, minority-owned firm with more than 25 years experience in serving non-profit, public, and privately held entities in the key areas of Benefits and Compensation Consulting, Performance Management, Human Resource Organization Development, and Human Resource Information Systems and Processes.

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