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Tip: Get Input from Sales Reps Before a Compensation Change

August 29, 2012

You don’t want to ask salespeople whether they make too much or too little: We all know how they’ll answer that question. But asking whether your company’s pay structure is an obstacle to taking advantage of opportunities in their markets may be more fruitful than you might expect.

In a recent MDM interview on redesigning sales compensation plans, Mike Emerson says that the simple act of asking for input will help with buy-in when you launch a new plan. “People don’t like things being done to them. They like things being done with them,” he says.

Emerson has said that companies are often nervous about changing sales compensation plans for many reasons, top among them fear that today’s dissatisfaction may be better than what would happen after a change.

As Tony Pericle said back in a 2005 MDM article: “Usually our clients stay away from compensation because it affects the lifeblood of the company,” he said. “And if you get the sales reps upset with you, you can have serious issues.”

You can smooth the way, however. Getting sales reps involved doesn’t mean you build the plan with the reps. But if they’re asked for input, they’ll be able to see their ideas integrated into the plan because you’ll be addressing their concerns, Emerson said.

Read more: Get Strategic Clarity Before a Sales Compensation Change

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