By Gianina Garcia
Are you looking to dramatically grow sales within your organization? If so, the first step is attracting a killer sales team that will drive your success. In order to do so, and be able to secure sales associates that are worth their weight in gold, your organization needs an enticing and lucrative sales commission structure that will reward and appropriately compensate employees for their skills, talent, and hard work.
Your commission structure needs to attract exceptional candidates that will thrive in a commission based environment and ones that know in their heart that they can perform. Here is a list of five tips to help you design a powerful commission structure and develop a winning team that will accelerate your organization’s sales:
1. Design your Organizational Culture
The foundation of any successful team starts first and foremost with the Organizational Behaviour of your business. By setting a standard that embraces collaborative effort, you can steer emphasis towards valuing team spirit and cooperation to create a cohesive group that is aligned and focused on long-term success as a whole.
By fostering an environment where team members feel supported by one another and not concerned that their leads or clients can be stolen, you set the grounds for continuous growth. By encouraging employees and sales managers to share best practices and successful techniques, your entire team will develop and strengthen together. Associates that feel that they can ask for help or have confidence that another team member will properly handle their clients in their absence, develop a deep rooted trust in their co-workers and company which positively fosters loyalty. A happy employee is a happy salesperson.
2. Cultivate an Ownership Environment
When employees are invested and feel personally connected to their organization, they perform exceptionally well. Although every business is not capable of providing stock options to each and every employee, a profit sharing plan should be part of every associate’s compensation package, regardless of whether they are front-line or selling. For your admin and support associates, incorporate at least 10 percent commission into their salary as an incentive to exceed plans and targets. With all employees working together to succeed as a whole, your result is a collaborative team focused on revenue growth and a strong feeling of ownership within the company.
3. Provide Training and Encourage Commitment
For your sales associates to be successful, they need thorough training and ongoing professional development. Training needs to include a detailed review of your products and services as well as ensuring that your employees understand the full lifecycle of your product and your organization’s process from the initial development to backend support to service guarantees. In addition, they should understand who your customers are and what influences them. By being able to identify your proper target market and armed with an overview of how previous customers have purchased in the past, your sales associates will be able to qualify quality leads and convert into sales.
Sales positions can have high attrition rates or attract individuals that are just seeking a side income. Encourage commitment by offering additional opportunities or company based benefits such as recurring commissions for retained clients.
4. Use a 90/10 Commission Structure
When you have a team of sales associates confident in their ability to produce, set the commission bar to a 90/10 percent ratio. It’s dramatic and many people will not be cut out to perform on such a volatile structure, but the associates that are attracted to a high, uncapped commission earnings are the ones that will consistently perform their best. You want the sales associates that are good at what they do, know that they are amazing at what they do and have a competitive passion for succeeding.
5. Hire People Who Want to Grow and Reward
The old rule of thumb when it comes to managing a sales team is ‘Hire slowly and fire fast.’ Good salespeople are expensive but they deliver results. Seek candidates that have passion within and are eager to reach new target levels and gain experience. A successful associate needs to be extremely comfortable working on the front lines of your organization, watching and assisting customers using your product, listening to customers comments and most importantly asking for constructive feedback to facilitate their growth. They also need to be excited – about your product or service, about how customers will love it and maintain their enthusiasm day in and day out.
To reward such an associate, design a tiered commission structure that is transparent and will drive your employees towards specific targets and sales thresholds. For example, if you have a certain commission payout for monthly sales ranging from $25,000 to $50,0000 and a higher commission percent for sales above the $50,000 mark, reward the associates that exceeded by paying the higher multiplier for their entire sales amount, not just the portion above the $50,000 target. It costs more as an employer but it incentivizes your team to continually sell and exceed.
Also, design your commission structure to begin fresh each and every month. All sales reps will start on the same footing and it avoids a strong or week sales period affecting employees future months.
By building a successful sales team that has competitive as well as collaborative spirit, and ensuring that management recognizes and acknowledges the results of your associates no matter how big or small, you set the stage for accelerated sales growth. With a powerful commission structure that encourages and highly rewards performance, you will have a cohesive team that is the absolute best of the best.
One final important note regarding commission tips is never to set a cap on earnings. Capping commissions is a motivation killer and basically gives the message to your associate to stop selling. With a well-designed commission structure, the sky should be the limit to encourage associates to keep selling and converting new business. A happy sales person is a powerful salesperson and that is what drives your bottom line.
Gianina Garcia is a blogger for HaveBIGplans.com. Founded with the mission to promote economic growth by helping small business owners, especially women, to build a business that fuels their soul and their bank account, Have BIGplans works with businesses large and small, new and established, in many different industries.