Sales Compensation--Fair Play, Fair Pay
"When a person reaches that point," he says, "you eventually have to add a junior salesperson who has the need and the time to go after new accounts. If you have to manage $10 million, you have so much to manage for what you've sold that you don't have the time to go after new business."
A sales manager for a sheetfed printer in the Boston area provides a more detailed view of how to handle a salesperson who has "zoned out." He feels that if the average salesperson is expected to generate $1 million in sales, then $750,000 in actual sales is unacceptable.
What about the rep who sells the required $1 million, but fails to increase that amount for several years? "If a salesperson has been selling $1 million for three years or more, then he and I would have to plan on how to increase sales by 10 percent," he replies.
On an individual basis, printers and their sales staff can negotiate other options. For instance, the printer may create a special customer service/sales position for a key sales "farmer."
Another sales manager for a sheetfed operation recounts the story of a key salesperson on his staff. "She had reached a plateau because she didn't need the money, didn't like cold calling and wasn't a 'closer.' But she did have a knack for making people feel comfortable."
He is contemplating having her accompany other sales reps on their calls, in addition to maintaining her profitable accounts, since she has become a key customer satisfaction representative.
* Caesar's Writ: The Compensation Document
According to consultants, most printing companies avoid written compensation plans. Without a written agreement, however, management and its salespeople can both incur liability.
"Most companies with $10 million in sales or less do not use a written plan, but I recommend one," attests DeWese. "It should be short enough to write on the back of an envelope and simple enough that the salesperson could go home to his/her spouse and explain it for him/her to understand."