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Sales Compensation

Your sales team exists to drive revenue growth, but it needs to be profitable at the same time. We help companies maximize their sales force investment through competitive benchmarking, incentive plan assessments, incentive plan design, sales plan implementation and advanced sales metrics.

Benchmarking and Competitive Assessments

Establish and refine your internal standards for setting pay, understand the competitive landscape, and identify critical gaps to market

Sales Compensation | Sales Compensation Benchmarking

Sales Compensation Benchmarking

Successful benchmarking efforts start with defining your own standards for pay and performance, and then finding quantitative market data to determine how your company stacks up against its internal definitions of success. Our consultants bring a disciplined approach to identifying the best measures of sales compensation effectiveness for your business, and then leverage the Radford Global Sales Survey to bring highly targeted, data-driven insights to the table. We help clients understand where pay levels are headed, assess the prevalence of key plan design practices and drive strong links between pay and performance.

Sales Compensation Benchmarking | Comprehensive Competitive Assessments

Comprehensive Competitive Assessments

If you're concerned about the overall health of your sales compensation plan or the performance of your sales team, it's time for a comprehensive competitive assessment. Our competitive assessments are designed to help business leaders look beyond metrics to identify the underlying causes of declining sales team performance— including, trouble attracting, retaining and engaging talent, disconnects in pay and performance results and the climbing cost of sales. With every assessment, we deliver a comprehensive report summarizing our methodology, key observations, and recommendations and implications for potential sales compensation plan changes.

Sales Compensation Benchmarking | Incentive Plan Assessments

Incentive Plan Assessments

Assessing the competitive positioning of pay levels is only one aspect of an effective sales incentive plan. To gain a complete view of the effectiveness of your incentive plans, you must also understand the degree to which your plans are engaging, performance-driven and strategically aligned. Our assessment process starts with understanding your company's model for growth and go-to-market strategy. We then engage with your leadership team to gain a cross-functional perspective on sales force effectiveness, and the role sales compensation should play in helping to achieve strategic goals.

From there, we evaluate all of your sales and customer-facing roles for alignment with your business' growth plans and go-to-market strategy, using management interviews and our extensive experience in sales job architecture as guideposts. This work also often includes surveys and interviews with members of the sales force to validate roles, test engagement levels, and gather feedback on sales compensation effectiveness.

Our consultants will also analyze your company's historical data, at both the employee and business level to examine pay-and-performance relationships relative to business goals. This phase of work can include a thorough comparative analysis of your company's pay and incentive plan design practices relative to a custom peer group selected from Radford's global Sales Incentive Plan Practices Survey.

At the end of the day, our multi-phase assessment will help your business identify gaps and build a data-driven, fact-based case for change. We will also meet with your leadership team to discuss our findings and the implications of recommended changes, plus start the process of facilitating buy-in from key parties, including HR, finance, sales leadership, and sales operations


Sales Incentive Plan Design

Deploy a structured and repeatable process for researching, designing, testing, and securing approval for your company's next sales incentive plan

Sales Incentive Plan Design | Designing for Success

Designing for Success

Every design engagement begins with understanding your company's process for managing sales incentive plans, and the key stakeholders involved along the way. This leads to the creation of a cross-functional design team comprised of the people in your company best positioned to evaluate and decide on plan changes. Through a series of strategic sessions with the design team, we develop design principles, which serve as the foundation for selecting plan design components. We also confirm the profile of each sales and support role, and each role's alignment with the company's strategic goals, which helps guide decisions on target pay, pay mix and performance measures.

Once your company's core design principles are in place, we test the potential impact of plan design changes by modeling aggregate and employee-level payouts under different performance scenarios. We then compare our experimental payouts with historical results and expected revenue associated with each performance scenario. With multiple pay-for-performance scenarios in hand, we then evaluate sales leadership perceptions of proposed changes and gauge sales manager readiness to support those changes.

As a final step, we also assist in securing executive approval of proposed plan changes by developing a business case and presenting market data on best practices and competitiveness. Our deliverables typically include:

  • Detailed incentive plan specifications for each unique job role;
  • Dynamic workbooks for employee- and enterprise cost modeling; and
  • Templates to support the implementation process.


Sales Plan Implementation

Ensure your well-crafted sales compensation plans have a positive and long-lasting impact on your sales force and the larger business

Sales Compensation | Sales Plan Implementation

Education and Change Management

Any change to an employee pay program, no matter how well-crafted, can backfire if it's implemented poorly. And when it comes to your sales team, that can result in stalled growth and a spike in cost of sales. Yet, at the same time, when a new sales incentive plan is implemented with care, it can restore focus and renew profitable growth. With years of plan design and implantation experience, we understand the principles behind an effective rollout.

We'll guide your team through every step of the process— from creating and confirming your communications strategy to building and managing your implementation plan to developing documents and monitoring engagement. We can also help train your managers to deliver a consistent message on the benefits of change. Our deliverables typically include:

  • A communications strategy and road map;
  • Comprehensive plan documents, including program terms and conditions;
  • Management training presentations; and
  • Incentive earnings calculators.


Beyond Pay: Managing Growth

Install the job architecture, career leveling, and sales role profiling systems you need to scale your sales force and manage rapid growth

Sales Compensation | Beyond Pay: Managing Growth

Career Opportunities Matter

Increasingly, sales professionals cite career advancement as a top source of engagement, ahead of compensation and their relationships with managers. While many of our clients can demonstrate impressive growth records and a strong product development pipeline, they've neglected to create compelling career roadmaps for their sales people. Ultimately, this leads to frustration and turnover, especially among high-potentials.

Using the Radford Global Sales Survey as our guide, we develop job architectures with the flexibility to adapt to your changing business needs. Whether you're a pre-commercial biotechnology firm getting ready to bring a drug to market, a successful software start-up, or established public company looking to advance revenue growth, we'll create the job definitions, role profiles and career leveling criteria you need to scale and optimize your sales organization. Our deliverables typically include:

  • Sales and customer service career maps;
  • Job descriptions for sales, sales management and sales leadership roles;
  • Job leveling criteria; and
  • Options for scaling your sales organization based on industry best practices and growth trends.


Advanced Analytics

Leverage Radford’s market-leading datasets to benchmark the structure of your workforce and understand critical compensation spend metrics

Sales Compensation | Advanced Analytics

Turn Insight Into Action

The Radford Global Workforce Analytics platform allows participating clients to benchmark workforce design and critical sales metrics like never before. Our analyses have helped clients identify where their sales organizations are over-leveled and inefficient, and where they lag behind peers in deploying sales talent around the globe. We can answer questions like:

  • Do we have too many layers of management for a company of our size?
  • Is our ratio of managers to individual contributors high relative to the market?
  • Is the mix of our field to inside sales, or sales to pre-sale engineers appropriate given our company’s industry and stage of growth?
  • When we double in size and add two more products, how should we structure our sales organization?

From pinpointing cost control issues to planning for growth, our analytics help clients make the most of their investment in sales talent.