Improving transparency with salespeople

There are a number of ways that salespeople motivate themselves to keep pushing past quotas, but perhaps the most effective method of instigating this feeling is by showing agents how much money they are making. When representatives are paid based on commission, seeing that ever-growing number can help motivate them to strive for more.

"Sales leaders need to help reps know what they'll be bringing home," Xactly CEO Chris Cabrera writes for the Sales 2.0 Conference blog. "They need to know it so they can plan their lives. They also need to know it so they can feel like winners. When commissions are your incentive to do well, paychecks become attaboys. It is a basic way management communicates success to them."

In essence, commissions become one of the greatest sources of feedback for salespeople. Companies need to ensure this information is freely available to their agents. Hiding or making this information difficult to access can actually negatively impact sales team performance. For example, when employees need to track their own commissions, they may end creating their own time-consuming systems.

Chris Cabrera offers three suggestions for keeping motivation high in the sales department.

1. Make quota data available so people can track their success. If agents have specific goals they want to hit, this will make achieving these objectives even easier.

2. Establish transparent payment processes. Salespeople should never have to  wonder whether a commission will be paid on this check or the next. This helps agents plan their lives and enables them to achieve consistency.

"When companies keep incentive information tucked away in complicated, private spreadsheets, it's hard for sales people to know what deal is a winner and what deal isn't," Cabrera added. "When paychecks are late – or, worse yet, incorrect – you've just lost a major opportunity to keep your team highly motivated."

3. Have an agile incentive system. Businesses should be able to adjust their commissions on the fly to provide salespeople with special bonuses and payouts to spur performance.

In the past, it may have been difficult to provide this transparency to agents. Nowadays, however, there are a number of sales performance management (SPM) and incentive compensation management (ICM) tools that businesses can use to improve their commissions and payout processes. By making the investment into these systems, businesses will be able to effectively improve worker satisfaction while also bolstering productivity.