Following on from yesterday’s post – “Our Research Indicates …” in which I took issue with an article by Messrs Adamson, Dixon and Toman of CEB, today I want to tackle another point raised in that same piece of work, Why Individuals No Longer Rule on Sales Teams
I quote ….
“As organizations have begun to see the benefits of collaboration, they’ve also, unsurprisingly, started to change their sales incentives and reward systems. For instance, the sales function at Microchip, a global leader in semiconductors, has jettisoned the traditional highly leveraged variable comp plans based on individual performance. Instead, it’s taking an approach that looks strikingly similar to what you’d find elsewhere in the company: competitive base salaries coupled with a small variable component based on company and unit performance. The results? Record growth and profitability, increased rep engagement, and near-zero attrition.”
To be fair, the authors do not really make a case, but they simply illustrate what one company is putting into practice, and suggest that we all might follow. I beg to differ. From experience, I know that flat compensation plans do not work, because the reality is, as Orwell says in Animal Farm “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others” That is to say, in any sales team – in fact in any sort of team – there will be high achievers, low achievers, and what I term “plodders”
By rewarding them all in the same way, simply retards the high achievers and masks – or over-rewards – under achievement. The plodders, will usually perform to the same standard or level, however you compensate them. But we should not devalue this last group, because they deliver consistently, if never spectacularly.
As managers, our task is to elicit the maximum output from every single member of our team and achieve optimum performance, and we can only do this by understanding that they are all individuals, and each of them is motivated differently. A “one-size fits all” approach is simply not good enough, and frankly, is a cop-out at best, and negligent at worst.
Over the past 30 years, I have spoken, and indeed written an awful lot about the 8 key motivating factors, and again, they are, in no particular order …
• Relationship with manager
• Acceptance by peer group
• Job content
• Financial motives
• Recognition and praise
For motivation, you can read “attitude” – how critical is the right attitude? Within my formula: Attitude + Skills + Process + Knowledge = Success, attitude is fundamental to any achievement, because individuals with the right attitude are far more likely to embrace the essential skills, recognize the control that process brings and have the desire to continually expand their knowledge.
Let me end today’s post by dispelling a common myth. The most successful frontline sales professionals on the planet are NOT motivated by financial reward, but rather by achievement. They understand, that in the right environment, that achievement will be appropriately rewarded, so we can say with total confidence, today’s sales superstars are ” Motivated by Achievement and Stimulated by Compensation”