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Sales departments are often among the most disrupted within any business in times of crisis. Targets, plans, territories, and pricing structures may change overnight, sending teams into turmoil.

As a core function to keep the business operating smoothly, sales compensation management software can be a key tool for helping the company to plan and execute its crisis response strategy. Key areas to consider include:

  • sales team morale and retention
  • top and bottom line concerns
  • operational continuity
  • ability to rebound after the crisis

Business continuity plans may address operational continuity to a degree, but often the fallback plans are not optimal, and all of the above areas are critical to the ongoing health and viability of the business.

The mechanics of motivation and retention

In exceptional circumstances such as the current pandemic, sales reps may not be able to meet the targets that were set during normal times, which affects their compensation and creates motivational and flight risk. While many firms understand the need to adjust plans and targets, system limitations can make that an arduous process. Your compensation management system should enable you as a compensation administrator to:

  • easily re-allocate quotas and adjust territories
  • create models and simulations based on different forecasts
  • identify at-risk employees
  • quickly roll out new plans to re-prioritize selling behaviors

The ability to accomplish these tasks smoothly and efficiently can mean the difference between effective realignment and chaos. Execution is everything.

Optimizing compensation spending

When times are tight, it is more important than ever to be on top of your compensation strategy and control your costs. You need to understand what is going on in the business—so that you can make the right strategic decisions.

  • Do you have the data and tools to analyze compensation effectiveness so you know where you are getting value for your investment and where, perhaps, you are not?
  • Can you analyze your pay scales for internal fairness and competitiveness against market benchmarks?
  • Can you predict what will happen to your compensation costs based on various projections of business results?

Keeping sales compensation running smoothly

Sales operations teams have to consider how things will continue to operate if employees are forced to work remotely, or if there is a high absence rate due to illness or other factors. On top of all the business impacts of a crisis like a pandemic, you don’t want a disruption in the running of a system as important as compensation. Some questions to consider include:

  • Can all of your sales comp processes be managed remotely by sales ops and sales managers? 
  • Will employees have continued access to their compensation plans, performance results, commission statements, total rewards statements, and compensation processes, even if working remotely? 
  • Do your processes for performance and compensation review allow a manager to delegate his/her role in the system in case of absence? 

Getting back to normal

After the crisis you want to be ready to revert back to normal processes, or rolling out new plans to adjust to a new normal. In any case, your compensation management software should enable you to:

  • Quickly revert back to the normal sales plans, or roll out new ones
  • Quickly reinstate prior quotas, or roll out new/revised ones
  • Selectively change strategies across your different global markets

To understand how a compensation management system can provide the tools you need to weather a crisis, download the free eGuide, Agile HR: How to Adapt Strategy, Motivate Performance, and Optimize Comp Spend through Periods of Change.

Download the Agile HR eGuide