There are specific facts and points one must consider when trying when trying to sell a plan to salespeople. To create market demand and sell products, salespeople are depended upon by sales organization today to achieve this market input/output. This is an essential part of how the system works in most marketing environments, especially in Business-2-Business (B2B) situations.
Also, the maturity cycle and selling model of the company significantly affects whether salespeople are required to push the company’s agenda. Some companies are old enough with enough publicity on their products not to need a large sales force to create awareness about them. Sales management is an integral part of a company as it assists in steering the sales behaviors of consumers in a specific direction that benefits the sales motivation plan.
To understand salespeople, it must be taken into consideration that they exude emotions about matters which affect them. Their behavior is affected by these matters, especially in a case where there are incentives involved for them to benefit from financially. And if there happens to be an unfavorable situation involving them, which can affect them negatively, they tend to feel emotions of disappointment, betrayal, and anger.
Take a case scenario, for example;
The management makes reviews in the New Year, which are aimed at adjusting to the new needs of the company. In actuality, it shows a drop in the commissions paid for the same objectives that the salespeople had before. Questions will arise which almost always include:
How would the sales force feel about such changes?
If the impact of the changes is quite huge, it is right to think that the reaction of the sales force would be to start searching for new jobs immediately.
What do you think was done wrong?
For the sales force to buy into the new sales compensation plan, they should be issued an explanation describing the reasons behind such changes. It would be naïve to think that the sales force would understand the motivation behind the changes right away without them being addressed. Not explaining these changes to the sales force or changing some things about the reviews to put the sales force in a favorable situation would most definitely cause disorder.
Another problem to consider and a quite serious one at that;
To achieve a firm’s objectives, a sales strategy is needed, which comes with a sales compensation plan for the sales force to benefit from. A fair amount of time is required for the sales manager to carefully evaluate a system that they believe is right for the alignment of every goal. The sales management work alongside the incentives design team to put all the necessary variables into consideration to formulate a plan that aims to propel sales behaviors to specific sales actions. A lot of hard work is required to design a system that serves its purpose. It would be a waste for the salespeople to neglect the system by acting and making decisions without a pattern.
Pitching the system to the sales force:
This is the most crucial step in implementing a system because designing a plan would be pointless without an effective means of executing it. For proper execution, the plan must be well-communicated to the sales force for them to fully grasp the concept and motives surrounding it. This means the whole plan should be carefully explained to the sales force, including all the key and minor parts of it.
A few key points should be included as part of the message the management needs to pass across to the sales force for their agenda to be better understood. Some of these questions and answers should be addressed:
- Why are these changes being made now, and how urgent are these changes needed?
- What are the tactical motives behind these changes, and why they matter to the management?
- Why should every salesperson get behind these changes and accept the changes made in the incentives plan? Take a situation where the system used to reward the salespeople based on increments in revenue but now bases its rewards on incentives. These changes tend to be substantial, and the company should explain the reasons behind such changes.
What are the new goals and objectives of the company that needs to be communicated to the salespeople?
- How can the sales individual benefit from these changes? Most changes are usually not taken positively by the sales force, especially in cases where there is a reduction in rewards or gain to them.
- What are the new changes to the Terms and Conditions section of the plan? These should be clearly addressed and visible for the sales force to see in a document. The financial changes made to their income or gains should also be clarified. Also, they should know how the new system works with their current output.
The motivation system is a matter that must not be taken lightly as this significantly affects the effectiveness of the sales force. This is because the rewards that come from the compensation plan are something that the sales force relies upon hugely as a way to sustain their way of life.
The variable aspect of a sales individual’s target rewards are usually high and an integral part of the person’s income. The salesforce should be made to feel like a part of the process and not just a bystander to ensure fairness, which often greatly motivates their behavior. If a system were ever made to feel unfavorable to them, they would lose the zeal to push the company’s agenda or, in some cases, leave the company.
All these are factors that should not be taken with levity because leaving the system up to interpretation by the sales force can prove chaotic and affect the output of the company generally. Changes in any plan regarding the sales force should be pitched to them efficiently and effectively, leaving no room whatsoever for interpretation.