In the fall 2011, Wilson Group conducted a survey to determine the most prevalent features and attributes of sales incentive plans.  Information was collected from 16 companies that are either based or have significant operations in the New England region.  In addition:

  • Participants primarily come from two industries – technology (41% ) and consumer products/retail (47%). Manufacturing and distribution companies make up the other 11% of the participants.
  • The type of companies are public sector (41%),  private (41%), or (18%) comprised of subsidiaries of larger companies.
  • Average revenues of participating companies are $2.2B.
  • Approximately 10% of their employees are in the sales function in these companies.
  • Total compensation paid to sales people reflects about 26% of total payroll in these companies.

Survey participants shared what they believed were the most effective features of their sales compensation plans. This is important because these elements reflect what people believe to be their own “best practices” and provide a competitive advantage to their company. The features were:

  1. Separate monthly targets
  2. The aggressive commission rates
  3. The commissions that are structured by account with include performance kickers
  4. The combination of commission rate accelerators and bonus payouts for high performance
  5. The simplicity of the plan
  6. The degree to which people understand the plan because of its effective communication
  7. Paying commissions for products and add-on bonuses for selling services that support the products
  8. No caps on earning – unlimited earnings
  9. The use of multiple accelerators
  10. The use of income stability through competitive base salaries combined with commission incentives – the upside is capped and the downside is managed

For a detailed report of total survey findings, the survey can be purchased in the Surveys and Reports for Purchase section of our website