“Compensation is like the background music in a movie. You notice it if it's really bad, but you don't notice it if it's really good. That's the way the compensation really should be.”
As an experienced leader in sales development, Graham shares tips and tricks for a smooth compensation plan rollout. Since compensation changes can severely disrupt a sales team, his key insights focus on timing and delivery.
Graham is currently at QuotaPath helping salespeople understand their compensation. Prior to that, he spent a number of years working in the public relations software industry as a sales rep, sales manager, and director of SDR. He's passionate about sales compensation, SDR work, sales management, craft beer, woodworking, and petting dogs.
Trinity: Welcome to the First 100 Days, a show for revenue practitioners by revenue practitioners, giving you unscripted access and exclusive resources to help you navigate any new transition or initiative. I'm your host Trinity Nguyen, from UserGems. For this week's two episodes, we're asking Graham Collins for tips around compensations.
Graham is Head of Growth and a resident sales nerd at QuotaPath, a compensation solution. If you're in a revenue role, ditch the spreadsheets and check our QuotaPath for a stress-free way to track and pay commissions. For today's episode, Graham gives some advice to sales leaders joining a new company, how to balance the positive and negative changes and find that air quote "golden lining" when it comes to making changes to the compensation plans.
Graham: A lot of times a new sales leader comes in and immediately changes the comp plan. I think that's a mistake. There's a lot of other things that are changing and unless your reps aren't making any money, don't come in and just change it immediately because you're more likely to ruffle feathers than anything.
Yeah, compensation is incredibly important. It's like background music in a movie. You notice it if it's really bad, but you don't notice it if it's really good and that's the way the compensation really should be like. You should not, shouldn't notice a really good comp plan, but you will notice a really bad comp plan.
It's a delicate balance of like, okay, let's make a comp plan that's simple enough to understand and explain, that pays people fairly, that's logical and let's set it and forget it and let the business run itself without having to constantly think about the comp plan. When it comes to changes in, really across the board, trying to roll out a purely negative change is just a recipe for disaster.
So an important thing is trying to find the golden lining, if you will, or silver lining. If you can find a golden lining, go for it. A silver lining behind it. This often comes up when people talk about making compensation plan changes. I always tell people to have a good and a bad part of your compensation plan change, because if you don't have a bad part of a change, if it's purely good, people will find a bad part of the change.
They'll say like, Oh man, they're trying to take advantage of me somehow. Oh, the quote is going down and you're increasing my base salary and you're increasing my commission rate. Like where's the catch here? And so the same can be said for purely negative. If all you're doing is rolling out a negative change, then you need to figure out why you're doing that because there can't be a good reason for it. And so even if it's, Hey, we're, we're, yeah – I'm trying to come up with the worst possible situation – we're laying off half of the team here, or two thirds of the team, but the reason that we're doing it is because it will allow the organization to stick around.
Those of you who are still here in the room are the ones who are going to continue to have a role because of these layoffs. Because of this, we're able to dedicate more resources into coaching you and guiding you and ensuring your success. So when you have to make those unpopular changes, you have to give a justification behind it.
Give the why, and try to find a silver lining for it.
Trinity: Do you have a note of encouragement or insights to share? Email me and we'll get you on the show at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening.