8 years ago
April 18, 2016

5 Things to Ask about Sales Compensation before You Begin Recruiting

For your sales recruitment process to be successful, you have to carefully consider many factors, like the sales compensation plan. Learn more.

Rhys Metler


Before you begin your sales recruitment process, you have to get all of your ducks in a row. In particular, you need to think long and hard about the sales compensation that you’re looking to offer the new sales people you hire. If your compensation package is too low, you won’t attract top talent. If it’s too high, you’ll be wasting money. And aside from the dollar value of your compensation package, there are other factors to consider, too.

The compensation you offer your sales team could mean the difference between success and failure. It can mean the difference between making a profit and being in the red. And it will absolutely mean the difference between a quality sales team and a mediocre one that doesn’t perform optimally.

So before you start your sales recruitment process, consider these questions about your sales compensation plan.

1. Will you offer only a salary, only commission, or both?

In sales recruitment, you can use different types of sales compensation plans to attract new sales people. Your choices are more varied than with other types of positions. It’s common to only offer a salary for the work being done, but will that motivate your new recruits to exceed quotas?

 You can offer straight commission, but this could scare away top talent because of the lack of stability. On the other hand, it could attract the overachievers who want to be in control of how much money they make, without a cap.

Or, you can offer a base salary with commission on top if certain goals are met.

In addition, you can include other bonuses and incentives to your compensation plan.

Before you start the sales recruitment process, you need to think about the type of compensation you want to offer for your open positions, and what type of sales people you think this will attract.

2. Does the compensation you plan to offer integrate into your company’s business goals?

Your organization has specific sales performance goals. Perhaps you want to expand your sales into new territories or markets. Or perhaps you want to concentrate on upselling or cross-selling to current customers. Whatever your goals are, your compensation plan should reflect them. Your incentives and bonuses should be based on motivating your new sales people to help you meet your company objectives.

3. Is your sales compensation plan measurable?

In order to ensure that the compensation you provide your new recruits is effective, you must implement evaluation tools to measure their performance against your goals. If you want to increase your sales in a specific area by a specific percentage, then you need to set means of measuring how the sales people are progressing and when they can expect to meet all of their levels of compensation and/or reward. Your evaluation tools should be clear and concise as well as fair.

4. Is your compensation plan motivating?

The most high-performing sales teams are the ones that are motivated to exceed sales quotas. Though many sales people are intrinsically motivated to go above and beyond, others will be motivated by monetary incentives, like bonuses offered for outstanding performance. Before you go out and recruit, make sure that your plan offers some type of rewards for exceptional personal and team performance.

5. Will your new recruits understand your compensation plan?

Your sales compensation plan should be clearly stated in your job description as part of your sales recruitment process. After all, this is one of the most important pieces of information you can give candidates. Unfortunately, though, if your plan is too complicated for the candidates to follow, you’re going to risk losing out on top talent. Make sure all information related to your goals, how they can be achieved, and how they are tied to compensation are clearly stated.


Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.