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Talent & Recruitment
Feb 7, 2018 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

Recruitment and Talent TRANSCRIPT - Recognition and Rewards: Putting Sales at the Centre of the Success of a Small Business

In the latest episode of the CPSA Recruitment and Talent podcast we'll discuss the importance of rewards and recognition for salespeople in SMBs today.  

We’ll consider what truly motivates salespeople today in small businesses and if it varies by industry or B2C or B2B, what metrics should be considered when setting up salary levels and comp plans and bonuses, what are the recommendations to ensure sales success and top performers are retained, and how should salespeople be recognized socially in a small business and how does that differ from a large enterprise.

Our guest is Kim Benedict, CEO and Co-Founder of TalentMinded.

Listen to this episode of the CPSA Recruitment and Talent Podcast and discover:

* What truly motivates salespeople today in small businesses and if it varies by industry or B2C or B2B

* What metrics should be considered when setting up salary levels and comp plans and bonuses

* What are the recommendations to ensure sales success and top performers are retained

* How should salespeople be recognized socially in a small business and how does that differ from a large enterprise.

Want to hear more? Check out these bonus insights:

* Provide 2 or 3 top tips for rewarding salespeople in small businesses today.

* What truly motivates salespeople today in small businesses? Monetary and non-monetary?

* How should salespeople be recognized socially in a small business?

Read the edited transcription:

Kevin Grossman: Kim, thank you so much for being on the CPSA Recruitment and Talent Podcast. Before we dive into the rest of the show, why don't you tell us a little bit more about who you are and what you do today?

Kim Benedict: Thanks, Kevin. Great to be here. My name is Kim Benedict, and I'm the CEO and Co-founder of TalentMinded, a new breed of recruitment solutions provider. We work all over the world. I have over 20 years' experience in the recruitment industry, and I also am a guest lecturer at the Schulich School of Business here in Toronto, Canada, and support their mini sales leadership MBA program on recruitment in sales.

Kevin Grossman: Excellent. Well, we're going to tap into your recruitment and sales expertise in this podcast today and talk about recognition and rewards, especially in small businesses today when it comes to salespeople. From your experience, Kim, what do you think truly motivates salespeople today in smaller businesses? Does it vary by industry and whether or not you're a B2C or B2B?

Kim Benedict: Yeah. Let me break it down. I think, first of all, what truly motivates salespeople...I think that there is a misperception or a myth in the marketplace that salespeople only care about making money and as much money as they possibly can. I think that's number one, whether you're big or small. That's obviously part of the equation, because you want your salespeople to be motivated by money, but they're also looking for other things.

What we see in our recruitment, some of the things that weigh in on the conversation or weigh in on the decision as leadership, so do we have a strong leadership with a good vision? Can I get behind that vision? Is there a product fit with the market? Where are they at as far as scaling the organization? What is the size of the market? How big is the problem that we're trying to solve? Then, lastly, I think is their untapped potential.

When you think about, does it vary by industry or whether you're B2C or B2B? I do believe that in technology sales, that's probably one of the fastest growing sectors of the industry, and so tech sales is a hot market. I think it varies from that perspective, tech and non-tech. Then, I think there's an increasing gap between B2C and B2B. I think with newer technologies in the market, as a product to sell and how we work within our sales organizations, I think that's going to be a big differentiator or a larger differentiator between what will motivate salespeople and how we compensate them.

Kevin Grossman: Speaking of how we compensate them, again, from your experience, how do you think that we should be setting up comp plans for salespeople in smaller businesses today? Is it based on the total revenue they should be generating for the company? What are some of the factors that should be considered?

Kim Benedict: It's a great question. I think that the total revenue that they should be generating on an annual basis is obviously important. But the things that compensation or what impacts compensation, especially in small businesses, is length of the sales cycle. Is it three months? Is it 12 months? That certainly changes how you structure your commissions. The deal side. Is it a 5k deal? Is it a 250k deal? Is it a hunter role or a farmer role? Are you upselling or is it cold-call new business development, kicking down doors?

I think early stage equity plays a big play. I think, lastly, it would be market share and brand. How strong is that in the marketplace? Is there more support for the salesperson? Can they close deals because it's a later stage and brand is strong, or are you an early adopter and you're disrupting? The effort to reward may be different. I think that those are all the things beyond just one flat revenue number that need to be taken into consideration in how we see deals and commission plans being structured.

Kevin Grossman: Excellent. Now, listen, based on everything that we've talked about so far, what are two or three recommendations from you to ensure sales success and top performers are retained? Should non-monetary incentives be considered?

Kim Benedict: I think, back to my earlier point, it's not always about the money, but that's obviously a significant part of it. Here's my number one thing. If you want to lose your salespeople, change your compensation plan. There are so many times when we talk to CEOs that they have restructured the commission plan, and even though it may be better in the long run for top performers, it's change, and they don't like change.

Secondary to that is changing territories. Often we see turnover or a significant spike in turnover because either the compensation and the territory has changed, or one or the other. When considering the structure of your compensation or commission plans or your territories, is the ROI on the attrition really worth what you will gain in the short term? That would be what I would say is something to think about.

As far as considering non-monetary incentives, I think things that are becoming increasingly important to salespeople, especially in small business and if you're hiring BDRs that have less than two years' experience, which we're seeing an increase of, learning and development. What are the development plans? There's not a lot of certification, like the Schulich MBA program, for sales, like recruitment. There's not a lot of training and development opportunities. What are the learning and development? Will you be providing coaching and mentoring, ongoing, internally and externally? Peer groups. We're seeing an increase in peer-to-peer roundtables in revenue generating like roles, within and maybe by B2C or B2B, meetups and things like that are starting to become just as important as other monetary incentives.

Kevin Grossman: Do you think that's also because of the face time factor when it comes to sales? Well, just meaning just being in person together. You were referencing the events and more peer group interaction. There is a benefit definitely to being there in person, right? Those that are helping you sell as well as those you're selling to.

Kim Benedict: Yeah, I think there's a sharing and an insight. I do believe in building your personal brand as a thought leader in your product or your vertical or your industry if you're looking for maximizing success within a sales position. Things like participating in conferences, from my experience, you always come back with new ideas. Your customer may not always be able to attend those events, and so you become the thought leader and you're sharing, and that helps to position you. I think that those are also non-monetary incentives. Like you say, face time, either within an industry vertical or with like-minded people where you can bring that value back to the conversations that you're having with your customers.

Kevin Grossman: Absolutely. Now, the last thing I want to ask you about, Kim, is when it comes to recognition within the organization, should they be recognized socially internally with their peers and colleagues in a small business? Does that vary at all from different sized businesses, or is it all the same? Should recognition be something that's done internally and socially?

Kim Benedict:  I think any type of recognition is important. We see lots of studies and statistics that talk about recognition broadly within organizations. I think, from a sales perspective, I'm not a fan of more of those boiler room tactics and leaderboards and things like that, which may be considered partially recognition. I think that town halls and communicating especially on deals or stories where salespeople have been involved, I think that just connects people who may not necessarily have direct interaction with the customer and helps drive not just the recognition of the sales efforts, but it also helps individuals within the organization feel secure and stable and that the company is achieving its objectives.

I'm not sure if that necessarily answers your question, but I think this idea of more storytelling as a way of recognizing people, how they've maybe overcome or beat out a big competitor within a deal, I think that those are always...Salespeople are driven by competition that can impact them positively, and so I think that those types of ways of recognizing people in those broader company forums goes a long way. We're still seeing the annual trip for top salespeople. Those are always going to have value and impact just because of the DNA of the role. But I think we're seeing more team sales, and it's just recognizing the effort that goes into closing a large deal within maybe a complex customer situation.

Does it differ in larger organizations? I've only ever worked with a lot of small companies myself as a sales leader, so it's hard for me to comment necessarily on strategies. But I think larger organizations, I think that they're very traditional, and so smaller businesses have opportunities to just get more creative and connect more on a personal level with individuals that are making contributions. It may just be a competitive advantage as opposed to a number.

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