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2008 Strategic Sales Compensation Survey

Not Yet SPOT On: Sales force leadership plagued by poor performance, plan complexity


At a time when global markets are more competitive than ever and U.S. firms are struggling with an economic slowdown, the financial success of major companies will rely even more than before on the effectiveness of their sales forces. How are those sales organizations doing? Are companies “hitting the spot” in terms of enabling the level of sales performance to which they have aspired for several years? Deloitte’s 2008 Strategic Sales Compensation Survey, cosponsored by Oracle, provides some answers.

The outlook seems decidedly mixed. Even though the survey revealed a number of improvements in plan design blocking and tackling since our 2006 survey, there have also been few to no improvements made in other significant areas that support sales compensation plans. Accordingly, there has been an overall drop in sales leaders’ general satisfaction with their plans and their performance.  

Chart - levels of satisfaction

The survey shows that less than half (49 percent) of the sales leaders surveyed are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their sales force performance and less than half (46 percent) believe their sales compensation plan is sufficiently driving the right selling behaviors. Poor performance and compensation plan complexity may be culprits in this dissatisfaction, despite recent efforts at improvement.

Moreover, the survey finds that some current trends are likely to move sales plans, and how they are administered, in the wrong direction: toward more complexity.

What can be done?

The survey examined four areas of sales force effectiveness — including Strategy, Processes, Organization and Technology — and found that companies may be able to improve performance by taking a broader view of sales planning and focusing on processes and technological improvements, without adding complexity. The survey proposes a “SPOT” check system that can help organizations improve their sales operations by asking the following questions:

  • What is the S trategy for the plan design’s metrics and mechanics?
  • What P rocesses are used to administer the sales compensation plan?
  • How is the company O rganized to support the sales compensation plan?
  • How is the T echnology infrastructure deployed to support sales plan administration?

Download the report and read more about the “SPOT” check system and what it can mean for sales force effectiveness by downloading the report below.

Related Content:
Resources:  Sales Force Effectiveness Framework
Overview:  Channel & Sales Force Effectiveness 

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