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2013 Strategic Sales Compensation Survey Report

The pay paradox: The missing link in sales compensation


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After several distressing years, the global economy seems to be finally showing positive signs. Of the 300 sales leaders who participated in our survey at organizations across the globe, they appear to be optimistic about where the economy and in turn, their companies, are headed. Even though the recovery may be underway, these leaders are not satisfied with the productivity or performance of their sales forces. Results from the Deloitte Consulting LLP 2013 Strategic Sales Compensation Survey reveal a consistent lack of satisfaction in these areas over the past several years.

To combat this lack of improvement, sales leaders have continuously looked at tweaking or revamping their compensation plans an effort to jump start progress. While, they may be looking for the “perfect” compensation plan to drive the right behaviors and grow sales, unfortunately, evidence shows that such an approach may not provide desired results. Furthermore, frequent changes may inhibit growth and limit visibility into the true effectiveness of the sales force.

Economic recovery underway

In the last two years, more sales leaders have become optimistic about where the economy is heading. Thirty percent (30 percent) of survey respondents believe the recovery has already occurred, while only 17 percent of executives felt that way in 2010. Almost three-quarters of respondents are confident the turnaround will likely occur by the end of next year.

Such optimism suggests corresponding improvements at the organizational level. Conventional wisdom would indicate that during the lean times of the past several years, sales forces have adapted, learning to do more with less and have become well-positioned to exhibit strong performance as the economy continues to improve. Surprisingly, this has not been the case.

Satisfaction levels haven’t improved

Over the last six years, only about half of executives have been satisfied with the productivity levels of their sales force, Source: Deloitte. These not-so-inspiring figures have not seen a bump as confidence in the economic recovery has increased. In 2012, only 50 percent of respondents indicated they were happy with sales productivity.

Although efficiency appears to have increased since the depths of the recession, there is much room for improvement.

Read more about the 2013 Strategic Sales Compensation Survey report.

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