The importance of a masterful compensation plan rollout cannot be understated.
It’s essential to use clear and effective communication throughout the process so reps fully understand the comp plan design and any changes. This builds trust and helps avoid any surprises while creating enthusiasm and acceptance around their new plan.
Timing is critical too.
Avoid waiting until your SKO to share a new comp plan with reps. You take a huge risk when reps hear about their new comp plan for the first time just at the SKO. There is too much going on at this event for them to fully digest the information, increasing the chances of misunderstandings and unanswered questions that leave reps frustrated and demotivated. This is especially true if reps feel that the plan will negatively impact their paychecks or don’t see how it relates to their new goals.
For suggestions and best practices around planning, setting the agenda, and filling your event with meaningful messaging and team-building experiences, read our latest guide.Access Full Guide
This blog unveils the pre-SKO steps to take to ensure your team understands the incoming changes, as well as what to cover during the compensation plan-dedicated session at the SKO and what to do after.
Rollout and Communication Best Practices
Keep these best practices in mind to boost the success of your comp plan rollout.
1. Communicate the same message every time you review the plan. This prevents uncertainty and misinterpretations.
2. Use multiple formats to explain the new plan. These might include written documents, an explainer video, 1:1 conversations, and group presentations. This increases understanding while allowing multiple opportunities for reps to present their questions and receive immediate responses.
3. Proceed from general to detailed messaging. Begin with a broad overview of the plan as you introduce it to the whole sales force. Then share more specific details as you speak with increasingly smaller groups or 1:1.
4. Produce a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document. Share it with plan documents to answer common questions and accelerate plan understanding.
5. Share various calculation examples. Include this information in your plan documents or give the sales team forecasting software that calculates earnings for each opportunity in the pipeline. This type of tool answers questions while boosting clarity and understanding of the plan.
6. Communicate the reasons for plan changes and how the company plans to support reps through these changes. This information helps reps understand, accept, and become enthusiastic about the new plan.
7. Highlight the advantages of the new plan. Your reps want to know how to optimize their earnings and why they should be excited about the new plan. If you’re a QuotaPath customer, you can model how much they’ll make and accelerator tipping points.
8. Plan documents need to balance detail with clarity and brevity. Keep comp plan documentation as brief as possible but clearly provide sufficient details.
9. Avoid confusing jargon. Plan documentation must be understandable so reps don’t feel you’re concealing information. This can reduce trust in the plan and management.
10. Explain how achievement relates to earnings. For example, show reps how you will gauge performance, weighted elements, and how to calculate commissions. Better yet, use QuotaPath to automate commission tracking and give your reps visibility into their earnings and attainment.
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Give reps a preview of upcoming changes ahead of the SKO so they don’t hear about them for the first time at the event. Reps will be more enthusiastic about the new plan when they have received more details and answers to their questions.
Here’s an example of the steps you can take to introduce the new plan before the SKO.
First, senior sales management should provide a high-level review of the new plan and the roll-out process. The goal of this presentation is to create initial excitement as the entire sales force engages in the first steps of the roll-out process. Send a follow-up email to the sales organization recapping what was covered.
If time permits, one-on-one plan reviews should follow the organization-wide high-level review. Ensure your reps understand how the new plan affects them and give the reps an opportunity to ask their questions.
Finally, consider launching a Slack channel or forum to host questions and feedback directly from reps. This allows reps to present their lingering questions and input concerning the new plan. Be responsive in the comments and watch for good ideas while explaining why you can’t implement the bad ones.
SKO Comp Session
Once the sales team has previewed the new comp plan collectively and individually, it’s time for the next step in the rollout process.
This is a dedicated session at the SKO, which we recommend should be led by your VP of RevOps or Sales. The purpose of this presentation is to deepen the reps’ understanding and alignment with your organization’s goals and how they relate to their performance and compensation.
This method creates a seamless transition to a successful SKO and enables your sales team to get the most from the learning, cooperation, and motivation ahead.
This session should touch on:
- Your North Star metric or focus goals
- Discuss how your team’s work connects to and supports those metrics or goals
- Share comp plan calculation examples
- Tie specific rep/team goal achievements to organizational goal achievements
- Highlight types of support being provided to support the team in hitting those targets
- Allow time for a Q&A
- Establish and share well-defined timelines of the comp plan start date
- Review the commission payment process
Remember, it’s important to continue communication around compensation following the SKO to answer remaining rep questions, ensure understanding, and continue building enthusiasm for the new comp plan.
Here are some key steps you can take to accomplish these goals.
Collect sign-off on compensation structures: Plan verification or re-verification is an essential step where reps confirm their understanding of the plan by signing off on it. This step can be completed by using DocuSign, via email, in person, or with our in-app Plan Verification feature.
Provide visibility into the reps’ compensation structures: Give reps a way to reference plans, calculate commissions, and see progress toward goals. You can create the plan in QuotaPath for free and share it with reps to boost and accelerate their understanding of how to optimize their earnings.
Continue to foster feedback and host one-on-ones with reps: For example, our VP of RevOps, Ryan Milligan likes to use the following questions during one-on-ones to invite comp plan feedback:
- Do you feel this comp plan is fair? Why or why not.
- Are you incentivized? Why or why not.
- Do you understand how you’re paid?
Pro tip – as a revenue leader, ask yourself the same questions as if you were a rep.
You should also encourage reps to present additional questions via private chat, email, or phone. Taking these steps is essential to ensure reps understand the plan.
Lastly, ask reps to tell you how they are paid: Another way to confirm or reinforce rep understanding of the new comp plan is to provide specific deal examples and have them calculate their earnings. For instance, if you sell a 2-year agreement worth $20,000 but haven’t hit your accelerator yet, how much would you earn in commissions?
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Achieve comp plan rollout success
Your compensation rollout directly affects how effectively it drives business goal achievement. When the rollout is successful, your team understands the new plan, why the previous plan was changed, and how the plan aligns with North Star metrics and business goals. When reps understand and embrace the new plan, it motivates and excites them to drive desired results.
By contrast, a rollout done poorly has the opposite impact, resulting in confusion, misunderstanding, demotivation, frustration, and missed goals.
For comp plan rollout success, use consistent messaging and various forms of communication, and start with a broad overview, transitioning to more details as the group you’re addressing becomes smaller. The more information you can provide in a clear and concise method, the better your reps will understand the plan and embrace it.