Changes in the company's development stage, changes in sales strategy, high staff turnover, a drop in sales performance
As you can see, there are many reasons for changing the commission plan for sales teams!
And whatever the reason, the last step to be taken to make this new commission plan a real success is its presentation, its communication to the employees concerned.
☝️ This step is essential and must be carried out with a firm hand. Otherwise, the commission plan is doomed to failure because it will not be understood and adopted by the teams. According to a survey, 46% of business and sales managers believe that their commission scheme is not likely to retain top talent. For example, the management of commission at the insurance group Macif has caused a wave of discontent and frustration among employees.
So to avoid this situation, and thus take advantage of all the benefits promised by commissions, i.e. improved sales performance, reduced turnover, a source of attractiveness, etc., you need to be able to communicate your new commission plan. Qobra's experts present you with their advice and the steps to follow in order to communicate a new commission plan!
1. Communicate at the beginning and throughout the project
If the implementation of a new commission plan is still under consideration, then there is still time to act and involve the relevant teams immediately!
Indeed, the best way to communicate a new commission plan is to involve the sales teams from the start.
This way, they are not caught off guard, and their rate of understanding and acceptance is logically higher. And for good reason, they feel involved and included, and they understand that the company is doing it for them.
Secondly, it is important to keep this guideline throughout the redesign of the commission plan so that each salesperson understands it as they go along.
Moreover, by operating in this way, on the day the new commission plan is implemented, each salesperson is operational. In fact, they do not need this time to understand and adapt, which can have a negative impact on sales performance and thus cause frustration.
2. Provide clear, simple and precise answers
📊 According to a study by Primeum, comment-remunerer.com and MeteoJob, 55% of company executives and sales managers feel that their commission arrangements are not well formalised and detailed. As a result, according to a Gallup survey, only 40% of employees claim to know their company's values and objectives.
Indeed, commission is a tool for attractiveness, motivation, performance and loyalty only if it is understood by employees, which is why it is essential to listen to them on the subject and to have answers to all their questions.
Thus, before presenting the new commission plan to the sales staff, it is important to collect and record any questions they may have on this subject (for example, the company can submit a questionnaire before the presentation point). In this way, the company reassures its salespeople and strengthens the relationship of trust by addressing their concerns.
📌 As an example, here is a framework to follow and the associated questions (non-exhaustive list):
Background and objectives
- Why is the commission plan changing?
- What are its new objectives?
- What were the different commissioning schemes devised?
Operation of the new commission plan
- What are the new performance indicators? Why are they important?
- What are the new commissioning rules? Why are they being introduced?
- What are the new calculation formulas?
- What are bonus accelerators? How do they work?
- Are the targets set higher?
- Will prices change?
- What are the market practices?
- Who is affected?
- What is the effective date of the new commission plan?
- Where is the information retrieved from? What software is used? Why is this done?
Amount of commission
- Does the amount of commission change? If so, why?
- Will I earn more or less?
- What are the market practices?
- What are the different levels?
- What is the new split between fixed and commission?
Payment of commissions
- When are commissions paid?
- Do we have to accept this new commission scheme?
- What are the possibilities in case of disagreement?
- What are the legal documents to be signed?
Once the framework and associated questions have been validated, it is important that the company provides clear and precise answers and that these answers are justified. The rationale for changing the commission plan should be explicit and make sense in terms of the company's strategy.
💡 Good practice:
In order to make employees feel more confident about the new commission plan, it is a good idea to present the before and after for each point and to justify it. Even if a point has not changed, the company should explain why it has decided not to change it. Secondly, it can also be interesting to illustrate the new commission plan by taking the statistics of one or more salespeople over the past quarter or year and adapting them to the new commission plan. In this way, the situation is much more concrete, easy to understand and close to reality for all the salespeople.
3. Use various media and communication channels
Once all the information about the new commission plan is in one document, it should be communicated to the relevant teams.
To increase the impact and make sure that the new commission plan is known to everyone, it is essential to multiply the communication media and channels. This is the best way to reach all salespeople by adapting to their preferences and the type of communication to which they are most sensitive.
📌 As an example, here are some ideas for communication materials:
- Article - FAQ - Practical guide - Information leaflet
- Oral presentation
- Video - Webinar
📌 Next, here are some examples of communication channels to disseminate the communication materials:
- Mail - Courier - Internal messaging (Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.)
- Intranet - Workspace (Google Drive, Notion, etc.)
- Physical meeting
📌 Obviously, the amount of media and communication channels to use will depend on the following factors:
- Extent of changes to the commission plan
- Size of the company and teams involved
- Financial means
- Human resources available
- Corporate values
- Communication strategy
To increase the chances of success of the communication strategy linked to the new commissioning plan, it is essential that the company think outside the box and be original in the communication media and channels used. Indeed, the more the company surprises its employees, the more likely it is to appeal to them and get the message across. To fulfil this mission, it may be worthwhile to involve the communication department.
Special focus: the sales challenge
In order to promote a new commission scheme and ensure that it is taken up by its beneficiaries, the most effective way is to put it into practice!
Through a sales challenge! 🏆
Sales challenges are a real craze among sales people and are one of the most powerful motivational levers. And for good reason, their benefits are multiple, and for salespeople, it is a source of sales performance and therefore of commissions.
To take action, find out how to organise a motivating sales challenge!
4. Adopt software for calculating and managing commissions
The important thing when a new commission plan is introduced is to provide visibility to employees. It is essential that they take ownership of it as soon as possible to be in line with the company's new business strategy.
With the help of a commission calculation and management solution! Indeed, by offering employees a complete tool dedicated to the subject of commission, such as Qobra, they can independently consult the functioning of their commission plan, down to the smallest detail:
- Commissioning rules
- Calculation formulas
- Origin, amount and date of commissions
- Adjustments made
In addition, more globally, it also increases their confidence in the commission system because there are no more calculation errors or errors on their pay slip, they can simply access the data that concerns them, but also check it for themselves.
"With Qobra, every user can see how and in what way their commission is calculated, and they can ensure themselves that the rules are right."
Martin Dambrine, Sales Ops at Indy.
On their side, it is also a powerful motivator to reach their goals as they have real-time access to their performance and can see their potential commissions if they reach their goals. As proof of this, according to a Qobra & Modjo study on variable compensation in France, 61.9% of employees using commission calculation and management software exceeded their targets in 2022, compared with just 30.1% of those using Excel or Google Sheets.
"Qobra has really helped to build confidence with the teams because they see their results on a daily basis. They have a very clear view of the details of the calculations, but also of where they are. And it drives them to get motivated, to say to themselves: if I make one more deal, it's going to unlock the next commission."
Aude Cadiot, Revenue Operations Lead at Spendesk
The company saves valuable time as the data is imported directly from the CRM and then linked to the HR and payroll software. A winning combination of time savings and reliability!
"The main gain we have today is a gain in time, because instead of having the calculation of commissions on the one hand and then the processing of claims, today we only have the processing of claims and from month to month, we have less and less since the calculation is certified as we go along."
Clément Bouillaud, Director of Operations at Partoo
It is also an opportunity for the company to have an in-depth analysis of its commission plans and to be able to adjust them in order to build a high-performance commissioning model.
Finally, some commission management solutions such as Qobra offer simplified communication through a discussion system directly integrated into the platform, but also connected to internal messaging such as Slack.
The final word...
Ultimately, the process of making a new commission scheme a success is simple and within the reach of all companies.
Indeed, first of all, it is essential to involve the teams concerned, and in particular the managers, throughout the process, from its genesis to its implementation.
Next, it is important to draw up an initial document listing all the information relating to the new commission plan. To be sure of obtaining a complete document, it is wise to consult all the beneficiaries of this new commission plan and to list all their requests and expectations. Transparency is the key word!
Secondly, it is essential to disseminate the information in the document in different forms and through different channels. The aim is to maximise the chances that it will be known and understood by everyone by adapting to their preferences. And to do this, originality makes the difference!
Finally, using commission calculation and management software makes communicating a new commission plan effortless and simple. Beyond the communication aspect, a commission calculation and management software also brings many benefits to the teams in charge of this subject (time saving, data reliability, etc.) and to the beneficiaries (real-time visibility, accessible and transparent data, etc.).