Is Your Sales Force Comp Program Working for Your Business or Against It?

I’ve talked with dozens of staffing execs about sales force compensation — a topic that always captures people’s attention. We all hope to find that perfect combination of incentives so that everyone in your sales force will sell to the best of their ability, play nicely as a team and make sales and profits soar.

OK, maybe that is a bit of wishful thinking. But if you want a reality check on your pay practices, comp levels and incentive programs, then you will definitely want to check out our recently released Staffing Industry Sales Force Compensation Survey. The report, which was done in conjunction with SalesGlobe and underwritten by Monster, is a landmark study of sales force compensation programs and practices in the staffing industry. It’s based on a detailed survey of 12 different sales roles at 59 staffing firms across a wide variety of sizes and specialties.

Some of the more interesting findings:

  • Account manager is the most common role among the staffing firms included in the sample. The average total compensation for an Account Manager II — a senior account manager — is $102,000, with comp nearly evenly split between base pay and incentive pay.
  • Not surprising, the highest paid position tracked in the sample is a Sales Vice President. The average total comp for this role was $167,000, with a 65/35 base salary to incentive ratio, on average.
  • Staffing firms didn’t quite hit their sales targets in 2010. Actual total compensation in the survey overall was less than the targeted compensation across all roles, company size and product focus areas. Overall, actual base salary was approximately 3 percent lower than target salary and actual incentive was 1 percent lower than target incentive.
  • How can you differentiate high performers? Despite earnings challenges for average performers, high performers in several roles earned more than expected as organizations rewarded their best talent. Companies pay total incentive for top performers that range from 200% to 300% of target incentive.

Participants in the survey received a detailed 110 page report of the results. An executive summary of the report is available to Staffing Industry Analysts corporate members, which can be found here. We hope this report will help you ensure that your sales force compensation plans are set at the right levels to keep business flowing and your staff happy. Let us know what you think!

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