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Expert Strategies for Your 2024 Sales Compensation Plan Rollout from LabCorp, Yext, and Rippling  

Expert Strategies for Your 2024 Sales Comp Plan Rollout from LabCorp, Yext, and Rippling

Sales compensation leaders meticulously craft compensation plans that align sales behaviors with evolving business strategies. And how you roll out those comp plans can be the difference between a year of motivation and organizational growth, or patching up morale and productivity leaks all year long. 

When it comes to rolling out sales compensation plans, communication and timing are everything, but can be difficult to get right. Learning from the wins and mistakes of experts can help set you up for success. 

In a CompOps 2023 event moderated by Marinos Tryphonas, Associate Director, Sales Comp at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), industry leaders shared their strategies for effective and on-time comp plan rollouts. In this blog post, you’ll learn from: 

  • Becky Gemignani, Senior Director, Sales Compensation at Yext  
  • Kyle Petersen, VP of Sales: PEO, Insurance and Talent Products at Rippling  
  • Christopher Goff, Senior Director, Sales Compensation at Labcorp

Find out how these experts approach their sales compensation plan rollout and apply these tips in your organization. 

To access the full recording of this event, plus all other CompOps 2023 sessions, register here.

Strategic Alignment: The Cornerstone 

The first step to an effective compensation plan rollout starts with a comp plan that’s aligned with the overarching corporate strategy. 

Becky Gemignani from Yext captured this necessity, stating, “Before we do anything…it’s getting the strategy. What are we as a company going to be working on? What do we want to focus on this year? Because that hopefully drives your comp plan setup.” She highlighted that effective sales compensation is rooted deeply in strategic alignment. 

Similarly, Christopher Goff from Labcorp relayed the importance of not only considering written goals but also reading between the lines: “Figure out the power and the politics that may have evolved since last year.” 

He recounted a time when his team planned to leave a comp plan that was working as is, but they failed to “read the room fully for the new [leader] who had a particular agenda.” Strategic alignment often goes beyond polished business objectives, and seasoned experts have learned to consider the wider state of the company and shifting teams. 

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Leveraging Feedback for Precision 

Before rollout, make sure to consider feedback on the comp plan from GTM leaders, operations teams, and the sales team.  

Kyle Petersen from Rippling advised, “You need leadership’s eyes on it first for two reasons. One, you do want to give them a chance to actually provide feedback.” Your leadership team can bring up questions or concerns you hadn’t thought of

Second, “you need to make sure that they can then answer the questions of their teams.” Bringing them into the planning process can help them articulate the plan themselves during or after rollout. 

A step before that, Becky always considers feedback from the sales team when designing the comp plan. And not just any feedback, but the kind that digs deep into the trenches of sales operations. Becky noted the need for comprehensive understanding:

“We survey our sales constituency and find out what has worked, what hasn’t, what they like, what they don’t like… I’ve also done one-on-ones or table talks with salespeople.”  

She then turns that feedback into strategic action for a more effective comp plan. 

Beyond Planning: Synchronized Execution 

Synchronizing the compensation plan rollout in a large enterprise involves many cross-functional teams, approvals, and steps. This requires meticulous planning well in advance in order to set clear expectations across the organization. 

Becky shared, “There is so much that happens with planning to rollover. There [are] so many business partners, there’s IT, there’s legal, there’s the timeline, there’s systems…The first thing I do is map out what the timeline looks like and what steps we’re going to take.”  

Since cross-functional planning is critical for a seamless rollout, make sure your ICM or SPM solution can help you align these cross-departmental efforts and streamline stakeholder approval on the comp plans pending release. 

Unified Communication: Empowering Leadership 

Clear communication from leadership to front-line sales reps is essential for the effective resonance of the comp plan. But Christopher said there’s a critical step before that, which is “to empower the leaders to deliver the message and stand by it” so they can champion the plan effectively.

Experienced sales comp leaders have learned that it’s their responsibility to communicate the value and purpose of comp plan changes to sales team leaders. This way, they can provide a unified and convicted front to reps during rollout. 

Kyle described this as one of the biggest lessons that he’s learned: 

“What can’t happen is you go to your team and say, ‘Hey guys, I know this sucks, but I had nothing to do with it, it just is what it is.’ And it becomes this victim mentality. It needs to be very clear to your leaders that their job is to be a unified front. We are making this decision, we’re changing these behaviors specifically, and here’s why, and I need you to own that. So that’s one thing I didn’t do the very first time, and it bit me. And ever since then, I have had that conversation.” 

Regular Health Checks: The Rhythm of Success 

The experts underscored the importance of not viewing the rollout of a compensation plan as a one-time event but as part of an ongoing process. After the initial rollout, regular health checks are essential for ensuring the plan remains effective, aligned with business goals, and responsive to the needs and behaviors of the sales team. 

Kyle highlighted the importance of looking at quota attainment and participation rates, which can provide insights into how the compensation changes are affecting overall sales performance. He prefers a fast and evidence-based approach: “After the first quarter… you get a chance to really start to see what’s materializing.” This approach is vital for continuous improvement and responding quickly to market changes. However, the window for evaluation of what is and isn’t working depends on your sales cycle and similar factors unique to your organization. 

Christopher Goff talked about the importance of being patient and observing the long-term impacts of the plan: “We have to be patient sometimes… enough time has to pass given the type of role.” 

While it’s important to stay agile and respond quickly to outliers, it’s also important to know when to let your plan breathe, trusting that your strategic adjustments will show results over time. 

Comp leaders must ensure they can easily gather the insights they need when they need them. Invest in an ICM or SPM solution that can be customized to show performance across revenue monitoring, quota attainment and fairness, workload index, total cost of sales, pay composition, and more.

Learning from Setbacks 

Acknowledging and learning from less successful initiatives is a key component of sales compensation management.  

Becky Gemignani recalled a story about rolling out a plan, but quickly learning that not everyone reads or understands the nuances: “We’ve rolled out a plan, we thought we communicated well, and then a month in the manager…will come in and go, ‘What is this? We didn’t know that was happening. That’s not right.’ A penalty or something that was hidden and didn’t get expressly communicated. So that’s a bad sign because then you’re unraveling something you already rolled out.”  

Now, she holds office hours to discuss a plan one-on-one, and her team makes tools available online, answers questions via tickets, and explains the plan directly to new hires. This is a good reminder to treat every setback as a learning opportunity, refining your approach for the future. 

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Harness Expertise and Technology for a Successful 2024 Sales Compensation Plan Rollout  

As we enter 2024, insights from sales compensation leaders like Becky Gemignani, Kyle Petersen, and Christopher Goff offer invaluable guidance for your sales compensation plan rollouts. Their collective wisdom underscores the necessity of aligning these plans with overarching business strategies, soliciting detailed feedback, and ensuring clear, cohesive communication from leadership.  

It’s crucial to remember that a well-executed compensation plan is more than just figures on a spreadsheet; it’s a strategic tool that significantly drives your sales force’s motivation and your organization’s growth. 

With that goal in mind, Forma.ai stands out as an essential ally for an effective compensation plan rollout. By integrating Forma.ai’s advanced capabilities into your strategy, you can simulate the impact of comp plans before rollout, adapt after rollout based on performance data, and refine your sales compensation plans with precise and efficient automation executed by AI. Click here to request a demo. 

This synergy between expert strategies and innovative technology may be just what your organization needs for a 2024 compensation plan rollout that’s seamless, effective, and timely. 

To access the full recording of this event, plus all other CompOps 2023 sessions, register here

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