8 Career Growth Tips for Sales Compensation Analysts

Sales compensation moves fast—and it’s only getting faster as companies move towards more frequent payouts and demand the agility to respond to ever changing internal and external market conditions.

As such, sales compensation professionals, new and tenured, might find themselves asking how to develop their career.

Here are some of our best career growth tips, backed by top leaders in the sales comp community.

Tips for Developing Your Sales Compensation Career

How to Get Started in Sales Compensation

Sales compensation roles require a wide variety of tactical and strategic skills, that range from finance and accounting through sales operations, data and analytics, technology management, and everything in between. The ways through which people find themselves on this career path vary greatly, but a common trend can be applied.

1. Start in Sales & Consulting

Many sales compensation professionals begin their careers in management sales and consulting. Having the opportunity to learn about Sales Performance Management (SPM) and Incentive Compensation Management (ICM) technology early in your career can accelerate you into a full-time comp role. Not to mention the networking opportunities you will have at an established firm.

2. Focus on Progressive Growth

If you’re already working in a sales function, you’re on the right path. Many sales comp professionals get their start in a role independent of compensation and progress, either internally or externally, into a full-time comp function.

Related article: What is a Sales Compensation Analyst?

How to Stand Out as a Sales Compensation Professional

Advancing in your sales compensation career requires you to stand out. Not only in your organization but with the people you work with every day. There isn’t one unanimous way to do this, but there are, however, some best practices.

3. Use Data to Your Advantage

The best sales compensation models are data-driven. Consider how sales results, quota attainment, detailed commissions, territory structures, etc. interact with each other to drive results. Leverage this information to anticipate and find solutions for problems within your sales organization.

Use data and build collaborative partnerships across the organization. Compensation sits at the crossroads of IT, HR, Finance, and Sales. It's key that leaders of these areas understand how powerful data can be to their success.
Evan Gray, Implementation Manager @ Forma.ai

4. Drive Sales Performance

Standing out in your sales comp career requires a holistic approach that considers the benefits of your entire sales organization. Put those who are being compensated by the plan first and push sales performance in the right direction.

5. Enable Revenue Generation

One of your main objectives as a sales compensation analyst is to generate revenue for the sales organization. Find ways to help achieve that goal to stand out and get ahead in your career.

Related article: How to Drive Revenue with a Unified Sales Compensation Program

How to Move Into a Sales Compensation Leadership Role

The best sales compensation analysts share one common career goal: earning a role in leadership. Being a leader requires extensive industry knowledge and expertise, but more importantly, requires you to serve people first.

6. Create Change

As you transition into a leadership role, understand that sales compensation strategy is not static. Challenge your current design and administration processes and look for new ways to improve the system.

Find the right balance between learning from those who came before, while also questioning everything and seeking to improve. Comp design and admin is frequently hampered by stagnation. Businesses change and so should your comp plans.
Jon Newcomb, Senior Manager, Implementation & Onboarding @ Forma.ai

7. Understand Your Team

Your goal as a sales compensation leader is to ensure the sales team is incentivized to work towards the business’ objectives and provide insight into how compensation spend could be better optimized to produce results.

Find out what drives your sales team to outperform, implement a plan of action, and leadership will come naturally.

8. Provide Holistic Value

Sales compensation involves many stakeholders across the organization. Your job as a sales leader is to provide value to each of these functions, ensuring that decisions are made based on real-world data. That’s where you will find growth.

Related article: Sales Performance Management: The Ultimate Guide

Your Next Steps

By now you have seen that there are many different ways to grow your sales compensation career.

Whether you are new to the field, looking to get ahead, or transitioning into leadership, there is no universal path that will guarantee you success. What matters is that you take these tips and pave your own way to a career that works for you.

If you’re interested in learning more about working as a Sales Compensation Analyst, check out our careers page here.

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