Evaluating and Enhancing Your Sales Compensation Program

Vince DaCosta is a diversely skilled, methodical, and professional individual with a comprehensive history of successful strategic projects. With over 13 years of experience managing complex sales performance initiatives across multiple industries, Vince has achieved outstanding results in each of his roles.

During his consulting tenure, he conducted over 55 unique SPM assessments, vendor selections, and implementation projects. As a leader, Vince has overseen annual sales compensation programs with a budget exceeding $200 million and over 2,000 payees, all while managing multiple national remote Sales Compensation/Operations teams.

Throughout his career, Vince earned his CSCP (Certified Sales Compensation Professional) through WorldatWork and possesses extensive experience in both the healthcare and high-tech software industries.

Currently, he is the Global Sales Compensation Strategy Director of Databricks, a software company that develops a web-based platform for working with Spark. Numerous Fortune 500 companies rely on the Databricks’ platform to integrate their data, analytics, and AI.

In a conversation with Justin Lane, Vince delves into the intricacies of sales compensation management, data quality, and business operations. He also provides insights into best practices for evaluating and enhancing compensation programs, emphasizing the value of collaboration and ongoing improvement, as well as the importance of accurate data.

Listen to this episode of The Sales Compensation Show to learn:

  • The significance of collaboration among various sales comp stakeholders
  • Why there’s an ongoing need for continuous QA/QC processes in sales comp
  • The value of obtaining a third-party assessment for your sales comp plan/data

Three key takeaways:

#1: Collaboration among various stakeholders is essential for sales comp effectiveness

Effective sales compensation requires collaboration among various stakeholders, leveraging their expertise and perspectives to design, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive plan. Involving sales teams, managers, finance, and other key stakeholders ensures alignment with strategic goals, a balanced approach, and transparent communication. This collaborative effort fosters ownership, buy-in, and heightened motivation within the sales force, leading to improved performance and overall organizational success.

"Organizations have multiple teams, but if they’re not working towards a common goal, they’re going to have issues and concerns." - Vince DaCosta, Databricks

Vince advocates for integrating sales compensation within cross-functional teams and emphasizes the importance of establishing clear separation of duties. This approach ensures accountability within each department while mitigating potential conflicts of interest. He also stated that it is important for the sales comp admin to have a seat at the table. Often, sales compensation plans are created without involving the admin team, leading to situations where they are unable to implement the plan as designed. Collaboration is critical to prevent this from happening.

Skip to 7:47 in the podcast to hear Vince discuss the significance of collaboration among various stakeholders.

#2: Your sales comp QA/QC processes should be a continuous effort

Continuous quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) processes are essential for maintaining the accuracy, fairness, and effectiveness of sales compensation. By making QA/QC a continuous effort, organizations can prevent errors from escalating, ensure the integrity of sales data, comply with legal requirements, promote fairness and transparency, optimize performance, and adapt to changing business conditions. Ongoing QA/QC processes provide a proactive approach to identify and address issues promptly, resulting in improved sales compensation outcomes and overall business success.

"If you don’t strive towards this idea of continuous improvement, you’re just going to go backwards." - Vince DaCosta, Databricks

Vince said that when data integrity issues arise, the sales comp team is typically the furthest downstream. To avoid this, he advised first identifying the issues and recurring patterns. For instance, the issue could be related to sales users not accurately entering information or a data problem originating from the upstream source system. Once the issues are identified, automation efforts should be put in place to raise awareness to each stakeholder along the stream. This enables the implementation of validation processes.

#3: There’s value in seeking a third-party assessment of your sales comp plan

Obtaining an external evaluation of your sales compensation plan is beneficial as it offers an impartial and professional analysis of your current plan. These assessments provide a new viewpoint, free from internal biases, and bring industry expertise and proven methods to the forefront. By utilizing their knowledge, you can pinpoint areas for enhancement, establish congruence with business objectives, minimize risks, and uphold fairness and compliance. Ultimately, a third-party assessment optimizes your sales compensation plan, inspiring your sales teams, and driving organizational success.

Vince said, “It’s always best to have a third-party set of eyes. Many companies lack internal expertise, and given the ever-changing nature of data, it’s essential to have someone with an external viewpoint who can analyze the data and reveal opportunities that may go unnoticed.”

As for third-party technology, Vince told us that his company runs a highly complex sales compensation program, and utilizing an external system has been invaluable: “I couldn’t imagine doing all this in Excel. It has really sped up our processes, having complex plans and then leveraging automation to actually administer them properly.”

That’s our goal at Forma.ai — to provide a solution that allows organizations to easily design, execute, and optimize their sales compensation strategy within a single system.

The Sales Compensation Show is brought to you by Forma.ai, the world’s first Sales Comp Ops solution. Find us by searching sales compensation on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and YouTube.

Are you interested in learning more? Have a conversation with one of our sales comp experts here.

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