The Importance of Data in Your Sales Compensation Plan Design

  • Samantha Jozwik is a Sales Compensation & Analytics Manager at Intermedia Cloud Communications, a unified communications, VoIP, web/ video/ content sharing, identity & security services company.
  • She recently spoke with Justin Lane, host of The Sales Compensation Show to share her thoughts on data-driven sales compensation, the importance of data in incentive plan design, and more.
  • Justin and Samantha dive deep into the world of sales, incentives, and enterprise performance management for an in-depth, data-driven conversation.
  • Visit the Podcast homepage to hear more episodes.

Data-Driven Sales Compensation Strategies

As a newcomer to the sales compensation game, Samantha Jozwik offers a unique perspective on how businesses can leverage data to motivate their sales teams.

In a conversation with Justin Lane, Samantha talks about the importance of data in enabling an organization’s sales comp plan, to improve employee performance and the company’s bottom line.

Samantha, introduce yourself to the audience.

I’m a sales analytics and compensation manager working on revamping and rewriting the compensation strategy for Intermedia. I’ve got a great team behind me to help achieve this goal, which I manage the day-to-day functions of.

Before this role, I worked at Adobe as a Senior Sales Ops Manager and, later on, as the Go-to-Market Product Strategist. This is where I got a hands-on feel for sales compensation strategy and learned many of the pain points enterprise corporations face.

How did you initially analyze the sales compensation program?

I had a clear objective coming into Intermedia: Grow our Cloud Communications business.

There are many unique sides to our business, and I noticed a gap right away; our sales plan did not differentiate between our products. I knew this was a significant opportunity for our new program.

From there, I created a model based on all of our products, but centered around the notion of selling the Cloud. It took some to find the correct data to get us there and ensure that all reps selling Cloud products would make substantially more, but now, it’s working—our Cloud business is growing.

"When he said no caps, everyone's face on the sales team lit up. It's a moment I'll never forget." - Samantha Jozwik, Intermedia

We had our sales kickoff at the beginning of the year. Our CRO started to roll out the comp plan and announced that there would be no caps on all Cloud products—requested by our CEO. All of our reps were instantly motivated and excited to be apart of this shift.

How do you use forward data in your incentive plan design?

All sales compensation analysts should be using forward-thinking metrics. You can no longer rely on historical data.

Once our comp plans are rolled out, we initially use forward data to revamp our reporting and the cadence in which we analyze it. In doing so, we have a better approach to motivating our team and ensuring that our pipeline data is clean.

Secondarily, we use the data to plan for next year. We’re analyzing what’s working with our plan and what’s not. This helps us identify any gaps and consider if there is something that we need to change structurally or what we can do with other departments (i.e., Marketing) to improve.

How do you use data to ensure equal earning opportunity for your reps?

It’s very subjective. I don’t think will ever be a definitive correct answer to that question. It depends on your company context, the sales culture you’ve built, and the individual selling roles you’ve created.

I would consider your sales rookies vs. veterans when designing an equal and fair comp plan, but I wouldn’t go deeper than that.

Samantha discusses this sales compensation design theme, and more at 29:32 in the podcast.

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