Uniting Sales Compensation and Go-to-Market Strategies, with Alex Gousinov of Twilio

Forma.ai's Founder and CEO, Nabeil Alazzam, sits down with Alex Gousinov, an accomplished sales compensation leader currently serving as the Head (Senior Director) of Go-to-Market Planning, Programs and Sales Compensation at Twilio. With a background in software development and physics, Alex brings a data-driven and analytical approach to sales comp.

Throughout the conversation, Alex reflects on his path into sales compensation and the function's ability to drive meaningful change in sales behavior. He underscores the importance of aligning incentives with overarching go-to-market strategy and business objectives.

Alex shares best practices for the sales comp planning process, such as starting early, collaborating closely with stakeholders, leveraging data to inform plan design, and preparing for the unexpected. He also discusses tactics for effective change management and rep communication when rolling out new plans.

Looking ahead, Alex emphasizes the power of analytics and real-time dashboards in sales comp. He advises sales comp professionals to broaden their knowledge of go-to-market strategy and trends to elevate their impact and career.

This episode is packed with real-world examples and practical guidance. It is a must-listen for anyone looking to design sales compensation plans that drive the right behaviors and support strategic objectives.

Episode Highlights:

  • 3:49 - 5:54: Alex's unconventional path from software development into sales compensation and the realization that incentives are a powerful lever for driving go-to-market strategy
  • 12:53 - 16:11: The importance of collaborating with stakeholders across sales, finance, and operations early in the comp planning process to align on key objectives and dependencies
  • 22:48 - 24:35: Best practices for preparing for the unexpected in sales comp planning, such as changes in company strategy or M&A activity, by proactively identifying potential disruptors and building buffer into the timeline
  • 31:16 - 33:30: Techniques for rolling out new comp plans successfully, including establishing a Sales Comp Advisory Council of trusted reps to serve as champions and reinforce understanding
  • 42:00 - 43:27: Alex's advice for sales comp professionals to invest in real-time dashboards and analytics and broaden their knowledge of go-to-market strategy to increase their impact and career opportunities

Episode Resources:

  • Alex Gousinov on LinkedIn
  • Twilio website
  • Nabeil Alazzam on LinkedIn
  • "What Your CEO Needs to Know About Sales Compensation" by Mark Roberge - foundational book on sales comp theory and best practices

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