What’s After Rollout? (Post-SKO Checklist for Sales Comp Leaders)

Every new year, the Sales Kickoff (SKO) marks the beginning of a new sales cycle, the unveiling of fresh objectives, and, most critically, the rollout of the new sales compensation strategy and associated plans.  

It’s a series of energetic meetings, preparing an optimistic sales force to dive into their targets. But what happens after the applause dies down and the details of the new compensation plans start affecting day-to-day operations?

For sales compensation leaders, the post-rollout phase is as crucial as the rollout itself. It’s the period where strategy meets execution and where the theoretical benefits of your carefully crafted compensation plan are put to the test.

Here’s a comprehensive checklist to follow to ensure your post-SKO phase drives the results you anticipate.

1. Post-Rollout Communication

Clarify Communication Channels: The first step post-rollout is ensuring every sales rep knows who to turn to with questions or concerns about their new plan. Establish and communicate clear channels for this purpose, whether it’s through designated HR contacts, sales managers, or a dedicated helpdesk.

Create a Feedback Loop: Implement a systematic approach for collecting feedback on the new compensation plan. Whether it’s regular surveys, open forums, or direct feedback to managers, understanding your team’s experiences and concerns is pivotal for fine-tuning your strategy.

In the clip below, Tessa Whitaker, VP of RevOps at ZoomInfo, tells us her #1 recommendation is setting up a framework for feedback from sales.

2. Training Sessions

Provide Plan-Specific Training: Beyond understanding the “what” of the new compensation plan, sales reps need to grasp the “how” and “why” to fully buy in to their comp plan. Conduct detailed training sessions focusing on the nuances, eligibility criteria, and the mechanics behind their earning potential. That way, reps can “game” the comp plan in their favor, which serves the company as well.

Provide Training on Tools and Resources: If your compensation plan rollout includes new tools or software, ensure comprehensive training sessions are held to familiarize the team with these technologies, as they may be more complicated to understand than you might think. Proficiency in these tools is essential for the sales team to track their performance and earnings accurately.

Related Article: Sales Comp Plan Engagement: Why Calculators Aren’t Enough for 2024

3. Performance Monitoring

Set Benchmarks: You’ve already defined clear, measurable performance metrics that align with the objectives of your new compensation plans. Now, set benchmarks of where these metrics need to be throughout the year, which will serve as guideposts for assessing success and areas for improvement, both for rep performance and the comp plans themselves.

Check-in Regularly: Ensure sales managers schedule periodic performance reviews to evaluate both individual and team progress against established benchmarks. Additionally, schedule similar reviews between your comp team and sales leaders to address any issues or barriers encountered by the sales force.

4. Incentive Alignment

Offer Short-term Incentives: To encourage quick adoption of the new plans, consider introducing short-term incentives for early achievers. This can foster a competitive spirit and motivate the team to align with the new structure swiftly.

Align with Business Goals: As goals change throughout the year, continually ensure that the incentives offered align with your company’s broader objectives. Compensation plans should not only motivate the sales force but also steer the business towards its strategic goals, not just at the beginning of the year, but all year long.

5. Data-Driven Adjustments

Collect Data: Embrace systems, like Forma.ai, that facilitate comprehensive data collection on sales performance and compensation outcomes. This data is invaluable for assessing the effectiveness of your plans.

Analyze Impact: Use advanced analytics to evaluate the plan’s impact on sales behaviors and outcomes. Insights gained can guide necessary adjustments to ensure the plan remains effective and aligned with business objectives.

Iterate Plans: Be prepared to iterate your compensation plans based on these insights. An agile approach to compensation management allows for timely adjustments in response to market changes, business needs, or feedback from the sales team.

6. Ensuring Compliance and Fairness

Conduct Audits: Implement regular audits to ensure compliance with the compensation plan’s guidelines and guard against biases or discrepancies in payouts.

Address Discrepancies: Create a transparent, accessible process for resolving pay disputes. Ensuring fairness in compensation is critical for maintaining trust and motivation within the sales force.

Related Article: The Role of Transparency and Trust in Sales Compensation

7. Reinforcement Through Leadership

Get Leadership Buy-in: Having sales leaders and executives endorse the overall comp strategy and individual comp plan designs greatly impacts the team’s acceptance and motivation. If not done before rollout, coach sales managers on the nuances of the plan and its advantages for the business. Maintain an open dialogue about post-rollout adjustments to get ongoing buy-in.

Kyle Petersen, VP of Sales: PEO, Insurance and Talent Products at Rippling, describes how this was his biggest lesson learned in the clip below.

Share Success Stories: Share success stories and early wins under the new plan with the sales team. Highlighting these achievements can serve as motivation and reinforce the benefits of aligning with the new compensation structure.

8. Utilizing Technology

Leverage Software Solutions: The right sales compensation management software can streamline administration and provide real-time insights into performance. Opt for solutions that offer robust analytics, automation, and integration capabilities.

Train on Tech Tools: Ensure ongoing training and support for any technology solutions adopted. Proficiency in these tools is crucial for maximizing their benefits. Training can also help keep reps on task, whereas left to their own devices, they could lose time looking for relevant solutions in the wrong places.

9. Cultivating a Culture of Performance

Recognize Top Performers: Develop recognition programs that align with the new compensation structure. Celebrating top performers publicly can inspire others and foster a culture of excellence.

Promote Transparency: Maintain an open dialogue about how compensation decisions are made. Transparency and responsiveness can drive motivation, mitigate concerns, and foster a sense of fairness and equity. One way to achieve this is by optimizing your rep-facing dashboard.

10. Preparing for the Next Cycle

Gather Learnings: Document insights and lessons learned from the current rollout to inform future adjustments. This historical data becomes invaluable in refining your approach and anticipating potential challenges in subsequent cycles.

Future Planning: Start early preparation for the next compensation cycle by incorporating the feedback received, the data analyzed, and the lessons learned. Proactive planning enables more strategic decision-making and can reduce the need for reactive adjustments.

Your Post-Rollout Journey Continues

For sales comp leaders, the rollout of a new sales compensation strategy and associated plans is more than a fresh start—it’s a pledge towards ongoing communication with the sales team, ongoing comp plan enhancement, and ongoing alignment with strategic goals.

By following this post-SKO checklist, you can ensure each team member’s compensation plan remains a dynamic tool that not only drives revenue but also aligns with broader company objectives. The goal is to move beyond mere plan rollout to fostering an ecosystem where sales compensation is a strategic tool for business success, agile enough to accommodate individual achievements and broad enough to drive company-wide objectives.

Embracing technology, especially AI and automation, can significantly enhance this process, allowing your team to focus on strategic decision-making rather than getting bogged down in administrative tasks.

Request a demo to learn how Forma.ai can automate your sales comp processes for you.

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