Highly-talented salespeople are more in-demand than ever. In fact, of the top ten emerging high-growth jobs listed by LinkedIn, five of them are some form of sales role. One significant result from our recently published 2019 State of Media Sales Report is that salespeople in these roles (and other sales positions) don’t want to be paid on 100% salary.
Salespeople have repeatedly told us they want the opportunity to make as much as they can. Research supported this with over 57% of the salespeople saying that they prefer a salary plus commission structure with 30% to 40% of their total compensation coming from salary.
Rethinking the sales organization is a big topic in the media industry. Knowing how to compensate is just scratching the surface of what we uncovered in this year’s State of Media Sales Report. While compensation is one way to motivate salespeople and bring them to your organization, non-financial elements also play a significant role when it comes to hiring, coaching, and development.
Sellers Do Not Want to Be On 100% Salary
Compensation is defined as anything of financial value given to an employee in return for their work. It is also a primary concern to both salespeople and sales organizations as it is central to a healthy and functional working relationship.
The competition for the most talented salespeople has never been harder, and in order to compete and win, you’ll need to embrace new compensation strategies. Nearly all salespeople surveyed (92%) reject the idea of being compensated with 100% salary, indicating that sellers are motivated to close deals.Most salespeople go into sales knowing there’s a commission-based component to their overall salary. Commission and salary have different motivational effects – based on the type of culture your business has and how it uses income to effectively motivate employees.
If you expect to pique the interest of excellent sales professionals, you must be prepared with an attractive compensation package that includes items like:
- Base salaries
- Professional development opportunities
- Company perks
However, an appealing compensation package shouldn’t be your primary strategy in finding talented and top-performers.
Starting with Talent is a Key Component
A bad hire, especially for a sales position, can be a serious setback for an organization. It’s the talent on your sales team that will determine whether you hit aggressive targets and achieve future goals. And finding top performers is the difference between your organization’s victory or failure in today’s competitive market.
In addition to compensation packages, we also asked sales managers in our 2019 State of Media Sales Report how they went about finding salespeople and did they conduct a talent assessment to help them make a quality and informed decision about who they hired.
What we found is that just over 4 out of 5 (88%) of sales managers do use a talent assessment to help make their hiring decisions, and 82% of them feel that their talent assessment is accurate or very accurate at predicting future success.
This is fantastic news! Starting with talent is essential to building an elite sales culture. But just knowing that someone has the talent is not enough. There are additional factors that go into forming an elite sales operation.
- Is the culture right?
- Do you have the best systems and processes in place to maximize all the stages of the selling process?
- Are you committed to a talent-focused management and consistently looking for ways to help people soar with their strengths?
To make a true impact as a sales leader, you must ensure you are excellent in the areas of People, Process, Planning, and Performance.
Structure Your Sales Organization for Success
Digging deeper into the sales organization, we asked questions on the report about the number of salespeople. While we didn’t find a definitive way to tell how many salespeople you should have (every business is different in that regard), we did learn that 60% of sales managers do not think they currently have the right number of salespeople on staff. They think they need more, with two-thirds of these sales managers saying they should increase the number of salespeople they have.
Savvy sales managers should always keep their eye open for new talent and can identify talent in even the most unlikely places. One thing that is worth considering, do you need more salespeople, or do you need a better structure?
Different salespeople are responsible for doing various tasks. Perhaps some people are focused on customer retention while others are focused on customer acquisition and yet still others on lead generation. The structure of the sales department has not significantly changed in the last 30 to 40 years. Nevertheless, the way we do business certainly has, and more importantly, the way our customers do business has changed significantly.
While most leaders know this to be true, 80% of the sales managers we surveyed said their company had done just a little, or even no, re-structuring of their sales departments. It’s safe to say that updating, modifying, or improving your sales structure for 2020 will have lasting consequences for your business’s long-term success.