A well structured sales compensation plan can boost overall sales rep output and even motivation levels: Grayson Morris, Chief Executive Officer and Board Member at Performio chats about the benefits of a well laid out incentive management system for sales:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat, Grayson. Tell us more about yourself and your role at Performio… we’d love to hear more about Performio’s core capabilities, too, and how the platform has evolved over the years?
I’m the CEO of Performio. Performio is an incentive compensation management software that automates the entire sales commission process for companies – everything from the actual calculations to communicating sales comp plans to the team to managing the everyday disputes and inquiries sales reps often have about their paychecks.
My best friend Luke Teeple and I purchased Performio in 2019. I’m based in Southern California, and Luke is in San Francisco. I have a sales operations background from my time in the solar energy sector, and Luke is a longtime software investor. We’ve been growing Performio for the past 3 1/2 years – going from about 25 people to 150 today. We love incentive compensation, and we’re excited about building a company that is helping companies solve the pain of this complicated domain.
When it comes to B2B sales compensation practices, what elements do you feel sales leaders need to drive more?
There are a lot of opportunities to improve the way sales compensation is done, but if I had to pick one, I’d have to choose balancing quantity with quality. Most b2b incentive comp plans reward quantity – more sales, revenue, and profit.
They often ignore quality – for example, selecting clients that are a great fit for your product and will be committed, long-term customers. Or not “over-selling” the product, resulting in a dissatisfied customer. Ideally, we’d see more comp plans that strike this balance.
Can you share a few impactful ways sales compensation tools can enhance the overall sales management and payout process?
There are plenty of benefits to incentive compensation software.
The first and most obvious is accuracy – if you’re doing your sales comp in Excel and you have any degree of complexity in your plans, you’re likely making errors that erode trust.
You can’t afford your sales team to question their paychecks – they need to be selling. So automating the calculations and ensuring accuracy is a big one.
The second is visibility. Your sales team deserves transparency, enabling them to log into a portal, see what they’re getting paid, and understand why. This builds trust and motivates the team to generate more sales to earn more money.
The third is reporting and analytics. There is a treasure trove of insights into sales compensation data. If you design your plans correctly (i.e., to motivate your sales team to do what you want them to do) – then commissions are the purest way to evaluate performance. Cutting the data by team, product, and geography allows you to understand what’s going on with your sales team.
And finally, compliance and auditing are other major benefits.
Sales comp is a major expense for most companies – you want to know what changes are being made to the plans and data and by whom. This ensures the entire program remains fair and trusted.
A few thoughts on the future of B2B sales and how you feel trends will change as market conditions evolve.
The job of a b2b salesperson will continue to evolve to being a trusted advisor and away from someone hawking a product. There’s just so much information out there now. So much of the buying process happens before a prospect even talks to a salesperson.
So when a person speaks to a rep, they have a pretty good idea of what they’re looking for and are pretty educated. It’s the salesperson’s job to continue to teach them. Give them insights into how other companies in their industry approach the problem.
Salespeople are responsible for explaining information to prospects if they stumble across confusing marketing language. In the end, the buyer should feel smarter and more confident after talking to a salesperson. The ones that can do this well will thrive; the ones that rely on jargon, high-pressure sales tactics, or even just building a good relationship will fade away.
Anything else to add before we wrap up?
There’s a ton of content about designing effective sales compensation plans, but very little is written about calculating sales commissions. It turns out it’s fairly easy to design a sales comp plan that can be difficult to calculate.
The folks that are designing the plans must be talking to the people that are going to be doing the calculations so they can avoid the trickiest situations.
Unfortunately, that often doesn’t happen, and the burden of calculating commission falls on a weary sales comp administrator. The other thing I’d add is that several incentive compensation management software companies are out there.
We all claim to do roughly the same thing – automate commission calculations and present reports and dashboards to the sales team. The product is undoubtedly important – but equally important is the quality of the implementation. It’s critical that the team configuring the application to meet your needs deeply understands your requirements and builds a solution that can be easily maintainable over time. Software buyers underestimate the importance of this all the time.
Used by large global enterprises such as Veeva, GrubHub, Johnson & Johnson, and Vodafone – as well as growing mid-market companies – Performio is the only Incentive Compensation Management provider that drives business performance with a product built to handle complexity; a team of dedicated experts, and a proven track record of long-term global success.
Grayson Morris serves as Chief Executive Officer and Board Member at Performio, with 15+ years of deep sales compensation experience across hundreds of customers in dozens of industries. He created a product that would strike the perfect balance of flexibility and ease of use for sales professionals.
He was a Co-Founder and served as Managing Director at Stables Partners. Before founding Stables Partners, Grayson led the acquisition and turnaround of Birdwell Beach Britches. Before Birdwell, he worked in sales and operations at Sunrun, the US’s largest dedicated residential solar company. Previous to Sunrun, he worked in sales at SolarCity and as an investment associate at Horsley Bridge, a venture capital and private equity fund-of-funds. Grayson began his career at Guidant Corporation, where he designed drug-eluting cardiac stents. Grayson holds an MBA from Stanford University, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University.
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