Sales Compensation

Great sales compensation programs are designed with more than just company goals and market conditions in mind. They take into account what motivates salespeople, how to promote desired changes in reps’ behaviors, what sales leaders and HR teams need, and what the C-suite’s goals are—and they also consider how all of these may change over time.

We partner with your sales teams to answer complex business questions, conduct in-depth research, and ultimately help design and launch a motivational compensation program that will excite your sales force and promote top-line growth.

Three Hidden Dangers Lurking in Your Sales Comp Plan 


The ZS Approach

ZS has more than 30 years of experience artfully blending sales compensation plan design, the latest technology and day-to-day compensation management into an optimal solution—for both global and local organizations. In fact, we’re the only consulting firm that goes beyond designing effective plans for our pharmaceutical clients all the way to implementing and running them with cutting-edge technologies and hands-on support.

Today, we manage almost $2 billion of our clients' sales compensation budgets annually with our broad capabilities, including MBOs, global incentive compensation and a lot more. Here’s what ZS can do for you:

Design: An effective compensation plan starts with rigorous qualitative and quantitative research. We work with sales leaders to understand important factors like market conditions, product portfolios and cost of sales. Then we develop financial models showing how our plan supports your business goals. Finally, we help you construct a plan based on what motivates each of your sales reps.

Communication and change management: Compensation plans that truly motivate a sales force and maximize sales are communicated early and often—and in terms that your salespeople will understand. Our communication services help customize the rollout of your new compensation plan to ensure that your reps understand the initiatives and associated metrics, and that they’re on board. We offer communication services and tools, from brochures and web content to presentations and train-the-trainer materials.

Motivation: At ZS, we believe that improving business outcomes requires maximizing not only your team members’ capabilities but also their sense of motivation. While many sales leaders know how to bolster their team’s capabilities, how do you maximize a subjective factor like motivation? You start by measuring it. ZS has developed an objective measurement—we call it Energy—to help you quantify your team’s level of motivation through behavioral science. Specifically, we derive your team’s Energy Score via our Control Affiliation Recognition Excellence (CARE) framework, an emotional balance sheet that keeps track of sources of motivation and motivational drains, like autonomy, compensation and career progression. Once we understand what specifically motivates your team and your company’s performance in each area of the framework through the Energy Score, we can help you to address performance gaps, often through incentives, training, job design or leadership communication.

Technology: Once the sales compensation design is complete, we can use a combination of proprietary and third-party technologies to run it. Our host of solutions—providing visibility for field reps, and analytics for headquarters and sales operations—can be customized to meet your company’s specific needs. Our technologies help companies put solutions into action across multiple territories, tracking information and sharing it with team members everywhere. And we’ll be with you the whole time, ensuring adoption within your company.

Managed services: From setting goals and calculating incentive payouts, to managing quality control and payroll files, our managed services are specialized and cost-effective, and supported by a dedicated help desk. Our solutions are flexible and scalable: We’ll help you customize solutions by geography and territory characteristics, and adjust them as your sales environment changes over time.

End-to-End Solutions for All of Your Sales Compensation Needs

Whether you want help building a compensation plan or you need us to take the reins, we can build and run a compensation plan that’s uniquely tailored to your business. Our expertise enables clients’ plans to boost sales teams’ motivation and, ultimately, revenue—while keeping selling costs predictable. Working in close collaboration with clients, we help you “see around the corner” to anticipate market and team changes, and to adjust accordingly.

Take a look at our sales compensation insights and contact us to get started.

Three Hidden Dangers Lurking in Your Sales Comp Plan