Measuring Sales Compensation Program Impact

14 October 2021


Sales organizations’ largest single expense (by far) is salesperson compensation. For other firm functions, payroll expense is predictable (if not boring), and not often considered in a strategic context. Sales compensation plans, on the other hand, are rarely the same from firm to firm. They change frequently with management priorities, they include both fixed (salary) and often complicated variable pay elements, and they address a group of professionals whose strong opinions about their own compensation often include keen insight into the competitive pay practices of market competitors.

How well do sales compensation programs serve their largest stakeholder group – their payees? This research measures the degree to which firms consider salesperson sentiment and satisfaction important in judging the effectiveness of their sales compensation programs. And, it details how, when, and in what form firms solicit input from salesperson payees on their sales compensation plans. In identifying these practices, the research hopes to quantify the business value of incorporating field input on sales compensation programs, including its impact on overall sales compensation program effectiveness and on sales force productivity.

Condition of Participation

Research participants are asked to complete an online survey lasting approximately 12 minutes, and may optionally elect to participate in a brief telephone follow-up interview.

Participation Eligibility

The study is open to management practitioners responsible for developing, supporting, or managing a sales force. Target participants are involved in incentive compensation design, planning, or administration, or support on behalf of their organization’s sales force.

Benefits of Participation

Participants receive:

    A copy of the findings report on this research topic

    An invitation to a Sales Management Association webcast in which summary findings are presented to our audience in February 2022.

Research Timeline

Research closes 31 January 2022
Research report is expected to publish February 2022.


Survey results are only reported in aggregate, and never in a way that would compromise the identity of any single respondent. All individual respondent data are treated with strict confidentiality, and will not be distributed.

Research Underwriting

This research is made possible in part through the underwriting support of

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