Everybody has their place in a company. Everybody makes contributions to the business to make it…hum, hopefully, the way it should. From the early arriver who hits the lights for the first time in the morning, to the janitor who hits those same lights at night to shut things down. Everybody has a role. But what’s the most important role? It seems every person, in every position, within a company will make an argument why their position is the most important. But the sales professional? They’ve got a legitimate argument…Every. Single. Time.
“They’re the highest paid, and they know it,” said Wendy Alexander, an independent hiring consultant who helps companies in the hiring process. “They know that without sales, nothing else goes. Nothing happens until something is sold.”
But Alexander also says it’s not just the talent of a salesperson. Many times, you’re paying for their connections.
“They’re networked in, and you have to pay for that,” she said. “In a weird way, you have to pay for all the relationship building that people have done throughout their career.”
But in the end, she agrees there is absolutely a talent and craft to high-level sales, and the compensation that follows is a must.
It’s a people-person, but it’s also a people-person who can close.
“You’ve found something rare,” Alexander said of that mixture of people-person, who’s also a hard closer. “You’re paying for their networks and all the painstaking relationships they have built over the years.”
Many CEOs and Executives understand the value of a strong sales person, and don’t hesitate at highly compensating their sales professional.
Still others, just don’t get it.
Even though a strong sales force can certainly move the needle on revenues for a company, there’s always that concern about the return on investment into an employee.
Some of the excuses to keep compensation down for a sales person, even if they are meeting and exceeding goals, are perplexing and a real head-scratcher.
No matter the industry, you’ll often hear executive management teams trying to hold their sales professional down. Sales professional don’t deserve to earn that much money.
No doubt you’ve probably heard that one before. Or, Sales professional should never earn more than the CEO.
There is still that old school thinking in the workplace, and relics such as those above still surface. But Alexander scoffs at it, and says you get what you pay for.
“You can try to pay at the low end of the pay scale to save money, but paying for experience will actually save you money,” she said. “Pay people what they are worth, and more often than not, those people will bring the quality to your organization that is well worth it.”
Alexander also said to do your research online as there is a load of good salary information on the Internet.
But it’s not always just compensation issues that cause the hurdle when making the right decision to pay your salesperson. Many times, it’s just finding that right person before worrying about compensation.
It’s an obstacle that’s stood the test of time in business: finding, hiring and motivating great sales professional.
It may cost you to find the right people, but there’s a reason for it. Don’t look for sales professional on typical job search sources such as job boards, recruiting sites and social media sites. Salespeople looking for sales jobs are…well, bad salespeople.
The good ones are out there, banging on doors, shaking hands and uncorking the ringer off cell phones day and night. They’re out selling, and if you want to attract those types of salespeople, you need a solid brand, a bonus structure, compensation plans, incentives and sales models.
When it comes to the bottom line, it’s best to pay your top salespeople what they deserve, and then some. It could quite possibly save you in the long run. According to a recent study by the Aberdeen Group of Massachusetts, the average cost of replacing a sales rep was $30,420.
But finding that right balance is the key. Good salespeople are expensive, there’s no way around it. And it’s been made very clear that paying good salespeople will continue to drive your business.
How you pay them, however, can be tricky. There are many ways to choose from when it comes to paying your revenue producers. It’s salary vs. commission and finding that right balance is key.
But one thing to always remember is that commission salary motivates the salesperson to sell harder. Strong salaries, no matter the position, create loyal employees.