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3 Key Elements of an Effective Sales Comp Plan

4 min read
Updated Aug. 25, 2021
Published Jul. 5, 2017

While your company’s mission and improving the lives of your customers can and should be a large part of what motivates your sales team, at the end of the day, their primary motivation lies more along the lines of that scene from Jerry Maguire: SHOW ME THE MONEY! Having the right comp plan in place can ensure that your sales organization is properly motivated and giving their best effort.

But a solid comp plan is more than just offering more money. The best incentives actually work to promote the best behaviors in your SDRs and AEs by aligning with their specific goals. Keeping your comp plans clear, fair, and aligned with company goals should be the top priority. Clarity within comp plans allow each rep to know exactly what they will receive for their efforts. Keeping incentives fair regulates what is requested of a rep within easily trackable comp plans. And, finally, you want your comp plan to align with company goals to always keep that company momentum going forward.

We’ve invited Erin Bush, Director of Revenue Operations here at Salesloft, to walk you through how our team develops compensation plans across SDRs and AEs.


Hi, this is Erin Bush. I lead the revenue operations team here at Salesloft. What that means is that we support the marketing, sales, and customer success teams with their process, compensation, and the systems that they use to do their jobs.

Often we hire people as SDRs and then as they achieve within that role, they move up to becoming AEs. So one of the things the revenue operations team does is to ensure that the target’s incentives and compensation are aligned for the SDR and AE teams as each person can progress.

The way that we approach comp plans is to make sure that they’re clear, fair, and aligned with company goals. First, for clarity, we give each rep a documented comp plan so that they can refer back to that as they’re going through their week or their month and tracking their progress. The second thing is fair, to make sure that the things that they’re being asked to do align with their comp plan and they can track those as well.

The third is aligned with company goals. A couple of examples, I’ll start with SDRs. For SDRs, they’re measured by two main criteria. The first is meetings completed. What that means for us is that they have connected with a company. They have qualified that this is a potential customer for our company and they have handed that meeting off to an AE and the AE has completed it. Our SDRs are comped on the amount of revenue from opportunities that they create.

This does a couple of things. It aligns them with the AE team, the particular AE who is working on opportunities that they’re creating and also aligns them with the overall company goals of growing business and growing revenue. For our AEs we have also set a very straightforward goal of compensating them on the revenue for deals that they close. I’ve worked in companies where there’ve been different commission rates for new business compared to renewals or upsells and we’ve tried to make it as straightforward as possible where they’re paid a certain amount for a standard deal, more for multi-year deals, and more for when they’ve achieved their target so that their personal goals are aligned with company goals.

Thank you for watching. Please share your compensation ideas or questions below. Happy lofting!

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