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May 07, 2010
Sales Compensation Strategies that Worked During the Economic Downturn

In a BLR webinar entitled "Sales Compensation Strategies: How to Motivate and Re-Energize Your Sales Staff in a Challenging Economy," Dan Kleinman, principal of Dan Kleinman Consulting, a compensation and human resource consulting firm, described what some firms did right with their sales staff compensation strategies to survive the challenging economy.

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  • Didn't waiver from their compensation approach (very few one-offs)
  • Kept to payout deadlines; were error free
  • Avoided bad precedents (people have selective recall)
  • Didn't panic or perpetuate disastrous behavior
  • Kept to the fundamentals (avoided manipulation of compensation; avoided mid-stream payout changes)
  • Modeled and remodeled (factored in cost of sales; worked the thresholds)

Even if they did it right, there were still times when it became intolerable. In those instances:

  • They closed out their plans.
  • They paid off the participants to date.
  • They started over!

Dan Kleinman is the principal of Dan Kleinman Consulting, a California-based compensation and human resource consulting firm. For the past 18 years, he has served as an independent consultant for a broad spectrum of regional, national, and international companies, providing compensation, performance, organizational planning, and reward-system design services. He may be reached at

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