Research Part 6: Compensation

Author: BCG | AA-ISP
Posted: August 3rd, 2021

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Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and AA-ISP have partnered to bring the Inside Sales community research in 2021. 

In this sixth installment of an ongoing series BCG partnered with the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals to assess compensation, bonuses, and other incentives. The results show that companies still set targets primarily on the basis of historical performance, which means that they are missing an opportunity to use compensation and rewards more strategically to reinforce and reward the right behaviors in sales teams.

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Quick Findings: 

  1. Despite the emergence of analytical tools that can better predict customers’ buying behavior, sales executives report that they continue to rely heavily on traditional approaches in determining seller targets—although they also express a desire to improve. 
  2. Near-term revenue remains the primary metric for setting sales targets, as relatively few companies factor growth, profit margins, or longer-term customer success into the equation.
  3. Companies have aligned their compensation plans with near-term strategic objectives, but sales executives are divided about how effectively these plans reinforce the company’s core values and sustainability.
  4. The pay discrepancy between comparable inside sales teams and field sales roles remains—reinforcing the cost advantage of inside sales.
  5. The pandemic has compelled companies to review and reassess their compensation and incentive structures in light of the shift to virtual selling and the new ways of working that are emerging.