I was recently invited to attend the annual President's Forum by The Entrepreneurship Institute in Boston. Although originally skeptical, I found the one day event to be extremely informative and enjoyable. Attending the event were roughly 100 CEO's from many successful organizations throughout New England and three guest lecturers that have experienced a significant amount of accomplishment in their careers. The format of the event was open forum and allowed the attendees to discuss challenges and seek advice amongst peers from all industries.
During one of the forums, a very common and concerning question was brought in front of the panel, "How do I motivate my sales team when their compensation will decrease by at least 25% this year?"
Although discouraging, I am sorry to say that this is a typical concern for CEO's in today's economic hardship. When profit margins are low and in some cases nonexistent, how do you respond to the consistent salesman mantra and famous Jerry Maguire quote "Show me the money"?? In many cases there is no money due to increased taxes, cobra benefits and skyrocketing healthcare costs. This recession is wide, deep and indeed long. Each CEO in the forum could relate to this concern because they too are facing the reality that their sales people are beat up and burnt out. Everyone is fighting hard to close business and increase cash flow but the constant fight seems to be taking its toll. Every CEO fears that their employees may be conducting salary comparisons and searches for new employment opportunities.
This topic of discussion proved to be a hot topic for the CEOs in attendance and the question fielded a plethora of responses, many of which we've already heard before. The most common suggestion was to find additional cut backs to support the sales team, however the problem is that there really is no financial solution to line the pockets of sales professionals unl