2 minute read – Last updated: May 11, 2020

Adjustments to sales incentives during the slowdown

Ask the Expert with Robert St-Jacques — Episode 12

Our GM of Professional Services Robert St. Jacques has been answering the questions we continue to receive about HR and people management changes during the health crisis. 

Q: What about sales incentives plans? Any insights as to how peers in other businesses have adapted to the new situation?

RSJ: Like most things during this crisis, it runs along a continuum. At one end of the continuum, you have organizations that are maintaining their sales incentive plans, their targets and so on, with the thought process that they will adjust these at some point towards the end of the performance period to see how things went. 

As a quick aside here, I’ve seen some surveys that found that about two thirds of organizations have not moved or altered their sales people’s targets, activities, and behaviors during this time. They still have the salespeople working away at things, maybe with modified offerings. That’s why a lot of organizations have decided to maintain the current sales incentives that they have and look at it towards the end of the time period and make adjustments. 

A second group of organizations is keeping their sales force working full time and what they do is they adjust the targets. The expectations for Q2 might be reduced and then maybe increased again for Q3 and Q4. 

Continuing on the spectrum, another group is going to delay some sort of the sales incentive and cover off some sort of salary. This may depend on what type of organization you have, what type of sales they do, what percentage of salary is made up by commissions, and so on. What they just do is make up a certain amount of it and then delay any sort of sales incentive plan until things come back to normal.


Do you have a question that you would like Robert to answer? Send it in and we may include it in an upcoming episode.