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Named a Strong Performer in “The Forrester Wave™: Sales Performance Management Platforms, Q1 2023”

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How AI Improves Commissions Transparency to Build Trust & Boost Sales Performance

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Building a performance-based sales organization is not a set-it-and-forget-it activity.

Today, building and maintaining a thriving high-performance culture is an ongoing process that requires continuously ensuring your incentives align with best-for-the-business selling behaviors, and then effectively communicating updates or adjustments to the whole team. Reps need to understand how performance will be measured, which specific actions or outcomes are tied to variable compensation, and how they’re performing compared to their peers.

Leaders across the business may invest a lot in designing compensation plans, and think they’re effectively communicating how and when reps will be rewarded for certain behaviors and outcomes. The problem, however, comes with reps not always understanding plan adjustments or the impact of those changes.

Making or Breaking Trust: The Importance of Transparency in Commissions

Transparency in commissions is crucial in helping reps understand how they’re going to make money this month, quarter, or year, giving visibility into how incentives are meant to motivate a specific plan of action. If they don’t fully understand where to place their efforts, this can result in serious consequences, such as a lack of motivation, effort spent on the wrong things, or ambiguity that can take their eye off the ball.

To help solve for these, Incentive compensation management solutions such as CaptivateIQ provide a cross-functional single source of truth, updating in real time and surfacing customizable dashboards that help executives quickly understand how their teams are performing, while also providing visibility to reps to help them feel more secure in their plans and payouts.

Using Technology to Improve Transparency: How AI Can Help

As with most things these days, AI can assist in delivering commissions transparency and trust to reps. New solutions are helping salespeople ask smarter questions – having AI on the team is like having a personal assistant who is always available to provide clarity, not just during “office hours,” but on-demand. No more wading through tedious FAQ’s or emails and powerpoints from the sales kickoff!

Because sales reps tend to be competitive folks who, by nature, care about how they compare to peers, AI can also be a powerful add to your leaderboard, helping reps see where they stand at any given moment. It can also spare them any sense of embarrassment by asking a so-called “dumb question” – they can just ask their AI coach in the privacy of their own account instance. 

Your reps shouldn’t have to work hard to understand their compensation plan, and while those performing at a level 1 or 2 may require another set of actions, it’s important to help your “7’s” get to a 10—to get from good to great—and that requires setting out a clear, unambiguous path.

The best incentive compensation management solutions provide a unified view for the whole sales organization, allowing reps to see how they’re performing against their incentive plan and leaders to see who may need some extra coaching versus who deserves a celebratory public shoutout.

Better Enable Reps to Succeed

As mentioned above, one key way AI can assist in building a performance-based culture is through coaching. AI can help identify for a rep how they might increase commission with a bit more effort on this or that deal, or reminding them that they are 37% of the way to goal attainment, or notifying them that they just jumped up  a space on the team leaderboard. And because Generative AI learns more as someone interacts with it, its value to each rep increases over time. 

Surface More and Better Insights, Faster

Using data analytics, AI can surface the optimized way to design and implement incentive compensation plans, bringing a data-driven approach to planning. Many sales organizations are hard-pressed to find time to transform data from other systems across the enterprise, such as ERP, CRM, finance, HR and operations. Data engineering teams can help, but have full plates of their own – and sales can’t afford to wait days, sometimes weeks, to get that assistance. Once the data is extracted and loaded into a centralized ICM, AI can help you quickly analyze it and point out trends you may otherwise not have spotted for another quarter, if at all.

Sales reps can only carry so much cognitive load. Today’s super complex and often-changing incentive plans, coupled with a lightning-fast market, can create confusion and even burnout. At least you can make sure your transparent approach to ICM can help reps more clearly understand how they can get the most from their variable compensation plans, and AI assistance (assistants?) can help build that trust in both their commission plan and in the sales leadership that guides them.

To learn more about how sales teams are using AI to better understand their commissions and help measure and improve their performance, be sure to watch out on-demand webinar, Unlocking the Power of AI to 10x Sales Motivation and Revenue Performance.

Make commissions 10x better with CaptivateIQ

Talk to our in-house experts to learn how you can make commissions a strategic growth driver.

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