Articles |
LinkedIn  Twitter  YouTube  Facebook


May 1, 2014 01:07 PM
Compensation plans shouldn’t be developed in a vacuum. You’ll need to factor in variables such as new product launches and major promotions, as well as consider your personnel structure. Ken Thoreson, president of Acumen Management Group, Ltd., a sales consulting firm, offers these pointers:
May 1, 2014 12:41 PM
Alex F. Osborn, an advertising executive, popularized the term “brainstorming” in the 1950s. Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel B. Rasmussen, authors of “The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems” explain that Osborn was frustrated with the lack of imagination in his employers’ ideas for ad campaigns.
May 1, 2014 12:35 PM
In recent years, the media outlets that bring sports coverage into our homes — and the sports teams themselves — have been swallowed up by corporate conglomerates. Now, the business of bringing corporate groups to experience iconic sporting events live is following suit.
May 1, 2014 01:01 PM
May 1, 2014 01:14 PM
The discussion on “creating a corporate culture” is a never-ending one, but there’s no arguing that it includes recognition and humor. These non-cash incentive ideas from our advertisers are a great start on the former; the charts and excerpts from “The Curriculum: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master of Business Arts” by Stanley Bing is a fun jump into the latter.
May 1, 2014 12:33 PM
Businesses have been bringing groups to popular events for decades and the most common mistakes haven’t changed.
May 1, 2014 01:06 PM
There are three basic building blocks at the highest level of sales compensation. A salesperson’s base salaryand target incentivecombine to create one’s Target Total Compensation (TTC), or the cash that a salesperson should earn for hitting quota. The third building block, upside potential, defines the incentive beyond target that a high performer can earn for exceeding individual goals.
May 1, 2014 12:38 PM
How can live events like the Super Bowl or the Masters Tournament be the backdrop for a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your top performers or key clients? The question answers itself in many respects, but Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, answers it better.
May 1, 2014 12:00 AM
For several years running, this publication and its predecessors have published an annual cover feature extolling the benefits of non-cash incentives as performance boosters. Internally, we refer to it as our “bash cash” issue. To be sure, a substantial amount of research supports the argument that most employees are more engaged in an incentive program and work harder to reach goals when desirable non-cash incentives are offered instead of cash.
May 1, 2014 12:05 PM
Three-fourths of salespeople complain about losing a sale because the price was too high. Three-fourths of them are wrong, says sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer (
May 1, 2014 12:55 PM
Luxury is getting a facelift and it’s impacting the incentives that companies use to motivate their work force. High-end fashion, handbags, jewelry, housewares and other goods were once targeted primarily to middle-age consumers — mostly women. But that demographic continues to spend conservatively, pushing marketers of luxury goods to broaden their target audience to include Millennials and Gen Xers.
May 1, 2014 01:18 PM
May 1, 2014 12:09 PM
Let’s start with some housekeeping. In the March/April issue of Sales & Marketing Management, I looked at consolidation within the sales training industry, focusing on a recent conversation I had with Joe Terry of Corporate Visions, a company that is quickly growing through acquisitions.
May 1, 2014 12:19 PM
A whitepaper with a strong title that is publicized well is like catnip for B2B marketers. But should businesses seeking qualified leads offer content freely or provide “gated” whitepapers, which require interested parties to fill out a contact form in order to access the information they seek. Mark Ryan of online marketing news site ClickZ ( says there are arguments for both. Advantages of gated content:
May 1, 2014 12:00 PM
What happens when someone tells you that solving a problem is urgent to your welfare and/or the welfare of your business? How do you know if someone else’s urgent is your urgent?
May 1, 2014 12:02 PM
Most of the discussion around social media is focused on consumer marketing and not about reaching other businesses. In a recent post on SocialMediaToday, Steve Minks, co-founder of IceSugarMedia (, an integrated solutions digital media consultant, offered his view on the value of the various social media outlets for B2B marketers.
May 1, 2014 01:03 PM
Within five minutes of announcing an incentive plan, someone on your sales team starts to find ways to game it, says Christopher W. Cabrera, author of “Game the Plan: Every Sales Rep’s Dream, Every CFO’s Nightmare” (River Grove Books, 2014). Cabrera is the founder and CEO of Xactly (, a provider of cloud-based incentive compensation and performance management solutions.
May 1, 2014 11:59 AM
Emailing a prospect before making a cold call has become a popular remedy for salespeople who are trying to “soften the blow” of a sales call and, frankly, avoid the pain of hearing “No, thanks.” But an email before a call is not a remedy for making more contacts and sales, says Michael Pedone, CEO of, a provider of online telephone sales training.
April 30, 2014 12:00 AM
It’s a business no-brainer that happy employees make happy customers. But how do you get happy employees that deliver the best possible customer service? It requires employees to move beyond simple compliance of workplace rules and become truly committed to the jobs they do. And moving people to commitment requires positive reinforcement in the leadership system. Employee engagement has been identified by as a key driver of your company’s profitability and human performance. Sadly, only 15 percent of employees say they are “actively engaged” at work.
April 28, 2014 05:06 AM
It has to be one of the funniest sketches ever. A dozen times I’ve watched Lucy in the chocolate factory, and I still laugh. The faster the production line goes, the more chocolates she stuffs in her mouth, blouse, and hat. The supervisor checks in and, finding a clear conveyor belt, compliments Lucy, then shouts, “Speed it up, boys!” while the camera gives us a close-up of Lucy’s horrified face.
April 25, 2014 12:00 AM
In the last week I came across two examples of inadvertent naming mistakes with harmful consequences. I hope these examples help you avoid repeating these mistakes. 1. Use as few names as possible MIT graduates raising money on Kickstarter for a compact, lightweight universal power adaptor named their company FINsix and their product Dart. What’s the problem?
April 23, 2014 12:00 AM
No one likes a naysayer, but sometimes she can be the most valuable person in the room. Too many business teams shoot the messenger instead of listening to the message, Megan McArdle states in a recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek essay.
April 21, 2014 05:35 AM
Low performers, mid-level performers and even high performers need ongoing management. It does not assume high performance, and once high performing, does not assume it will always continue. Everyone needs to be managed on a consistent basis. In sales, the goal of ongoing management is participation rate.  Participation rate is the percentage of sales team members who are at or above plan. For a sales team, participation rate is easy to calculate. On a team of 10 people, where four are above their sales plan on a YTD basis, the participation rate is 40 percent. 
April 18, 2014 12:00 AM
A lot of channel programs are still being managed with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. It’s far more common than you’d expect, even in some of the larger companies. There’s nothing wrong with using spreadsheets for managing a small program, incentive or campaign — or even analyzing a set of data. But ask for anything complex, and your spreadsheet is probably creating more work than it’s doing. 
April 16, 2014 12:00 AM
Do you believe prospective buyers are generally rational? Do you assume that the more information and evidence you pile on them, the better your chances of winning the sale? This must be the case, or why else would there be so many hefty whitepapers with gobs of text, or PowerPoint decks with hundreds of slides, or complicated ROI calculators and spreadsheets out there?