The War Room

Comp plan nightmares

Everyone has them, let's hear them.

I'll start. Had to grind in 2020 like I've never had to grind before to hit my annual number. #feelsgoodman

How does company respond? Slashes the 2021 commision structure by 50% and increases quota 1.7x.

🏰 War Stories
Notorious Answer
Account Executive
Yikes, sorry to hear that man. I've just had a past manager pretty much tinker with numbers and make up a number based on a whim for commissions. SDRs hated him and complained constantly but it fell on deaf ears.Β 

We eventually learned to buy him lunch or something around the beginning of every month (when he goes over last months commission) to get him in a better mood, and give us more money. It's just sad that a bunch of people in their 20s have to treat a grown ass man that way.
WR Officer
Head of Growth
I've seen a ton of terrible comp plans in my day (including ones I've made). The worst situation I've ever had though was when I was working at a big public company. New year, new comp plan, blah blah. However, there were 3 things that made it especially shitty:

1) The person rolling it out didn't totally understand it. We had a bunch of questions about our pay. My manager didn't know all the specifics and ended up getting mad at us for asking.Β 

2) It was ALL negative. There was no upside to it. It's my philosophy that a comp plan change can't be all good or all bad. Find a silver lining if you need to.Β 

3) It wasn't logical. I don't remember the specific percentages, but I remember that we were paid LESS for closing multi-year deals because there was a discount and we were paid on ARR... Comp plans need to make sense fundamentally.Β 
Account Executive
Agreed. Interesting read.
Account Executive
I’ll be honest and I’m not proud to say this but my comp plan is so convoluted, I dont even fully understand it but I get paid much better on deals I close as part of this tiny portfolio company than I did when I worked for a large 600+ headcount software company where the comp plan was very well defined πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ No complaints.
WR Officer
that's queen coups to u
A friend of mine currently works for a company that has decided it's top reps are making too much money and think it's unfair to other (underperforming or very junior) reps. So they're attempting to take away many of the top rep's accounts that they work with on an ongoing basis and redistribute them among the other reps. The top reps are estimated to be taking a 20-30k pay decrease if this little maneuver goes down.

It's going over about as well as you would imagine. I'd argue that socialism has no place anywhere, but DEFINITELY not in sales.
WR Officer
That's horrible. I bet the top reps won't be sticking around for much longer.
Big Shot
I noticed that my industry a lot of people got their base slashed by 50% AM business partners are not shy to give me their CVs to secure a job to get back their old base salary. I feel companies where in panic mode during COVID time I can say I had between 5 to 10 resumes from AMs whom im doing business with. One of those company laid off 3 AMs in 1 year.Β 

On my side I just heard that 1 colleague is getting the bad side of the stick having a base of 6k USD annually.
Account Director
We had 50% of our reps hit accelerators in 2020 then leadership said they "didn't budget" for paying out that much commission.Β Β 

We're now in Month 2 of negotiating to get paid what our 2020 comp plan says we are owed.
WR Lieutenant
The worst comp plan change I've experienced was a complete rehaul of commission structure COMBINED with an entirely new selling rules of engagement and acceptable accounts.

Motivation aside, many of my fellow AEs had enough of a process that the new quotas were doable with a grind. However, once 35% of accounts became unsellable to our was not pretty.
Senior Account Executive
I worked for a VERY large tech company. I was told by a friend in senior management that a division lead would have a weekly call to go through deals set to close, calculate the commission to be earned and determine if the rep would be given a "retroactive quota adjustment" to reduce the payout.Β  I would not have believed it if I had not both seen and experienced it myself twice.Β  They are even known to claw-back commissions after a retroactive change.Β  Can you imagine getting a commission and then 60 days later getting a bill for part of it back?Β Β 

0% commission comp plans
Looming comp plan change.