Convincing your boss to sign off on more resources for sales comp can feel like an uphill battle. After all, does your organization really need to sink even more money into sales compensation? The short answer is, yes.
Managing your biggest line item with disjointed commission spreadsheets or clunky legacy software muzzles efficiency, motivation, and ultimately growth. It’s a risk your company can’t afford to take— especially now, with more talk of an impending recession each day.
You need a proper commission management software to effectively future-proof your compensation strategy, so your team can run like a well-oiled machine— rain or shine. So how do you secure more budget when there doesn’t seem to be enough to go around?
The key is to frame your request in a way that will resonate with your manager– meaning, tie your asks to the things your boss cares about most. Let’s jump into it!
Step #1: Flag shortcomings with spreadsheets
Too many leaders dismiss spreadsheets as an administrative nuisance or necessary evil. To get your boss to see the light, you’ll need to explain how manual processes are a serious liability. Pinpoint specific shortcomings:
Spreadsheets are prone to mistakes.
Since any manual process is inherently more vulnerable to human error, it limits your ability to ensure timely, accurate payouts. Compounded over time, even minor blips can erode the trust sales has in the finance team and in the organization as a whole. Commission is only effective if you have the technology to deliver consistently— without errors or delays.
Reps are always in-demand, and can easily move on to other opportunities if you give them a reason to question their commission statements. Uncertainty in a volatile market will only exacerbate their flight risk, so it’s better not to take any chances. Besides, backfilling these roles is an astronomical expense, and you also lose revenue due to diminished sales capacity while hiring and onboarding replacements.
Learn more about the high cost of sales turnover: Sales Turnover: Why Doing Less Costs More [+ Calculator]
Spreadsheets restrict visibility into sales comp.
Since spreadsheets are decentralized and typically require advanced functions or logic, sales reps often struggle to make sense of their commission payouts. But how is your team supposed to be motivated to close more deals if it’s unclear how and when they’ll be compensated?
Spreadsheets are inefficient.
Manually processing sales compensation eats up a lot of time that could otherwise be spent on high-value activities, like analyzing, modeling, designing, or recommending commission plan components to effectively motivate different sales roles and deliver maximum ROI.
Spreadsheets aren’t future-proof.
In fact, spreadsheets remained almost completely unchanged for decades. But cumbersome, manual processes weren’t designed to handle the nuance and complexities of modern day comp plans that may shift on a dime to keep up with changes in the market.
Spreadsheets also aren’t equipped to accommodate continually evolving requirements for SOX and ASC 606 compliance, which could mean serious financial repercussions for your organization.
When your organization relies on spreadsheets, growth is determined by technical limitations, rather than your sales team. This isn’t just slowing you down in the present, but risking your capacity for future growth.
Step #2: Discuss the benefits of commission software
Making your case for more resources will be easier if you approach your boss with your talking points already prepared. Here are a few points we recommend touching on:
Commission software drastically reduces sales comp errors.
Automated commission calculations will help safeguard payouts from mistakes that can undermine motivation, tank productivity, and ultimately drive team members out the door. Using commission software for audits will also keep potentially costly errors out of your ASC 606 and SOX reports.
Commission software boosts sales comp visibility for reps.
With commission software, reps can use visual dashboards to view their earnings based on real-time CRM data and even trace calculations to see how and why they’re getting paid. When reps have real clarity around their compensation, they can focus less on decoding commission statements and more on actually selling.
Improve operational efficiency.
Commission software can easily integrate with CRMs, ERPs, HRSIs, and payroll platforms, replacing bottle necks and siloes with a streamlined and centralized source of truth. A dedicated tool will also eliminate the menial, low-value tasks that eat up hours every pay cycle, and help your sales operations and finance teams move a lot faster.
Step #3: Prepare for objections
The decision to upgrade sales commission resources may be out of your control, but you can still keep some counter-arguments in your back pocket.
“We can’t afford it.”
Ensuring accurate, timely payouts with commission software will cost significantly less in the long term than the money you’ll lose on unmotivated sales reps and replacing reps lost to sales turnover.
“It doesn’t make sense to invest in new sales comp tools if there’s a recession around the corner.”
Reps have a short enough tenure as it is. In a recession, they won’t stick around and give you the benefit of the doubt if they spot a mistake on their commission statement. The best way to recession-proof your sales organization is by eliminating the risk of payout errors with automated commission software.
“Future-proofing isn’t a priority. We don’t know what the market will look like a year from now— there might not even be a recession.”
Uncertainty in the market is precisely why future-proofing is so important. With commission software, your sales commission processes will be streamlined and automated regardless of external factors— good or bad.
“Processing sales comp has always been a pain, but someone has to do it. That’s part of the job.”
Unnecessary drudge work doesn’t serve anyone in your organization. With commission software, your compensation process can be easy and efficient, so you can turn more of your attention to high-value work.
For more information about future-proofing your sales organization, check out the following articles:
- Motivating Your Employees During Tough Times
- The Top 10 Reasons Your Spreadsheet Will Fail You At Scale
- Replacing Excel for Commissions
Spiff is a new class of software that creates trust across the organization by delivering real-time automation of commission calculations and motivates teams to drive top-line growth. With a combination of an intuitive UI, real-time visibility, and seamless integrations into current systems, Spiff is the first choice among high-growth businesses. Spiff’s sales commission software enables finance and sales operations teams to self-manage complex incentive compensation plans and provides transparency for sales teams.