'Transparency' may feel like as much of a buzzword as 'pivot' lately, but there’s something to be gained from having frank and honest conversations with your team. This is particularly true during a recession or any other negative economic period. We brought on Mark Schopmeyer, CEO of community partner CaptivateIQ, to moderate on a panel of sales and business leaders to discuss compensation plans during the challenges of a recession. While many factors came up in the conversations, the necessity to keep communication open and transparent was a key element.
As the group considered Mark’s questions about how long the recession could last, it was obvious that none of the participants are future-seers. It certainly would be helpful if they were – even just a little! Latest reports have speculated a duration of one to four years.
Rome Thorndike, VP of Sales with Datajoy says anything beyond a year is pretty hard to predict.
“I don’t think anyone thought that Ukraine would be invaded,” he says of how things can change in an instant. He also noted that there are trends to watch, “If you see yields collapsing, you know that there’s a larger slow-down on the horizon.”
The average length of a recession since 1900 is 15 months according to Chris Pitchford, VP of Sales with Ally.io, but he’s also very honest about his predictions.
“I’m typically optimistic,” he says. “I’m modeling on 18 to 24 months. I don’t know, is really the truth though.”
"Businesses are sharpening their pencils", says Jeff Ignacio, Head of Sales Ops with Forethought. "Purchases are being limited to 'must have' items. Few businesses are looking for 'nice to haves' or taking risks on radical new technology at this time." He does, however, advise that organizations keep watch on what their competitors are spending on and ensuring the business is staying accountable in its own operations.
Sure, tightening the belt and looking at efficiencies is important, but there’s no need to tighten to the point that your head pops off. Tighten enough to create watchful eyes that might just see an opportunity.
Rome notes that his former organization, Snapdocs, went the opposite way from what investors like Bill Ackman suggested.
“We would have let go of a lot of people,” he says, if the company had listened to all the gloom and doom. “Instead, what we did was look at the signals. What we saw was that Docusign, who was one of our greatest competitors, was doing really well.”
Ackman saw things collapsing, but what Snapdocs had going for it was a platform that allowed people to sign mortgage documents without having to meet face-to-face. It was the perfect fit for everyone who was trying to avoid their realtor’s spittle in the midst of a respiratory-spread disease pandemic.
“We did not let anybody go,” Rome says. “Instead, we did the opposite and it put us in a great position to capture market share.”
This strategy isn’t right for every business, so those watchful, bugged-out eyes need to stay focused. Snapdocs may have benefitted from the pandemic, but other businesses, like Airbnb, made the right decision to conduct layoffs.
“Know your business and see how your comps are doing relative to everyone else,” he says. “I would not listen to what the media is saying.”
"There needs to be an alignment between business plans and comp plans", says Christian Borrelli, VP of Sales with CaptivateIQ. "Part of adjusting to a new market environment includes retaining key talent. That comes from keeping them happy and that, in turn, comes from making sure numbers all jive together."
“You don’t want them stuck on the old numbers in a new business plan,” he says. “In a new environment where companies need to be efficient… there needs to be correction on a comp plan. Don’t try to cut corners and screw your team.”
Jeff suggests doubling-down in areas that are still working and modifying those that aren’t. Revisit things like quotas, the underlying mechanics of the comp plan, looking for rewards outside of money and considering the metrics rewards are based on.
“Readjust accordingly based on the new outcomes of the business and then design new plans,” he says. “Any comp plan should drive the behavior you’re looking for.”
There will be tough conversations ahead says Mark, but this is the basis for that open, honest dialogue an organization needs.
“This honest conversation needs to be happening,” he says. “How do we navigate through a storm that’s coming? The quicker you have that conversation, the easier it’s going to be to, as a team, navigate the harder conversations.”
Chris agrees. “I believe in transparency with your team. There might be tough conversations that are going to come.”
There are five key metrics Chris suggests to keep an eye on.
“I think the typical guidance founders, CEOs are getting right now in terms of the metrics that are really important to be focusing on are: growth, gross margins, net dollar retention, CAC payback and burn multiple,” he says. He also advises, “Shifting to shorter term goals instead of longer-term quotas.”
None of this should happen in a vacuum. While Jeff points out that this is the ideal time to scoop up some great talent, you don’t want to be the company that watched its top-seller walk out the door with the proverbial file box filled with personal items. Conversations are key to learning what’s happening with the team and these need to happen regularly; because, you guessed it, things in the world are happening constantly that could impact the business.
“There’s a lot of different levers to pull in terms of comp plans,” says Jeff. “Compensation is super sensitive for people, especially sales people.”
He reiterated that if people are taken care of, they will stick around. Talking to them about changes will go a long way to creating that vibe.
“Sales people have very long memories,” says Rome. “If you took care of them in the past, they’ll believe you’re going to take care of them now.”
There may be a need to adjust the team’s size, but not without complete consideration. Or, as Christian puts it, “Balance the number of mouths you have to feed with the pipe that you’re getting to them.”
This may mean larger quotas, but it would also mean larger territories to draw from.
Chris is a fan of the “land and expand” approach where arrangements are made with customers for 500 seats, for example, but with the future built into the contract. This could mean an expansion to 1,000 seats in 90 days.
Keep staff in the loop so that they know change is coming and can have a say about what works and what doesn’t. No one knows how long the recession will last (if you do, please give us a call) but by looking at the right factors for your specific business, you can weather the storm without bumping the rocks.
Interested in Joining our Creator Guild? Sign up here to start contributing!
What do sales leaders want out of a territory design process? Join our expert panel to hear about fairness, communication, and using data the right way.
How do tech needs differ from series A to IPO? Join our experts to hear about the lessons they learned about growing GTM systems and ops at Lob and Okta.
Is your RevOps team respected? Join our panel of experts as they show you how to use insights and KPIs to prove your value and get a seat at the table.
How do you improve process adoption? Join our experts as they share their top tips for increasing new software process adoption within your sales team.
Are your comp plans aligned with your key business metrics? Join our experts as they share 5 comp levers you can pull to drive sales productivity in 2024.
Discover the key to sustainable revenue growth by treating RevOps as a product, aligning with C-level priorities, and solving customer gaps.
Unlock the secrets of effective compensation planning. Learn to design equitable, motivating, and business-aligned plans. Join us for Comp Planning 101!
Are you maximizing profit through renewals and expansion deals? Hear from our panel about their best practices for increasing profit and net retention.
Conga has a long track record of deploying AI and machine learning into its solutions. Hear how they incorporated it into their day-to-day activities.
Marketers are under more pressure than ever to prove their ROI, but it isn’t easy. Listen in and learn how operations can be a better partner to their CMO
Learn to make data-driven decisions that impact your company’s value by tuning in as RevOps veterans Vernon Bubb and Werner Schmidt share their insights.
Are silos slowing down your goals? Join our panel as they explain how to build collaboration with leadership, cross-functional teams, and within RevOps.
Is your company pivoting to focus more on customer retention? Join our experts as they explain how to master the art of renewal forecasting.
How do you win more deals? Join our panel as they share how a win-loss analysis can help you understand your customers better and improve your win rates.
Generating more revenue with less resources is challenging. Join our panel as they explain how to undertake a revenue lifecycle management transformation.
Motivating sales reps is a challenge. Join Melodie Schwartz and Remi Morken as they share how to include transparency when gamifying your sales goals.
Do you have a territory plan for 2024? Learn all about territory management from Jasmine Carnell from Rentable and Hayes Davis from Gradient Works.
How can your RevOps function influence behavior in your revenue teams? Join Ryan Wong as he shares his 5 RevOps playbooks for driving better outcomes.
How do you build a RevOps data stack at a startup, mid-market, or enterprise org? Join Polytomic and Retool as they share how to evolve your data stack.
Are you building out the RevOps function at your Org? David Maxey answers questions in our community AMA about the right framework for RevOps success.
Do you want to iterate pricing strategies faster, close more deals, and bring RevOps closer to finance? You need CPQ, usage, and billing in one system.
Data quality problems are challenging. Join RevOps experts from Openprise as they share their strategies and tactics for unlocking data quality excellence.
Tired of trying to build the perfect single source of truth? There’s a new way for RevOps to manage systems and data. It’s time for the distributed truth.
Trying to build an ABM strategy? Here’s how RevOps can launch campaigns with sales playbooks, niche audience selection, display ads, and sales outreach.
How can finding your ideal customer profile (ICP) help your sales team? Join Patri.io to learn how to close deals faster and create lifetime customers.
How does RevOps work in a product-led-growth company? Join our experts as they share how to put your buyer in the driver’s seat of your product.
There’s more to RevOps than data, processes, and systems. Soft skills can help you build trust, get creative, and enable your end users to reach goals.
You know that your RevOps team is the real MVP. Show your board with these 3 RevOps practices for building comp plans, tech stacks, and data storytelling.
How can RevOps establish a prominent role within the organization? RevOps professionals reveal the path to becoming the trusted authority in your org.
Does your territory planning result in ownership disputes and incorrect segmentation? If so, it’s time to use low code automation to improve your results.
What do RevOps leaders report as their biggest challenge? Data hygiene. Here is some practical advice on data hygiene best practices.
Maximizing time to value can make all the difference between customer churn or customer renewal.
Are you living in a data dystopia? Here are 8 steps to help you understand, enrich, dedupe, and operationalize your data...and create a data utopia. 🧘♂️
Automate your round robin workflows and improve competitor reporting in Salesforce with these managed packages.
Learn how to avoid the growing pains of a scaling #startup and level up your RevOps game with the help of experienced experts.
Buying software is harder than ever. Our panel of RevOps pros discuss how to create a purchasing business case that addresses your CFOs pains.
Are you spending the right amount of resources at the top of your funnel? scaleMatters helps you model your rep capacity to balance your funnel resources.
Discover core strategies for reducing customer acquisition costs and optimizing sales productivity in B2B SaaS with Gradient Works.
Stop focusing on growth at all costs. RevOps teams must pivot towards profitable growth by mitigating risk and improving forecast predictability.
Discover career growth tips and insights on mindfulness and revenue operations from Olivier Labbé, CRO at TestBox.
“PLG Is the Death of Sales.” Just Kidding! Discover the actual latest product-led growth (PLG) trends in B2B SaaS in this interview with Stephen Moock, Head of Sales & Success at Calixa.
You have a Salesforce data model, even if you don’t know it. Pros give advice about which of the most common data models will work for your RevOps team.
Get Pro Tips on Go-To-Market Tech Stack Building & Management from Experienced RevOps Leaders.
Matthew Volm, CEO and Co-Founder of RevOps Co-op, talks to experts about how to automate the support process without sacrificing the customer experience.
We put together an all-star expert panel discussion on how to efficiently manage and prioritize customers to meet business goals in a challenging economy.
RevOps is perfectly situated to help their executive shine during a capital raise. Learn how to prep your team and exactly what investors are looking for.
We put together an all-star expert panel discussion on how to efficiently manage and prioritize customers to meet business goals in a challenging economy.
It’s that time of year again! Read on for a recap from a star-studded round table to learn tips and tricks on creating next year’s compensation plans.
Want to see how a compensation plan measures up? Watch RevOps pros get their comp plan questions answered. Spiff deconstructs plans with the RevOps Co-op.
It’s not uncommon for a sales team not to trust a comp plan. Thanks to QuotaPath, you can build yours with trust with their insights and free planning tool!
Funnels are filled with a lot of misunderstanding, but this roundtable is here to clear the confusion! Check out Funnel Fiascos and How to Fix Them.
How will you make 2023 a year that hits the record books for all the RIGHT reasons? Hear how experts are approaching their plans thanks to CPQ and more!
It feels like the comp plan was just established and you’d like to “let it ride,” but should you? Check out how these experts suggest evaluating comp plans.
From an investor perspective, the birth of RevOps is a controversial discussion but Peter McCoy knows an important role when he sees it and supports it.
Think MQLs are dead? Think again. Looking at funnel best practices, this roundtable of experts knows MQLs are very much alive and important to sales funnels.
RevOps is a process-based function that enables others with information. We’re joined by Nicholas Gollop, a certified RevOps + Salesforce consultant, to talk about the fine points of the role.
The future of B2B may lie in the hands of RevOps pros. Abhijeet Vijayvergiya integrated B2B buyer data and funnel activity into front-line tools and sees RevOps as the way to success.
At RevOps Co-op, we lift up ALL voices of our members. In this roundtable, we chatted with Black voices within RevOps. Here are the main takeaways.
RevOps teams have the interesting challenge of solving problems today while planning for growth in the future – Richard’s unique team structure helps.
RevOps professionals facilitate cross functional team work in all its forms and must learn to include and appreciate finance in that team.
Commission programs need to be fair to both employees and employers and they can be implemented without the pains of manual entry.
Full Cycle Sellers are the sales people who do it all, but technology can help them work smarter (not harder) as they adapt to organizational growth and change.
Cliff Simon, VP of Sales and Revenue at Carabineer Group, shares best practices and lessons learned when it comes to new CRM set up projects.
Nicole Smith, Head of Revenue Operations at Greenlight Guru, shares what RevOps professionals need to keep advancing their technical skills to create more success and advance their career.
Krystal Diel, Director of Revenue at Capacity, shares how to prioritize the budget you have, how to argue for more funding, and why understanding your stakeholders can make a big difference during negotiations.
Everstage, a RevOps Co-Op community partner, helps to demystify the move from a supporting role to a strategic role in RevOps.
Demandbase joins us to talk about why Account-Based Experience (ABX) makes sense for B2B, what you’ll need, and how to get started.
Jamie Klanac, Vice President of Revenue Operations at Transflo, shares his wealth of experience from managing over 20 acquisitions.
In this episode, Toby Carrington, SVP of Revenue Operations at Seismic, shares how people can prepare themselves to move from a siloed operations role to RevOps, why enablement belongs in RevOps, and what people new to Ops should think about before making the leap to RevOps.
During this episode, Asia talks about making the best out of a limited budget, early startup revenue operations priorities, and which tools are a must-have for every revenue operations team.