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Revenue Operations

How to Keep Ramping Sellers Motivated with Their Comp Plan

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How does your sales ramp work? If it only covers product training and an expectation that your reps will reach 100% attainment in 3 months, you’re doing it wrong. Join our experts, Melodie Schwartz, VP of Enablement & Operations at Spiff, and Lee Tennant, Director of RevOps at Tapcheck, as they discuss setting ramp periods properly, review example ramp plans, and share why motivation is a crucial component for reps.

“The onboarding period is when sales people decide how much of their life they want to give you.” - Melodie Schwartz

If you’re like most companies, you’ve randomly chosen a round number like 30, 60, or 90 days, for new hire ramp time. But if we asked you why you chose that number…you likely don’t have a good answer. Understanding your sales data can help you identify factors that will create a ramp program that motivates and retains your reps.

Demystifying how to set ramp targets

If you don’t have a lot of historical data, or your data isn’t great, there are a few ways to get your head around what a realistic ramp period should look like:

  • Start with your average deal cycle time 
  • Find 1 or 2 top performing AEs to serve as models
  • Study each deal from initial contact to close 

These insights will help you determine how long it takes to fill a  rep’s pipeline, how much effort is required to close one deal, and which sales behaviors lead to the best outcomes. You may find that 3 months is plenty of time. Alternatively, you may need a 6 month ramp.

How to structure your ramp period

To balance learning with sales effort, make sure your first 3 months encourage the right behaviors and provide a way to track outcomes. Here’s an example of a 3 month ramp plan: 

Month 1: 

  • Learning - Introduce the company, products, ICP, processes, and teams
  • Effort - Assign new reps to shadow experienced sellers, set up role plays
  • Outcomes - Start selecting accounts, mapping out plans, sourcing opportunities, and achieving initial KPIs like setting new meetings

Month 2:

  • Learning - Expand into intermediate product knowledge, industry trends, buyer personas, and competitive analysis 
  • Effort - Assign reps to work deals with their mentor or manager
  • Outcomes - Source new opportunities, progress existing deals, and set up coaching sessions 

Month 3:

  • Learning - Dive into advanced product knowledge, technical concepts, and deal management and forecasting
  • Effort - Have reps own their primary and secondary job responsibilities
  • Outcomes - Increase autonomy in deal management, forecast deals to close

Comp plan components and creative incentives

“If reps feel like they have to do calculus to know what they’ll be earning, it's not motivating.” - Lee Tennant 

Compensation plans and policies have a huge impact on the behaviors and performance of your sales team. In fact, salespeople are 50% more likely to leave a job if they are dissatisfied with their comp plan. 

Most comp plans include up to 4 components: 

  • Base salary 
  • Bonuses/incentives 
  • Multi-year compensation
  • Kickers or accelerators 

There’s a lot of room to get creative with these components. In fact, your incentives can improve teamwork while also motivating individual reps. Consider adding a team-based metric that includes working together in pods with SDRs and SEs, overachievement accelerators, spiffs, and key business objective multipliers.

Visibility supports motivation

“Real time visibility means that your reps will trust the comp plan.” - Melodie Schwartz 

You can have the perfect comp plan and sales ramp strategy, but without visibility, your reps will get nervous about their paychecks. Adding in commission management software to your sales stack gives reps visibility into their commission in real time so they can understand which behaviors lead to successful outcomes and, ultimately, help you retain your top performers. 

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