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Sales Compensation

6 Reasons Why CEOs should care more about sales compensation

Sameer Sinha
CEO & Co-Founder At Visdum
Published On:
June 13, 2023

Sales compensation has a direct effect on revenue and the company's bottom line. The success of a company's sales operations depends on the level of motivation and incentives given to sales representatives. Let’s face it: the CEO cares about compensation because they care about revenue, and who brings revenue to the company? It’s the sales rep, and you cannot deny the fact that they are also the costliest resources of the company.

Do you know? The cost to replace a fully ramped salesperson is $115,000. Just imagine what will happen if they keep leaving due to an inefficient sales compensation plan.  

What Companies think: More money = Better salespeople.

What Salespeople see: Accurate base salary + Good compensation plan + Sales motivation + Company culture + Customer experience = Growing revenue.

However, if sales representatives are well compensated and inspired, they will work harder and sell more, thus increasing the company's revenue. The company's bottom line and prospects for future growth and market success in the SaaS industry may be adversely affected.

Key Role and Responsibilities of the CEO in Sales Compensation Strategy 

A SaaS CEO plays a critical role in leading and managing a SaaS company. Their responsibilities encompass various aspects of the business, from setting the strategic direction to ensuring overall growth and success. The major KPIs of a SaaS CEO might include: 

1. Revenue Growth: Achieving and surpassing revenue targets.

2. Customer Acquisition and Retention: Measuring the acquisition rate of new customers and the retention rate of existing customers.

3. Churn Rate: Reducing customer churn and increasing customer lifetime value.

4. Gross Margin and Profitability: Maintaining healthy profit margins and ensuring sustainable financial performance.

5. Product Adoption and Usage: Tracking customer adoption and usage of the SaaS product or service.

6. Market Share: Expanding market share and outpacing competitors.

7. Employee Engagement and Satisfaction: Creating a productive work environment with a positive mindset.

Laughs, Sales, and Comp: CEO's Top Priorities for Growing the SaaS Company through Compensation

In the wild and wacky world of SaaS, CEOs have a never-ending to-do list to keep their companies on the path to success and growth. But there's one thing that often gets overlooked amidst the chaos: sales compensation. It's like the unsung hero of the corporate world, silently influencing revenue and the company's financial health. Let’s explore other top priorities of a CEO apart from getting involved in sales compensation.

Reason 1: Motivation and Incentives Drive Sales Performance

At the core of any successful sales team lies the motivation and incentives given to sales representatives. While some companies might assume that throwing more money at their salespeople automatically translates to better results, the reality is more nuanced. A well-crafted compensation plan, combined with an accurate base salary, can serve as the foundation for driving sales performance. Moreover, factors such as sales motivation, company culture, and customer experience also play integral roles in achieving growing revenue.

Reason 2: Salespeople Work Harder and Sell More When Well Compensated

It's a simple equation: when sales representatives feel adequately compensated and inspired, they are more likely to put in the extra effort required to excel in their roles. By offering attractive and competitive sales compensation packages, CEOs can encourage their teams to work harder, close more deals, and ultimately contribute to increased revenue.

Reason 3: Sales Compensation Influences Sales Team Retention

Sales talent is a valuable asset for any company, and retaining top-performing salespeople is essential for sustained success. A carefully designed sales compensation plan not only attracts talented individuals but also helps retain them in the long run. When sales representatives feel fairly compensated for their efforts, they are more likely to remain committed to the organization, reducing turnover and ensuring continuity in sales performance.

Reason 4: Sales Compensation Reflects the Company's Value of Sales

By prioritizing sales compensation, CEOs send a clear message to their teams that they understand the importance of compensation. When salespeople see that their efforts are recognized and rewarded, they feel valued and motivated to excel in their roles.

Reason 5: Sales Compensation Aligns with Business Goals

Effective sales compensation plays a crucial role in aligning individual sales objectives with broader organizational targets, and that's what a CEO wants. They should incentivize behaviors and outcomes that support the company's objectives. CEOs also ensure that their sales team's efforts directly contribute to the desired growth and market success.

Reason 6: CEOs care about the rate of investment (ROI) in the company. 

Return on investment (ROI) is what shareholders expect and CEOs are expected to deliver. CEOs are always keen on understanding what they’re getting out of their sales compensation plan. 

Take the example of Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, who made $20 billion by consciously investing in the company's sales team, providing them with the education and tools they need to thrive. The CEO, hence, prioritizes the return on investment in sales compensation as it directly impacts the financial performance, cost management, incentive alignment, and performance evaluation of the sales team, ultimately contributing to the overall success of the company.


Sales compensation is far more than just a line item in the budget. CEOs who recognize the significance of sales compensation and invest time and resources into creating effective plans will reap the rewards in terms of motivated sales teams, increased revenue, and overall business success. By understanding the five reasons outlined in this article, CEOs can begin to prioritize sales compensation as a critical factor in achieving their organization's growth and profitability goals.

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