Organizations Are Offering Higher Base Pay for Sales Roles

WorldatWork survey, in partnership with SalesGlobe, finds 50% of organizations have offered higher base pay to combat voluntary turnover.

August 22, 2022

Scottsdale, Arizona — WorldatWork’s 2022 “Sales Compensation Programs & Practices Survey” finds that organizations are implementing measures as part of their sales compensation plans to retain talent and combat voluntary turnover. The study revealed 50% of organizations have offered higher base pay for sales roles and 39% have increased incentive opportunities, with 22% of organizations doing both. 

The survey of 693 organizations, conducted in partnership with SalesGlobe, found that 87% of companies are taking action to reduce voluntary turnover and 65% are taking multiple actions. Pay leads the way as the top action to stem turnover.

“Organizations are committed to finding ways to attract and retain the best employees in an ongoing tight labor market and sales roles are no exception,” said Alicia Scott-Wears, compensation content director at WorldatWork. “Sales roles are traditionally incentive heavy, so increasing the base pay for these jobs is a way to appeal to a broader set of talent or offer more stability coming off from high impact economic fluctuations.”  

The survey, in partnership with SalesGlobe, was conducted to gather information on sales compensation plan structures and practices to reward for sales success and drive performance to the goals of the business. 

Sample Findings: 

  • Sales roles are on the rise. Front-line hybrid sales roles led headcount increases over the past year, with 54% of organizations increasing headcount and only 7% decreasing headcount.
  • A return to brick-and-mortar. More than half of companies (52%) increased retail sales associate headcount over the past year.
  • Multiple performance measures. 71% of organizations use two to three performance measures in their plans, holding steady from 2021. This has increased from 2020 when 56% of companies used one to two measures in an effort to simplify pay during the pandemic.
  • Revenue is king. Revenue is the most commonly used performance measure for all sales roles. Bookings was the second most used performance measure, with gross profit being the third for field sales roles and hybrid sales roles. 

About the Study

This is the 10th iteration of the Sales Compensation Programs & Practices Survey, with the first survey launching in 2010. WorldatWork obtained responses from full-time sales compensation or human resources professionals via the Schlesinger Group panel online. A total of 693 responses were received, representing organizations of different sizes and across multiple industries. Email invitations were sent directly to participants on June 1, 2022, and results were collected over a 22-day period. Sample sizes vary by question.

About WorldatWork 

WorldatWork is the leading global nonprofit organization for professionals engaged in the critically important practice of total rewards. We serve those who are responsible for cultivating inspired, engaged, productive and committed workers in effective and rewarding workplaces. We guide them in the design and delivery of total rewards programs with our education and certification; idea exchange; thought leadership; knowledge creation; information sharing; research; advocacy; and networking.

About SalesGlobe 

SalesGlobe is a data-driven, creative problem-solving firm that solves the most challenging sales and organization problems. In a post-COVID business world, success will come to the data-driven creative problem solvers. We’ve spent a long time in business. And during that time, we’ve seen too many companies replicating competitive practices and repeating old approaches rather solving problems in a way that would produce innovative solutions. SalesGlobe is committed to bringing new thinking to sales and organization effectiveness that makes a difference and deliver results for our clients.

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