The “WorldatWork 2020 Spotlight on Sales Compensation Virtual Conference & Exhibition” kicks off today through Aug. 21 with a robust schedule of 28 interactive sessions, moderated roundtables, a virtual networking lounge and 24/7 virtual exhibition hall, and an innovation showcase for live tech demos.
The annual event, first conceived in 2010, draws a plethora of experts and speakers sharing best practices and solutions for today’s sales comp and operations challenges. With WorldatWork celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2020, we believe there is no better time to recognize our past and honor individuals who have consistently contributed to the success of “Spotlight.”
From the list of speakers in 2010, we note those who have been heavily involved in the profession and an active member of the association for decades. These “usual suspects” include renowned experts Chad Albrecht of ZS Associates, David Cichelli of The Alexander Group, Joseph DiMisa of Korn Ferry, Justin Lane of Xactly, and Cathy Peffen of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp.
Albrecht, with colleagues Kyler Heller and Arun Shastri, contributed a compelling feature, “AI’s Impact on Sales Compensation,” last summer to Workspan magazine.
The article submits: “The question for sales leadership is not if, but how to leverage AI. The decision on how to leverage AI will impact a salesperson’s role in the sale, as well as how they are motivated and compensated . . . AI will not replace sales or human judgment. In fact, the best applications are complementary to the sales role.”
Cichelli, a prolific author and contributor to WorldatWork’s Education and Publications groups, most recently has helped provide context and an informed perspective during the global pandemic. His latest Workspan Daily article reports on the changes to sellers’ compensation, including an assortment of incentive pay protection techniques, due to COVID-19 disruption.
In August 2019, Cichelli wrote a “letter” to compensation professionals, imploring them to add sales compensation to their list of compensation competencies.
“Without question, sales compensation offers a challenging and rewarding professional development experience and possibly a career opportunity for human resources/compensation professionals,” he wrote. “Participation varies from a temporary project assignment to overall ongoing program design responsibility. Sales compensation is one of the few compensation programs where your efforts can directly affect the fortunes of your company.”
DiMisa, author of the WorldatWork Press book, Sales Compensation Made Simple, has contributed several articles over the years including, “Sales Compensation: How to Apply Strategy, Logic and Discipline to Plans” (Workspan, September 2017).
“Increasingly, sales compensation design is becoming a specialized practice because of the sophisticated selling models of today’s world,” DiMisa wrote. “Educating yourself and understanding how strategy plays into design, then following the right principles and process, can raise your expertise level. Understanding compensation principles and applying sound logic and a disciplined mindset can help you navigate the plan design and create a better compensation plan.”
From the “more things change, more things stay the same” category, in August 2012, Lane wrote in the Workspan article, “Challenges in Sales Compensation Administration:”
“The key question on how technology can impact sales performance is whether the various sales performance management (SPM) technologies help companies achieve greater efficiencies and effectiveness, and ultimately lower operational costs and move the revenue dial. The answer is convincingly yes. On the hard dollar side, business cases for SPM can be made on the basis of reduced headcount, lower technology overhead, rapidly reduced costs and increased accuracy. On the soft dollar side, business cases can be made based on the promise of easily adaptable plans, the ability to model and roll out strategically aligned compensation plans and the freeing up of additional selling time through reduced shadow accounting, and enhance reporting and analytics around sales compensation.”
Peffen, who runs the table with WorldatWork certifications (MCCP, CBP, WLCP, CSCP, GRP), has been instrumental in educating her peers over the years. For example, her Back to Basics article, “How to Pay Traveling, Nonexempt Employees,” covers the essential scenarios for HR professionals who are responsible for compensation related to travel.
Five years ago, WorldatWork observed National Volunteer Month by recognizing the support and service of Peffen and others like her in an April 2015 Workspan article. Peffen said at the time: “WorldatWork was instrumental to me when I was beginning to specialize in compensation. National conference, certification courses and local events were critical in giving me the grounding I needed to build my expertise in compensation and benefits.”
Workspan also recognized Peffen, the WorldatWork Sales Compensation Expert Council chair, in a colorful Member Central column, “Will Brake for National Parks . . . and Possibilities” (April 2019).
In the next commemorative “Spotlight” article, WorldatWork will look at other speakers and contributors from 10 years ago and examine how the sales comp playing field indeed has changed.