Deciding Pay Structure for Sales Team

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Your sales team is the heart of your organization. They drive revenue and help the company reach goals, and in return, the company provides motivation, salary, and bonuses to close deals. Markets are currently undergoing record-breaking transitions, and Forrester estimates that 65 percent of leaders face more pressure than ever to reach rising success goals. 

In reality, a high turnover rate within the sales staff costs revenue and adversely affects the atmosphere and morale of the organisation.

The 2018 survey by the Bridge Company reveals that the average duration of the Sales Rep is just 1.5 years. Several reports have found that the number one explanation for why sales reps leave an organisation is income. In a recent study by TINYpulse, 43 percent of workers will quit an organisation only for a 10 percent raise in pay. 

Compensation has a vital role to play in recruiting and retaining the best talent. 

What’s cool is that you can fix this issue if you reassess your current compensation plans and create an effective reward system for your sales team. 


The sales commission system usually specifies how the company will pay its salesmen and how much it will pay for each sale. This is calculated by various considerations, such as the company’s budget contributions for commissions, basic wages, varying types of sales success, the goods it produces, the sector it belongs to and other benefits incorporated into the salary plans.

Commission systems play a critical role in inspiring workers to accomplish goals that directly affect the success of the company.



A strong sales commission arrangement will make magic for the company. It’s a perfect tool to promote constructive actions, to set standards for the staff, and to inspire them to accomplish corporate goals. It also plays a vital role in recruiting and retaining the best candidates for the sales staff.

While there are many upsides to the great sales commission structure, it can be difficult to choose the correct one when there are many factors involved. Understanding the different forms of sales commission systems is a helpful way to start since they can be customised to suit your organization’s needs, capabilities and priorities. 


Base Salary Plus Commission Plan:

In this system, businesses pay a regular wage plus sales commissions made by workers. In addition to what they offer, these firms pay sales reps for their time. The most typical wage to be paid out in this system is 60:40, where 60 per cent is a fixed/base salary, and 40 per cent is variable based on revenue results. Some sectors, such as Pharmaceuticals and Professional Sales Workers use this structure.

When to use this commission structure: This arrangement fits well for businesses trying to keep salesmen, as workers enjoy the sense of protection offered by a fixed wage.

Straight Commission or Commission Only Plan:

In this scheme, the pay of sales reps is completely variable and comes straight from the sales they produce, the only income sales representatives earn comes directly from their sales.

The biggest advantage of a salesperson is that it pays the highest earning potential. Since the corporate doesn’t need to pay a base salary, they will offer a better commission on each sale.

When to use this commission structure: This strategy fits best for start-ups as there is no basic wage to be charged and the burden is passed to the sales agent. It is often tailored to businesses that have extremely small sales periods and offer an incentive to earn a substantial bonus.

Revenue Commission Plans

One of the most widely used sales commission structures is variable compensation as a percentage of sales revenue. The variable pay is the part of the sales compensation calculated by the performance of the employee. As workers achieve their targets (such as quotas), variable pay is given as a form of promotion, retention pay or commission.

When to use this commission structure: Income commission plans fit better with smaller sales teams and scenarios where the emphasis is on a single product or service where pricing is set, but the success of the company is dramatically affected. 

Gross Margin Commission Structures

Another basic structure of the sales commission is the gross margin plan. These commission models consider the benefit of each purchase, considering the selling price and the costs associated with the sale. 

What to use gross margin plans: while empowering reps, this sales commission arrangement will help ensure bottom-line sustainability.

As you continue to expand your sales force and scale your market, it is a smart plan to use.

Tiered Commission Plans:

These policies encourage salespeople to receive higher commission prices until they have generated a certain amount of revenue. 

This sort of commission arrangement helps sustain enthusiasm over time and allows reps to over-perform when their incentives rise the more they sell. High-performing reps have extra incentives to continue selling and gain higher commission prices. Thus, sales reps are enticed to branch out into places and chase prospects they would have previously missed. 

When to use tiered plans: These plans are great for motivating top performers by incentivizing them to sell more. They work particularly well for companies looking to scale their business. 

Multiplier Commission Plans:

The multiplier commission plan helps organisations to create tailored payout plans, but it can be a time-consuming method to devise and execute. The multiplier commission scheme proceeds in the normal manner of the sales commission but is then multiplied by a quota performance percentage factor. The use of multipliers can not only help illustrate the product cycle but also inspire the over-performance of sales reps. 

When to use multiplier commission plans:

These plans work well to motivate top performers and allow sales managers to use multiple indicators to measure performance.

They help drive specific sales behaviours to prioritise the most important deals for reps to follow. 


Determining the best sales commission rate for your sales staff would enable you to take into account several considerations, such as the basic wage, the quality of the goods and services, and the amount of analysis and technical expertise needed. Although there’s no magic recipe to get this right, looking at the overall average pay for your company will give you a good picture of what’s going well. 

According to a survey, the average salary for a Salesperson / Salesman / Saleswoman in India is ₹183,831.


This process involves meticulous preparation and consideration of different considerations, such as the goals and objectives of the company, the historical success of your sales staff and the strategies you would use to measure your commissions. 

Consider the following steps when defining the right sales commission systems for your company:

1. Determine the objective of your Sales Commission structure

Whether you’re trying to maximise the income, the overall transaction size of the percentage of returning buyers, having these metrics at the core of the campaign,  it is important to identify your goals and to determine how this framework can help to accomplish those objectives. 

2. Determine the goals for rewards

The wage target is the total amount you want a salesperson to pay as a result of salaries and commissions. This can vary depending on the person’s roles, seniority and developments in the industry. 

Establishing these goals at the start would help you build a sales commission system.

3. Consider the sales team’s previous success

Take a look at the current commission systems in the company and Identify the elements that performed well to maintain them and delete the elements that didn’t perform well. It will ensure that the current commission framework draws on your previous success and will push the team’s performance to the next stage.    

4. Choose the structure of your sales commission

Depending on your priorities, salary goals and previous results, select one of the six Commission structures mentioned above and tailor it to suit the needs of your company. When you’re at it even determine when the salesmen will collect their bonuses. 

 5. Share the arrangement of the Sales Commission

Communicate the structure to the colleagues, clarify the reasoning behind the creation of this system, and trust them to realise what it is that you want them to do. A smart practice is to write down the commission structure in-depth and make it accessible to all staff so that it is easier for them to assess their results and realise where they are. 

6. Review and preserve the composition of your Commission

This is a living paper. When your company expands, your team is growing, or your approach is shifting. You will need to review and change the processes of your commission to ensure that they remain relevant. Your workers will be empowered and your goals will continue to be met. 

Top Tips for Creating a Clear Commission System for Sales

  • Make it straightforward: the salespeople should be able to look at the structure and understand what you want.
  • Get it right: it’s a tiring job to make a sales commission structure, and you don’t want to do it over and over again. 
  •  Don’t Set Unrealistic Expectations: While you want your team to achieve their best results, setting unenforceable targets is more likely to deter them.
  • Don’t Cap Salaries: The commission system should inspire your workers to sell more, and you should help them if they want to make as much money as possible by hard work. 

For the productivity of the sales staff, developing the correct commission arrangement is important.  Starting with the correct layout of the sales commission, and you will be able to recruit the best people for your team and keep them engaged. Evaluate and fine-tune your structure based on the success of the business and the output of the staff to attract the best talent and maintain your progress. 

For more business stories, blogs and interviews, visit insellers.

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