A Thing
The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

June 10, 2013 • Issue 13:06:01

The Sales Professional Bill of Rights: The new standard for compensation, benefits and support

By Robert O. Carr
Heartland Payment Systems Inc.

The payments industry has long adopted the pay-for-performance sales compensation model that is now burgeoning in the broader business landscape. As companies seek to temper unstable economic conditions with efforts to increase productivity and realize cost efficiencies, salaried sales jobs are becoming relics among the commission-based compensation plans that payment salespeople are already intimately familiar with.

The fact that these compensation models are dependent on employee performance in some way, shape or form is about all they have in common. Any salesperson who has changed jobs can attest that the terms of commission-based compensation differ greatly from employer to employer, and often even within the same company.

While by no means popular among employees, compensation plans that seemingly change on a whim, perhaps with the installation of a new executive or a revised protocol, are often condoned in our industry. The time has come for that to change.

Now, more than ever, commissioned sales pros are required to be entrepreneurial, investing their time and their own money to uncover leads and close deals. They must take the initiative and bear the expense of joining professional associations, attending tradeshows, networking and the like to generate business. After all, their jobs depend on it.

An equitable compensation model

Making these personal investments, sales professionals deserve the decency of an employer commitment to offer a consistent, unchanging model of recurring compensation. This gives salespeople the confidence to know what's in it for them when they bring in a piece of business. They are the ones working tirelessly to make deals and keep clients happy, and they need to know they will be compensated appropriately and consistently - deal after deal.

This is the very basis for a proven portfolio equity compensation model that allows sales professionals to earn and own a portion of the recurring revenues they bring to the company. This approach is simple: for every customer a vested sales professional brings to the company, the salesperson earns both a residual and equity piece of the revenue for the life of that customer relationship.

Under this model, even if the professional leaves the company, the business continues to pay that equity as long as the customer remains in the company's fold. Or, if the sales rep prefers, the business will buy him or her out with a one-time payment. This model has enabled hundreds of sales professionals to quickly build wealth through these generous residuals. In fact, it has enabled more than 90 individuals - mostly sales employees - to become millionaires.

Sales professionals have the right to be treated right. Unfortunately, all too often, they are taken advantage of by the very companies for whom they work so hard and are subject to truly unfair practices as they relate to pay, benefits, training and support. That's why Heartland Payment Systems Inc. founded the Sales Professional Bill of Rights (www.spbor.com), an advocacy initiative designed to empower sales professionals to know exactly what they should expect from their employers.

Established as the new standard for sales compensation, benefits and support, the Sales Professional Bill of Rights serves as a benchmark that can help salespeople evaluate current or prospective job opportunities and ultimately ensure they are getting what they really deserve.

10 fundamental rights

According to the Sales Professional Bill of Rights, sales professionals deserve the right to:

  1. An employer who tells the truth and is transparent. Real facts and accurate information free from pretense and deceit are the right of every sales professional. With success as the goal, it is without question that sales professionals deserve to be confident not only in the products offered but in the company represented.
  2. A consistent employee compensation model. The system for calculating and paying commissions and incentives is clearly explained and meticulously practiced. Changes are fully disclosed in a timely manner and are never retroactive. With a stable compensation plan, sales professionals are free to focus on creating wealth for themselves and their company.
  3. The opportunity to earn and own a portion of the recurring revenues added to the employer's income statement. As sales professionals create recurring revenue for a company over the term of a contract, they should receive ongoing residual compensation, or the equivalent, from that revenue. After vesting, sales professionals should have an ownership stake in continuing residual income no matter where their paths take them.
  4. Earn comprehensive benefits including medical insurance, dental insurance and 401(k) contributions. Affordable life, medical and dental insurance cover unexpected and possibly catastrophic expenses in life. A 401(k) program and, when possible, company contributions, help sales professionals build retirement funds for a secure future.
  5. Effective training and support from a direct manager. Product and sales training provide a foundation for success. Receiving hands-on support and education from a direct manager, including joint calls and problem resolution, help increase sales professionals' opportunities for success.
  6. Earn monthly residual income that builds uncapped wealth. There should be no limit on the amount of compensation sales professionals can earn. Success, even of an extraordinary nature, should be compensated according to the sales compensation model. The goal should be to exceed expectations, not limit them.
  7. A proven sales model that encourages and allows successful sales professionals freedom to establish their work schedule in conjunction with the company's goals. Successful sales professionals schedule their work to maximize sales activities and to accommodate personal and family responsibilities. A flexible work schedule can be the most effective path to long-term success.
  8. Be paid timely on closed and installed sales. Commissions, incentives and other compensation should be promptly paid and never be retroactively negotiable. Mortgages, tuition and daily expenses don't wait; nor should sales professionals wait to receive their rightfully earned compensation.
  9. Work efficiently with innovative sales tools. Sales tools include a customer management system, leads that are properly vetted and the ability to use state-of-the-art equipment with which to access this information. Enabling sales professionals' efficiency and effectiveness should be of highest priority.
  10. Earn recognition and awards and be considered for career advancement based on proven skills and demonstrated merit. Achievement awards and promotion opportunities should be integral to any sales program. Award and promotion programs accelerate achievement and professional growth.

While these rights should go without saying, they are "luxuries" most salespeople - especially in the payments industry - don't enjoy. Sales professionals must take more accountability in this pay-for-performance sales landscape, and it's time that they insist on more accountability from their employers by holding them to a higher standard as well. Robert O. Carr is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Heartland Payment Systems Inc., the fifth largest payment processor in the United States. Heartland delivers payment processing, mobile commerce, e-commerce, marketing solutions, security technology, payroll solutions, and related business solutions and services to more than 250,000 business and educational locations nationwide. end of article

A Fortune 1000 company, Heartland is the founding supporter of The Merchant Bill of Rights, a public advocacy initiative that educates merchants about fair credit and debit card processing practices. Heartland also established The Sales Professional Bill of Rights to advocate for the rights of sales professionals everywhere. More detailed information can be found by visiting www.heartlandpaymentsystems.com,
or by following the company on Twitter @HeartlandHPY
and Facebook at www.facebook.com/heartlandhpy.
To reach Carr by email, please send a message to bob.carr@e-hps.com.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

Prev Next
A Thing