A Comprehensive Guide To SaaS Sales Compensation Plan

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The basis of any successful SaaS business is the SaaS Sales Compensation Plan. This article offers a guide on designing a SaaS Sales Compensation Plan, including incentivizing your team and ensuring they’re motivated.

Why Create A SaaS Sales Compensation Strategy?

As a SaaS business, it is crucial to have a clear and well-defined sales compensation strategy. By doing so, you can set clear standards for your sales team and ensure everyone is working towards the goal. A good compensation strategy can help improve your budgeting and ensure you spend on commissions wisely. These three strategies will assist you in making good sales.

  •        Set clear standards
  •        Align business goals
  •        Improve budgeting

Set Clear Standards

Creating a sales compensation strategy for your SaaS business is essential for several reasons. First, it sets clear standards for your sales team’s goal. This can help ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Additionally, a well-designed sales compensation strategy can help motivate and incentivize your sales team, leading to increased productivity and sales. Finally, a solid strategy can help you avoid potential legal problems.

Align Business Goals

As the business owner, CEO, or Chief Revenue Officer of a SaaS company, you know that acquiring and retaining customers is essential to success. What may be less obvious is that designing a sales compensation strategy is critical to achieving those goals. The right compensation plan will align the interests of your sales team with your business goals, motivate them to sell more effectively, and help you attract and retain top talent.

A well-designed sales compensation strategy starts with understanding your overall business goals. What are you trying to achieve in the short term and long term? How fast do you need to grow? Once you have a clear picture of your desired outcomes, you can design a compensation plan to help you get there.

The next step is to understand what motivates your sales team. What makes them tick? What keeps them up at night? Knowing what drives your salespeople will help you design a plan to incentivize them to sell more effectively.

Finally, thinking about how you will attract and retain top talent would be best. The best salespeople are in high demand, so offering a competitive compensation package that includes a base salary, commissions, bonuses, and other perks and benefits is essential.

By designing a comprehensive and thoughtful sales compensation strategy, you can put your company on the path to success.

Improve Budgeting

A SaaS sales compensation strategy can help improve your organization’s budgeting and forecasting. By clearly understanding how much you plan to spend on sales compensation, you can more accurately predict your overall budget for the year. Doing this can save money on other aspects of your company’s operations.

Additionally, a SaaS sales compensation strategy can help to motivate and retain your top sales performers. Offering competitive payouts and commissions will keep your best workers motivated and engaged.

Designing Sales Comp to Drive Desired Behaviors

Sales compensation is a crucial driver of desired behaviours in any organization, but designing an effective plan requires a deep understanding of the business and what motivates employees. In the case of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, there are a few key considerations that you must take into account.

First, it is crucial to consider the business model and how customers interact with the product. In a subscription business, for example, it is essential to keep customers happy and engaged, so they don’t churn. That means putting in place programs and incentives that encourage customer success and teams to proactively help customers get the most out of the product.

SaaS products are generally priced per user. It is essential to encourage salespeople to sell to larger groups or users within an organization. That means designing a comp plan with accelerators for deals that add more users or expand existing contracts.

Third, given the recurring revenue nature of SaaS businesses, it’s essential to focus on retention and new sales. That means ensuring adequate protections for base salary levels and commission percentage payout rates in renewals. And finally, because SaaS products often have long sales cycles, it’s critical to have a plan that incentivizes salespeople throughout the entire process, not just at the close.

These components will help you drive and shape the desired behavior in your sales team:

  •  New sales
  • The importance of gross margins
  •  Reward your winners / penalize your losers
  • Expansion bookings
  • Renewals
  • Median commission rates by type of sale
  • SPIFFS to incent specific additional business goals
  • Non-cash rewards
  • Keep Sales Compensation Simple

New Sales

Sales compensation is a key driver of desired behaviors among sales professionals. By designing a sales comp plan that accurately reflects the company’s desired behaviors; sales teams can be more effective in achieving their objectives.

Some important factors to consider when designing a new sales comp plan include the following:

  • What are the company’s desired behaviors?
  • What type of sale is being incentivized?
  • How much should be paid out in commissions?
  • When should commissions be paid out?
  • How will performance be measured?

By taking these factors into account, companies can develop a sales comp plan that accurately reflects their desired behaviors and drives the desired results.

When designing a sales compensation plan, the key is to figure out what desired behaviors you want to drive and then design the plan. For example, if you want to increase new sales, you would want to design a plan that incentivizes your sales team specifically to bring in new business.

The plan could include a higher commission rate or bonus for new sales instead of increasing overall sales. By driving the desired behavior of new sales, you can help ensure that your company grows and thrives.

The Importance of Gross Margins

As an experienced salesperson will tell you, it is not just about the numbers. It’s also about understanding what drives desired behaviors and using that knowledge to your advantage. One critical tool in this process is designing a sales compensation plan that incentivizes the correct behavior.

Gross margins are one of the most critical factors in this equation. Gross margin is the difference between the selling price of a product or service and the cost of goods sold (COGS). The higher the gross margin, the more profit a company makes on each sale. Then, it’s in a company’s best interest to maximize gross margins.

There are several ways to do this, but one of the most effective is sales compensation. Your sales team can be focused on generating profitable growth by aligning incentives with gross margin targets. In turn, this will assist your business in achieving its long-term financial objectives.

Reward Your Winners / Penalize Your Losers

A good sales compensation plan will consider the various behaviors you want to encourage in your sales team and then design a system that rewards those behaviors. In particular, you will want to focus on rewarding your winners and penalizing your losers.

Doing so will incentivize everyone to strive for success, which can only mean good things for your company’s bottom line.

Expansion Bookings

As any sales leader knows, designing an effective compensation plan is essential to driving the desired behaviors from your sales team. And while there are many factors to consider when designing a plan, one of the most important is how you incentive your team for expansion bookings.

After all, expansion bookings are a SaaS company’s primary source of revenue. On the one hand, they represent new revenue. Moreso, the customer lifetime value is increased, and churn is decreased. So, your compensation plan must properly incentivize your team to focus on this crucial metric.

There are a few different ways you can do this. First, you can include an explicit bonus or commission for expansion bookings. This ensures that your team members are focused on this metric from the start.

You can also tie a portion of their overall compensation to expansion bookings. This way, even if they don’t hit their targets, you will still reward them if the company hits its targets for expansion bookings.

Therefore, you can create internal competitions or spiffs around expansion bookings. This helps to create a sense of urgency and competition among your sales team and can be a great way to drive results in the short term.

No matter which approach you take, make sure that you communicate your expectations to your team and help them understand how their performance contributes to the company’s overall success. By aligning their incentives with yours, you can ensure everyone is working.


If one of your business’s key objectives is to increase renewals, then you should design a plan focusing on rewarding behaviors that lead to successful renewals. Increasing customer retention rates, upselling and cross-selling to current clients, or generating fresh leads with a high likelihood of becoming paying clients are a few examples of how to accomplish this.

By focusing on these specific behaviors, you can encourage your sales team to focus their efforts on activities that will impact your bottom line.

Median Commission Rates by Type of Sale

Sales compensation is critical in any organization, particularly in driving desired behaviors. The right mix of base salary and commission can help to encourage and motivate sales staff to achieve specific goals. However, getting the sales compensation design right can be challenging.

One crucial factor to consider is median commission rates by type of sale. For example, if you are selling products with a high margin, you may want to offer a lower commission rate than those with a low margin. Why? Because you want your sales staff to focus on selling the high margin products, which will generate more revenue for the company.

Similarly, if you sell services with a long sales cycle, you may want to offer a higher commission rate than services with a shorter sales cycle. Again, this is because you want your sales staff to be motivated to sell the services that require more time and effort.

Of course, there are many other factors to consider when designing a sale compensation plan, but median commission rates by type of sale are an important one to keep in mind. By considering the various types of products and services you sell and the associated margins and sales cycles, you can develop a sales compensation plan to help drive desired behaviors amongst your sales team.

SPIFFS To Incent Specific Additional Business Goals

Sales performance incentives plans (SPIFFS) are an essential tool businesses use to drive desired behaviors and achieve specific additional business goals. By offering employees financial rewards for meeting or exceeding sales targets, businesses can encourage them to focus on key business areas and work harder to boost revenue.

By taking these factors into account, companies can develop a sales comp plan that accurately reflects their desired behaviors and drives the desired results.

  • Align the sales performance incentive plan with the business’s overall strategy
  • Set realistic and achievable targets
  • Incentivize different behavior under the plan
  • Consider Long term and short term incentive plans

Align the Sales Performance Incentive Plan with the Business’s Overall Strategy: The plan’s goals should be closely aligned with the company’s broader objectives so that employees understand how their efforts contribute to the business’s success.

Set realistic and Achievable Targets: Realistic and achievable targets will make employees feel motivated to reach them. If targets are too high, employees may become discouraged; if they are too low, the incentive plan may have little impact on behavior.

Incentivize different behavior under the plan. For example, some plans may focus solely on increasing sales revenue, while others may reward behaviors such as upselling or cross-selling products.

Consider Long-term and Short-term Incentives Plan: Long-term incentives can help encourage employees to maintain high-performance levels over an extended period. On the other hand, short-term incentives may be more effective.

Non-cash Rewards

Sales compensation is a critical tool in driving the desired behaviors from your sales team. Therefore, the type of rewards you offer can significantly impact the type of behavior you see from your team.

While cash rewards are always popular, some organizations may offer better options. Non-cash rewards can be just as effective, if not more so, in motivating your team and driving desired behaviors.

Some examples of non-cash rewards include recognition or acknowledgment from management, additional vacation days, tickets to sporting events or concerts, gift cards, and more.

The key is to design a sales compensation plan that considers your organization’s specific goals and objectives. Then, by aligning the rewards with the desired behavior, you can create a powerful tool for driving results.

Keep Sales Compensation Simple

Sales compensation is a crucial driver of desired behaviors in sales organizations. By design, it should be simple and easy to understand so that salespeople can focus on their selling activities. However, too often, sales compensation plans are complex and confusing, with different rules and thresholds for different types of behavior. This can lead to frustration and even resentment among salespeople, ultimately impacting performance.

When designing a sales compensation plan, please keep it simple. Define the behaviors you want to promote, then create a strategy that rewards them. Be clear about what is eligible for compensation, and make sure the criteria are achievable.

Please review and update the plan regularly to reflect changing business conditions. By keeping sales compensation simple, you can more effectively drive the desired behaviors in your organization.

 Top 5 Rules For SaaS Sales Compensation Plans

If you are in the process of designing a sales compensation plan for your SaaS Company, there are a few key things you need to keep in mind. Here are the top 5 rules for designing an effective and motivating sales compensation plan:

  • Make sure your plan aligns with your overall business strategy
  • Make sure your plan is fair and equitable
  • Make sure your plan motivates your sales team
  •  Make sure your plan is flexible
  •  Make sure your plan is reviewed and updated regularly.

Make Sure Your Plan Aligns With Your Overall Business Strategy

Your sales compensation plan should be designed to support your company’s overall business strategy and objectives.

Make Sure Your Plan Is Fair And Equitable

Sales compensation plans need to be fair and equitable to be effective. You don’t want to create a situation where one person earns significantly more than another for doing the same job.

Make Sure Your Plan Motivates Your Sales Team

Sales compensation plans should be designed to motivate and incentivize your sales team. You need to ensure that your team can strive to achieve clear goals and objectives.

Make Sure Your Plan Is Flexible

Sales compensation plans must be flexible to accommodate changes in the marketplace or your business. You need to be able to adjust the plan as needed so that it continues to meet your company’s needs.

Make Sure Your Plan Is Reviewed And Updated Regularly

Sales compensation plans should be reviewed and updated regularly so that they continue to meet the needs of your company and your sales team.

How To Structure A SaaS Sales Compensation Plan

Are you a SaaS company looking to create a sales compensation plan? If so, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to decide what type of plan best suits your company. There are several different sales compensation plans, each with advantages and disadvantages.

The most common type of plan is the commission-based plan, which pays salespeople based on a percentage of the deals they close. Another popular option is the base salary plus commission plan, which offers a lower base salary but higher commissions. There are also Hybrid plans, which combine elements of both commission and salary-based plans.

Once you have decided on the type of plan you want to use, you will need to set some goals. What are your sales targets? How much revenue do you want your sales team to bring in? What are your margins? Once you have some goals in place, you can start to put together a compensation structure that will incentivize your sales team to reach those targets.

There are a few different ways to structure a sales compensation plan. The most important thing is ensuring the plan is simple and easy to understand. You want your sales team to understand how they are paid and what they need to do to earn their commissions. Incentives should be clearly defined and achievable.

A good sales compensation plan will help motivate your sales team and encourage them to sell more effectively.


What Is a Cliff in SaaS Sales Plan?

A cliff is a period (usually 1-2 years) during which a salesperson does not receive commission payments. This is typically done to motivate the salesperson to stay with the company long-term and not just try to make a quick sale.

What Is the Typical Commission for SaaS Salesperson?

The typical commission for a SaaS salesperson is 20-30% of the deal, but it can vary depending on the company and the product.

How Do You Structure a Sales Compensation Plan?

There are a few key things to consider when structuring a sales compensation plan:

  •        What are the company’s objectives?
  •        What is the sales cycle?
  •         What are the products or services being sold?
  •        What is the geographic scope of sales?
  •         Who are the customers?
  •        What is the customer’s buying process?
  •        What are the unique selling points of your products or services?

All these factors will help you determine the best way to structure a sales compensation plan that will help you achieve your desired results.

How Are SaaS Sales Reps Paid?

SaaS sales reps are generally paid a base salary plus a commission. The amount of the commission depends on the product, the company, and the specific position. Some companies also offer bonus opportunities for meeting or exceeding sales goals.

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