About the Book

What Your CEO Needs to Know About Sales Compensation is the first book to address compensation from a C-level perspective.

We’ve organized this book around the top challenges we’ve seen in our 25 years of working with Fortune 1000 companies, discussing each challenge in its own chapter.

Chapter 1: Driving the Sales Strategy with Compensation
Chapter 2: Motivating the Right Sales Roles
Chapter 3: Differentiating Top Performers
Chapter 4: Aligning Performance Measures with Business Direction
Chapter 5: Structuring Strategic Account Incentives
Chapter 6: Setting Equitable and Profitable Sales Quotas
Chapter 7: Motivating Sales Management
Chapter 8: Communicating and Implementing the Sales Compensation Plan
Chapter 9: Getting the C-Level Involved in the Right Way

Throughout the book, we explore each of these challenges from a leadership perspective. In addition to our own analysis we include the thoughts and stories from executives in high performing sales organizations on the sales compensation issues they’ve encountered over the years and what they’ve learned.

The final chapter of the book, Chapter 10: Your Strategic Sales Compensation Report Card: Grading Your Plan and Taking Action, will be an opportunity for you to literally grade your approach to sales compensation based on the challenges discussed throughout the book. Compare your grades with other sales organizations and see where you can improve. As you design plans for the future, think about the strategic connection between the corner office and the front line, and discover how your organization can magnify the impact of one of its most powerful programs.


  • The right (and wrong) ways for C-level executives to become involved in the sales compensation process.
  • Essential questions for C-level executives to ask the sales compensation design team.
  • An understanding of how sales compensation supports the overall business strategy.
  • Ways to determine if problems are really sales compensation challenges or larger sales strategy issues.
  • How to clearly define and differentiate sales roles to capture revenue growth, and how to compensate each role.
  • How to attract and retain top performers through compensation, and how to prevent overpaying the underperformers.
  • Measuring performance at the correct levels for each role.
  • Motivating strategic account sales.
  • Setting equitable and profitable sales goals.
  • Understanding and motivating sales management.
  • Communicating and implementing the sales compensation plan, and directing change management.