Marketing Compensation – How to Influence Performance in Sales-Marketing Aligned Organizations


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Through improved tracking and automation, technology has helped many organizations approach Sales-Marketing alignment. But even if businesses can hold marketers more accountable for the leads they generate, how should they compensate Marketing teams to create content that not only generates leads, but leads that can be closed?

Christine Crandell discussed how she did this as CMO in 2010 on CloudBook. To Crandell, the secret was introducing variable compensation for the Marketing team. By attaching marketers’ compensation to key metrics such as retention and net-new revenue, she was able to help Marketing become a more strategic force within the company.

Should more organizations introduce variable compensation into their marketers’ compensation plans? This was the topic of discussion in a recent video on, titled, “How Should You Compensate Marketers?” In the video, CRMSoftware.TV’s Lauren Carlson discusses the topic with Eric Holmen, SVP of Marketing & Sales at Silverpop and Kipp Bodnar, Inbound Marketing Strategist at HubSpot.

Holmen, points to how his own organization has positively introduced a unifying metric to measure Marketing and Sales teams. The “Silver Number,” as he calls is, it not a revenue number, but rather a productivity number. Both teams know the status of the Silver Number, and if it has recently improved–and why. Holmen has found this strategy successful, and notes that in his opinion, “The next generation of Marketing will have variable compensation tied to it.

Bodnar mentions while bringing together the goals and metrics of the Sales and Marketing departments, marketers may be motivated differently than typical salespeople. “We are going to have to look at our teams and understand what people want and what really motivates them,” says Bodnar. He notes that many marketers he knows are rewarded by factors other than compensation, so shifting their salaries to compensation plans that are more variable may not have a positive effect. For some marketers, he says, “Compensation is more than just money.”

How do you design your Marketing team’s compensation plan? What’s been successful for you, and what hasn’t? If you have any additional insight, please leave a comment below.

Michael Koploy
Michael Koploy is an Analyst for Software Advice. Before joining Software Advice, he worked in the advertising research industry. Michael is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Psychology.


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