Dr Sandeep Gandhi, CHRO of Aircel, one of India's leading providers of mobile networks, shows how to calculate incentive payouts for salespersons who have upskilled through training programmes.

Businesses globally are witnessing myriad social, political, and environmental changes - faced with an incredible number of challenges driven by globalisation, technology, competition and workforce churn.

All of this has impacted the definition of risks and opportunities for companies. Their survival has never depended so much on dynamism, demanding quick decision making at each level.

Therefore, there’s an opportunity for the HR function to play a critical role in helping navigate through these transitions, by planning for different scenarios, responding swiftly, bringing greater agility to decision making.

HR today has become a strategic partner of business leaders in contributing to business decisions, advising on critical transitions, and developing the value of employees.

Especially in a sales-focused organisation, keeping in mind the aggressive task the sales force has towards revenue generation, HR plays a crucial role in driving sales performance.

A true partnership between the sales team and HR can be one of a company’s most valuable relationships. Here's how HR can evolve to respond to these challenges.

1. Identifying and communicating the metrics of success, aligned with the organisation’s strategy: This can include briefing sessions with teams across to highlight the parameters on which performance will get benchmarked, and creating awareness about future career opportunities within the organisation.

HR can hold briefing sessions with teams across to highlight the parameters on which performance will get benchmarked, and create awareness about future career opportunities.
This will help define the integral skills and success parameters needed to enhance revenue for future growth and to recognise high performers.

2. Performance tracking mechanisms, to measure these metrics against the performance targets established: This includes publishing of fortnightly and monthly dashboards to keep track of individual performance, and monitoring consistent delivery on these to distinguish the high performers among the larger team.

This tracking mechanism is also a key enabler to make payouts more equitable and rewarding high performers.

3. Upskilling the sales force: HR should play a role in developing the right skills and driving the right behaviours by creating awareness among the sales team on the organisation's expectations of them, in achieving its goals.

Further, this can help them understand the importance of their goals and overcome common challenges faced in the marketplace. This can include training rooted in practicality, with a strong conceptual framework, to enable the participants to display innovative and strategic selling techniques.

The chart below shows a trend on how upskilling can be monitored. This data on sales team strength versus sales training coverage can help in understanding the contribution of training to enhancement of productivity.

Aircel training figures by Sandeep


4. Incentivising the sales performance: Here, HR has to help the sales force understand how the company will help them win, with HR and sales partnering to create and communicate a compelling employee value proposition – a combination of benefits, compensation, career opportunities, culture, and work environment to motivate the sales force.

This ensures performance is consistently measured and rewarded for every individual on a common scale, with the view to improve productivity.

The incentive payout can also be linked to their monthly targets instead of annual payouts, thus making rewards and accomplishments instant.

Here's an example showing calculations of incentive payouts for salespersons across the firm's locations, who would also have upskilled through at least one training programme:

Aircel providing training targets and figures


5. Identifying and rewarding high performers: Since the focus is on productivity and performance, encouraging and rewarding high performance should be an ongoing activity.

This engagement can be through regular town halls and other reward systemsto keep the motivation and employee morale high.

In essence, HR's role today is positioned to contribute to the organisation’s business strategy through its clear alignment with organisational priorities, as well as in developing and retaining competitive advantage by influencing business decisions that impact the employees.

Lead image: Shutterstock