Title Image

Body of Knowledge for Certified Sales Compensation Professionals

Strategic Alignment of Sales Compensation

  • Understand the human resources strategy and total rewards strategy.
  • Understand the purpose of sales compensation and its importance to the organization’s business, products and services.
  • Demonstrate business acumen in strategic planning for sales compensation.
  • Understand the go-to-market strategy including distribution channels.
  • Understand the impact of regional/cultural differences on the go-to-market strategy.
  • Understand the financial metrics that measure the organization’s success and the sales performance measures that affect them.
  • Determine organizational readiness for sales compensation.
  • Decide when sales compensation is an appropriate solution to a business need.
  • Ensure alignment between sales compensation plans and the organization’s compensation and business strategies.
  • Recognize changes in the business environment that affect sales compensation.
  • Understand key elements of the selling process.
  • Demonstrate effective influencing skills when interacting with senior management, and guide decision-making related to sales comp plans.
  • Understand the regulatory environment related to sales compensation and reward, and strategically manage programs.

Jobs and Sales Compensation Solutions

  • Clearly design and define sales jobs, including incentive plan eligibility and critical success factors by role.
  • Identify the organization’s desired competitive position for jobs covered by the sales compensation plan.
  • Understand sales compensation terms (e.g., target cash compensation, mix, leverage, commission, etc.).
  • Understand the types of sales compensation plans and payout mechanics.
  • Understand common sales compensation formula types.
  • Identify appropriate members and roles within an effective sales compensation design team.
  • Identify design components that should be addressed when creating or revising a sales incentive plan.
  • Identify the behaviors that drive productivity considerations for goal setting in sales plans.
  • Identify appropriate performance measures and weighting of measures.
  • Determine appropriate performance periods and pay frequency for sales plans.
  • Understand processes for developing coverage model, account structures, segmentation and territories for sales representatives.
  • Assess market potential, targets by job and performance factors to set quotas/goals.
  • Determine correct timing for sales crediting and payment.
  • Utilize special plan provision to address specific selling situations.
  • Develop appropriate variable compensation arrangements for new hires.
  • Determine appropriate application of draws within a sales compensation plan and design draw features.
  • Understand how to address windfalls during plan year and/or avoid in the future.
  • Incorporate claw back/payback features as appropriate.
  • Develop or assist in the development of SPIFFs.
  • Work with Finance to deliver modeling of sales compensation formulas and to determine earnings impact and affordability of various alternatives.
  • Modify sales compensation plans for multiple countries of operation.
  • Partner with legal counsel to ensure sales compensation plans comply with applicable legislation/regulation.
  • Effectively manage relationships with third party consultants who provide sales compensation consultation or services to the organization.

Communicate Sales Compensation

  • Explain the value and purpose of strategic total rewards communication in the workplace.
  • Describe various strategies for communicating pay actions.
  • Communicate business drivers for sales compensation plans to internal stakeholders.
  • Create and communicate sales compensation plan documents outlining the terms and conditions of the plan, description of participant quotas/goals, commission rates, draws, etc.
  • Ensure employees understand their sales compensation plan.
  • Create or deliver estimation tools to forecast payouts.
  • Establish an acknowledgement system to validate plan/version communications based on regional and global standards.
  • Create and communicate policies that specify practices for applying credits, adjustments, liabilities, windfalls, etc.
  • Communicate sales compensation results and impact to senior management.
  • Apply change management principles to communicate for maximum engagement.

Manage and Administer Sales Compensation Programs

  • Develop appropriate timelines for programming, communication and training.
  • Train field sales staff on compensation-related processes and procedures.
  • Collaborate with other internal departments on plan administration.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of software/programs and best practices used to administer sales compensation plans.
  • Work with internal departments to set requirements for incentive calculation, payout approval, plan performance tracking, audit procedures and appeals.
  • Implement or integrate system tools to support the sales compensation program.
  • Understand global regulations pertaining to data visibility, including standards for where to store and how to share data across country lines to calculate incentives.
  • Work with service providers and/or consultants on sales compensation plan administration.
  • Participate in the review and validation of sales revenue, plan payouts and program exceptions.
  • Develop effective reporting to ensure salespeople understand the relationship between their performance and their payouts.
  • Interact effectively with senior management and regional level executives on plan operation and performance.

Evaluate & Improve Sales Compensation Plan Effectiveness

  • Set internal standards for plan outcomes and establish external benchmarks.
  • Use statistical tools and processes to evaluate plan ongoing performance.
  • Evaluate compensation cost of sales and determine appropriateness based on benchmarks and business factors.
  • Collect qualitative survey feedback on sales plan performance from salesforce and other stakeholders.
  • Develop/complete sales performance reports and ad hoc analysis.
  • Understand and apply principles of root cause analysis.
  • Monitor the impact of changes in sales channels and sales coverage.
  • Identify and document unintended outcomes of sales compensation plans.
  • Identify and implement required enhancements to sales compensation plans.


  • Understand the organizational benefits of a cross-functional sales compensation governance team.
  • Outline key policies and practices required to ensure consistency and continuity in addressing the components of sales incentive design.
  • Clarify role of sales, sales operations, finance, HR, and business units and how each influences the governance and design process.
  • Establish key decision-makers with accountability to ensure fair pay practices.
  • Develop a process to conduct routine risk assessments on all sales compensation plans and provide results/feedback to governing body.
  • Establish and maintain an incentive calendar that highlights business cycles, stakeholder involvement and dependencies.