Sales Force Compensation: Research Insights and Research Potential

Author(s): Anne T. Coughlan and Kissan Joseph

Excerpt from the Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing (Edited by Gary L. Lilien, Distinguished Research Professor of Management Science, The Pennsylvania State University and Rajdeep Grewal, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, US). Complete book available at

Today’s B2B selling environment is characterized by much complexity. Key drivers of this complexity include group sales efforts, multipart sales offerings and multibusiness unit participation on single deals (CFO Research Services 2010). It is timely to review the role of sales force compensation in B2B organizations. This chapter first discusses research insights on compensation elements to offer to salespeople, followed by a summary of results on how much to pay and how to balance salary versus incentive pay. Next, the chapter covers survey results on the choice to delegate pricing authority to the sales force and its impact on compensation. Finally, remaining challenges are identified, in which academic research results are sparser and therefore in which the opportunity for future research is bright.
Piggy bank

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