Brewery Sales Compensation Best Practices

One of the keys to a successful comp plan is dedicating enough time to communicate the plan details so that your team understands what they need to do to get paid.

Here are 3 tips that I’ve found useful to clearly and completely communicate the compensation plan details:

  1. Show them. Tell them. Ask them.
  2. Enlist your sales manager and a key sales person
  3. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Show them. Tell them. Ask them.

People learn and absorb new information in different ways. Some folks are visual learners, some learn by doing, others learn by listening.

One tactic I’ve found useful is the “Show Them, Tell Them, Ask Them” approach.

It works like this:

  • Create a written summary of the key bullet points of the comp plan
  • Sketch out examples of the comp structure – use real numbers, real bonus scenarios
  • Meet individually with each sales rep. Show them the written summary and examples. Tell them how the plan will work.
  • Ask the sales rep to explain how they will get paid, and make more money.

Enlist your Sales Manager

I’ve found it helpful to have a sales manager present new comp plan details to the sales rep.

This kills two birds with one stone. 1) It ensures the sales manager understands the plan (sometimes they don’t, but won’t tell you), and 2) the sales manager generally has a good rapport with the sales rep and can better speak their language.

Another approach is to enlist another sales rep to present the details. Peer to peer communication is often very effective. This is also useful to get insights and feedback from a sales team member who will be subject to the new plan.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

“Repetition is the mother of learning.” -Zig Ziglar

Studies show that adult learners need to hear something at least three times for it to sink in. Use this as a rule of thumb when communicating the details of your sales plan.

Here are 3 ways to communicate the plan:

  1. Group sales meeting to present the plan
  2. One-on-one meetings with each sales person (questions are mandatory – make sure they understand)
  3. Provide a written overview of the plan (use bullet points and visuals)

And if this doesn’t work, repeat it again.

Wrap Up + Action Items

There’s no better way to grow beer sales than to have a properly designed sales compensation plan.

  1. Use the first rule of compensation: pay a market rate and give them a chance to make more when they go above and beyond.
  2. Ask the Key Compensation Plan Questions so that you create a clear, complete and actionable plan.
  3. Communicate the details of your sales compensation plan so that your team understands what they need to do in order to get paid.

Now, go check out the Brewery Sales Growth Course which includes sample compensation models and step-by-step video training to grow sales.

Already a subscriber? Get instant access to the Sales Growth course in the Online Courses section of the Member Area.

Yours in Sales Comp Plans,


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