When John Sample, CEO of Business Interiors, shifted his company from a "lone ranger" approach to a "team-based" organization, one of the scariest aspects was figuring out the compensation system for the sales force. He spent a lot of time pondering what was fair.
To get some answers that everyone could accept, the company conducted a wage-and-salary survey, which has become an annual event for the office-furniture dealership in Irving, Tex. Sample asked sales teams to submit proposals on the type and level of compensation they'd like to be paid. "We weren't far apart when we finally did that. It was really one of the smallest problems when I got down to it," he says. Sample worked out a system that includes individual incentives for salespeople out calling on customers and rewards for the entire sales team when certain profitability levels are reached.