Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

"This book is a must-read for any distribution executive looking for new paths to revenue growth. It covers leading-edge compensation design principles and shows you how to tackle the prerequisite ‘big picture’ strategic and structural issues."

—Allan Dragone, Former CEO, Unisource Worldwide, Inc.

Mike Emerson, Steve Deist

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Maximize the financial return from your field sales force.

Effective Sales Incentive Design for Distributors: What’s the Right Plan? is designed for top wholesale distribution executives and sales managers who are looking for the answer to this question: “How can I get my sales reps to just do what I want them to do?”

If you are looking for a how-to book on creating and implementing an aligned and effective sales compensation program, this book is for you. It includes actionable steps, detailed information and formulas on sales compensation structures and mechanisms, and plenty of case studies from the front lines of the wholesale distribution industry. The book’s focus is on maximizing the financial return from the field sales force, and it presents proven steps that have worked with other distributors—so they should work for you!

This book is not about theories; it’s about practical experience and expert guidance for surviving and growing in today’s world. Read it before you engage in a pay plan change or make any sales management-related investment. It will help you think more clearly about your situation and goals—and may challenge some of your assumptions.

This book covers these key areas:

  • Picking the right tool: You’ll know when incentive changes are likely to be effective and when they are not.
  • Getting strategic clarity: You’ll ensure that the right foundation is in place for success.
  • Aligning the sales force organization: You’ll get the right talent in the right role based on your market opportunities.
  • Incentive structure fundamentals: You’ll understand the risks and benefits of absolute and relative performance factors.
  • Relative performance techniques: You’ll learn how world-class sales organizations solve the most vexing incentive program challenges.
  • Implementation guidelines: You’ll have all the tips and tricks for successful change management.

What Distributors Are Saying

“This book is an excellent book on sales compensation design, but calling it a compensation book does not do it justice. It provides innovative ideas on compensation structures and does a thorough job covering the pros and cons of the approaches most commonly used by distributors. However, the book’s true uniqueness is that it looks at sales compensation in a broader context. It eventually gets to the formulas, but not after it poses the bigger and often harder questions on strategy and structure. This book is a must read for any distribution executive looking for growth—especially those executives considering making changes to their sales compensation programs.”

—Kevin R. Vasquez, Former Chairman, President and CEO, Butler Schein Animal Health, Inc.

I finished reading this book on a Sunday for my first read-through overview and started over the following week on my deep dive into it. I’m a total believer and we are doing the hard upfront work to get our strategy and position correct first. I’ve been a student of Indian River Consulting Group for a long time and I say to them, ‘Keep up the good work!’”

—Lane Garrett, President, Power Bolt and Tool

About the Authors

Mike Emerson

Mike began his career at Indian River Consulting Group (IRCG) in 1997 and has worked with hundreds of distributors and manufacturers of all sizes and within many lines of trade. He has managed a broad array of IRCG projects. His main focus areas include: compensation design, strategy facilitation, market research, and data modeling and analysis. Mike writes extensively on distributor and marketing channel topics and is frequently quoted on contemporary issues.

Steve Deist

Steve has more than 20 years of experience in the wholesale distribution and supply chain arenas. In addition to his consulting work, he is a highly rated speaker, trainer, and board director. He is Indian River Consulting Group’s strategic planning specialist and manages the firm’s channel consulting projects for manufacturers that sell through distribution.