Setting Your C-Level Goals

Setting Your C-Level Goals

This is a continuation of our blog series, Designing Your 2018 Sales Compensation Plan. Want to begin at the beginning? Click here. 

In the last blogs, I wrote about where sales compensation fits within the big picture of sales effectiveness. Sales incentives are best designed once the business performance, sales strategy, and coverage processes are all well understood. Incentives support these functions.

I’d like to give you a quick look at the overall design process we use. We call it the Sales Compensation Diamond. We love it.

The Sales Compensation Diamond offers 12 design steps, each of which can be complex. In our blog series, we’ll go through each of these steps in more detail. But the process really begins in the center of the diamond, with setting C-Level Goalssm and determining sales roles, so we’ll start with C-Level Goals today and you can continue reading about ensuring you have the correct sales roles for the job.

As sales executives determine priorities for their business related to sales compensation, they need to set their C-Level Goals. These will define the major priorities for the organization that will be converted to the sales compensation plan. Those priorities provide clarity for how they will design the plan and the behaviors the plan’s going to drive in the organization. Once set, the C-Level Goals will force answers to the key questions that will lead to the program’s success. They will also help overcome resistance as sales leaders become deeply involved in the design of the compensation plan.

While The Revenue Roadmap defines all our possible destinations, the following dimensions, the five C-Level Goals, help us to make the right strategic alignments and stay on track.

Most organizations can concentrate on building programs that support these five major areas.

  1. Customer. The Customer dimension describes priorities in terms of buyer types and segments. Who are the right types of companies and buyers for your business?
  2. Product. The Product dimension identifies which offers will get the most focus. What products and services should be emphasized? Which are strategic and which are critical for cash flow? What are the priorities for cross selling?
  3. Coverage. The Coverage dimension articulates the major methods of matching sales resources to each customer segment. What are the routes to market? What is the role of third-party channels? What will the sales organization look like?
  4. Financial. The Financial dimension specifies monetary goals. What growth results are necessary for revenue, profit, and market share? How is the return on investment measured, with improvements in the organization and sales programs?
  5. Talent. The Talent dimension defines who the sales organization needs in its coverage roles to reach its goals. What types of skills will execute the strategy? What’s the talent inventory? Where does the organization need to build strength? Where do you need to source new talent?

Looking at the complexities of the growth plan, setting the priorities around the Customer, Product, Coverage, Financial, and Talent goals can provide clear direction for a range of sales effectiveness programs, including sales compensation.

For questions, email Mark Donnolo at