Incentive Compensation

What Should Reps Check in Their Commissions Payout?

Siva Rajamani
min read
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It’s here. It’s finally here. You’ve been waiting for months, drawing Xs on your calendar and compulsively clicking on ‘Add to Cart’. Sales reps, you know what I am talking about.


Closing deals is certainly one heck of a journey. And, I am not going to lie, some days it feels like Frodo and Sam’s journey to Mount Doom. Grueling, fatiguing, and filled with Gollums. But, it’s definitely well worth it in the end. But, are you sure you are getting rightly rewarded for months of hard work? Let’s find out. 

When you learn what your commission payout looks like, double check the final numbers. Unlike your salary which is a fixed number adjusted once a year, your incentive payouts are dynamic and highly prone to errors. Not checking them is equivalent to offering an additional 20% discount on a deal to a customer who has never asked for it.

You wouldn't leave money on the table, would you? So, reps, if you don’t already, please check the details of your commission payout this time.

Here are 5 things you should review in your commission payout:

Attainment discrepancies

Most commission calculations involve a certain quota (or target) and attainment against that quota. The quota attainment determines the commission slab that you fall under for that period.

Sometimes, there are pre-conditions involved in determining your attainment. For instance, attainments could be calculated only for new deals or for a certain product type. If these details are not captured properly, then you might miss out on your attainment for that particular deal and that eventually impacts your payout.

Accelerator slab misses

Even if the attainments are captured properly, there might sometimes be misses in incorporating the right accelerator for the attainment slab that you fall under. This error is common when your operations or finance teams perform commission calculations on spreadsheet.

So if your teams operate on spreadsheet, DOUBLE CHECK the accelerators.

Ownership and date of closure issues

If you are a rep, the deal needs to be in your name, otherwise, you are not getting paid commission for it. This is certainly not one of those ‘what’s in a name?’ scenarios.

Also, ensure the date of close is rightly marked in the commission payout period.

SPIF Payments

You might have a quarter-end short-term incentive (SPIF) program and it is very common for these to get missed out, again when operating out of spreadsheets. Do a quick review of whether you have qualified for the SPIF and ensure that this payout reflects in your commissions pay-check.


Clawbacks are usually enforced when commissions are paid out on bookings and there are customer payment collection issues. Typically, the calculations get very complex and several times the clawback calculations end up being wrong. Also, sometimes, customers do end up paying eventually. If the customer does come back and pay you, the system may not be set up to repay the rep the amount clawed back. A lot of reps lose out on their money because clawbacks aren’t usually tracked closely.

So, there you have it!

Here’s one step towards not leaving money on the table, towards taking what’s yours. If you’ve enjoyed reading this, we’ve got more insightful content on our blog.

Acknowledgements : Thanks to Samra Taban for editing the blog. Thanks to Aravindh Natesan for the designs.

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