Episode TwoHundredSixty

How Flat Compensation Revolutionizes Culture

Guest: Jamison Powell, VP of Sales at monday.com

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About This Episode

It’s an all-new way to compensate that takes out the aggression and possessiveness but leaves the drive and the ownership.

Intrigued?

I recently had the chance to interview Jamison Powell, VP of Sales at monday.com, about their brilliant flat compensation plan.

Jamison is proud of what makes Monday unique. “For one, we’re 100% inbound,” he said. “We’re 100% flat. No commission.”

Let’s zoom in on this incredible system!

Complete alignment

The reason Monday has no commission isn’t just because it’s 100% inbound. It’s because the entire company is aligned to… building the company. Sales is just one component in a unified effort to grow the business.

“There is no stepping on each other. And there is no pushing the prospect. It’s a very consultative approach,” Jamison said.

They still measure everything you’d normally measure on sales: forecasting, activities, conversion rates, promotion cycles based on qualitative and quantitative.

“The quantitative obviously is the quarters and achievements. And the qualitative would be things that matter to us, like culture and internal impact in sales skill and process,” he said.

Day to day, sales doesn’t feel too different because there are always a lot of people who will work as hard as possible to win as long as they’re paid fairly. “It’s not about reaching for those accelerators,” Jamison said.

Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of awards, recognitions, and a path to promotion. They just released a bonus plan for next year. They reward folks on a sliding scale based on production.

“It allows us to add a bit of that component without losing who we are around this commission plan,” Jamison said.

Individual goals vs. company goals

The biggest pro to this system?

“You’ve never seen a more beautiful culture as far as I’m concerned,” Jamison said.

It’s supportive. It’s collaborative. It’s about customers loving the buying journey. It’s about team members lifting others with them.

The career paths they’ve created do allow for several fast jumps or accelerated movement to senior level, at which point compensation slows down to annual. 

Those who are in it to chase the money will find that money isn’t the intrinsic goal at Monday (though it’s certainly available to earn with excellence). “There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just not what we’ve built,” Jamison said.

In fact, he tries not to hire people who could create friction across this teaming aspect around building the entire business to a billion plus versus ‘I hit my quota of 2 million and took home some cash.’

Culture focus

Jamison works hard to hire people who value team success more than their individual success. They’ve only recently enabled a bonus plan that has flex based on production. Generally, they set aggressive but achievable quotas for people who demonstrate consistency and predictability to move up into their promotion for more quota.

Basically, the toxicity of the traditional sales culture is not present at Monday. They also don’t have the distraction of a new comp plan every year.

Tactically, this allows them to switch on a dime — to change segmentation, territories, teams — without any financial impact on anybody.

“They’re all aligned to the big goal. And that big goal means, ‘Yeah, let’s do it,’” Jamison said.

When Jamison learned that compensation was flat, here’s how he reasoned it:

I’m going to be here five to seven years, starting higher and ramping slower, but with benefits and bonuses the whole time. When he compared that to the traditional commission model, it simply averaged out better, and with a hugely more compatible culture.

Others think so too, because, for the most part, people stay.

“If you hire right, and you enable right, and you have fair quotas, and they have a progression where they can carry a little bit more, our cost model definitely works for us,” he said.

The humanity of sales

People enter the sales profession seeking excellence, not necessarily wealth. “We’re sales professionals and we’ve got the humanity and humility aspect to us around consultative selling and pushing the value,” Jamison said.

“This story is a lot more unique than my financial position over the next three to four years, which will be fine. But the story of Monday is going to be quite unique and powerful for what they’ve created,” he added.

The caricature of the money-grubbing, ultra-selfish sales guy just doesn’t exist at Monday. “Most of all, we care that the customer loves us,” Jamison said.

This culture of customer focus starts with hiring. Jamison looks for people who are

  • Intrinsically motivated
  • Ready to embrace a fast pace
  • Willing to own customer success
  • Connected to each other

“We’ve hired the right people that have this sense of family, community pride, and intrinsic motivation. They want to be a part of this journey,” he said.

Get in touch with Jamison to keep the conversation going via LinkedIn.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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