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The Trouble with Bonuses, SPIFFs

Must agents now prove they hit the metrics required for bonuses and spiffs?

Channel Partners

June 29, 2011

2 Min Read
The Trouble with Bonuses, SPIFFs


By
Edward O’Connor, Vice President of Network Technology and Sales,

Total Communications Inc.

Each fall, agents eagerly wait for the next years compensation plans to come out. Lately, their anxiety is identifying where they are going to take a financial hit. This makes prudent business sense since we are small entrepreneurs, not large, cross-subsidized conglomerates that can absorb significant changes in business plans with little or no notice.

However, even as we all try to figure it out, one issue is never validated: Does the agent really have an opportunity to obtain all of the compensation from the buckets listed in a service providers agreement? Answering that question requires a host of telecom attorneys to read the document in multiple tongues.

Im taking this subject on after listening to several agents vent concerning plans with bonuses based upon hitting certain criteria. Who is holding the pencil when the tallying is done to figure how those metrics are hit? Oftentimes it is a mysterious third-party company doing the work for the carrier.

Agents have said that they didnt get a certain spiff or bonus because the carrier claimed the agent didnt hit the criteria or, worse, that not enough information was gathered. Whats more they wont provide the results for the agents review. The message is: Sorry, try again next quarter or trimester.”

From what I am hearing its a big issue with at least one carrier out there. How many of you have had this happen and how was it reconciled? Whats your take?

Edward OConnor is the vice president of network services and sales at
Total Communications Inc., which has more than 30 years operating experience in the voice, data, network management, and structured cabling arenas as a large interconnect solution provider, representing the Cisco and Mitel/Inter-Tel product lines. Total Communications Inc. also is a master agency representing multiple carriers. OConnor has more than 25 years experience as a leader in telecommunications firms, with expertise in PBX and network sales, marketing, engineering and operations. Over the past 15 years of his career he has held senior sales management positions with SBC, MFS, Brooks Fiber Communications, and MCI, with responsibilities during those assignments handling SMB, wholesale, enterprise and global markets. He also is a member of the 2010-11 PHONE+ /Channel Partners Conference & Expo Advisory Board.

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