SaaS company incentives


We run a Enterprise SaaS company.

Monthly, we pay our salesmen and distributors a commission upon their clients sales.

I'm afraid we're not giving incentives to software development, hardware repairs and the distribution chain, which are important parts of our business model.

How would you compute/give incentives to areas like software development, infrastructure operations, distribution chain and so on?

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asked Dec 28 '12 at 07:08
Sd Reyes
156 points
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3 Answers


You are asking how to give incentives, but I suspect that's not really your goal.

You want to motivate people and also increase staff retention, don't mistake that for the same as incentives.

I would recommend watching this "sketchnote" from a talk by Daniel Pink on motivation

The key takeaways are that people are motivated by 3 things:

  • Mastery (they like to get better at things)
  • Autonomy (they need flexibility in how they work)
  • Purpose (they need to believe in what they are working on)

If you deal with those 3 points, you will get motivated staff and it won't necessarily cost you anything.

answered Dec 28 '12 at 17:01
Joel Friedlaender
5,007 points
  • I want to keep fair the money's remuneration among the cofounders. it's for justice sake. – Sd Reyes 11 years ago
  • I don't understand, are you talking about commissions to the founders? I thought you were asking about staff. – Joel Friedlaender 11 years ago


While I can see what your going after you can't pay everyone based on client sales. If you wanted to do that make it an employee owned company. While everyone does work hard, they can be motivated in other ways besides a direct monitory value. Company funded lunches, outings, relax lounge, cooler office digs etc. You can set something up yearly that if X is made the everyone in the company, from the person at the front-desk to a Dir would all get the same bonus. Kingston Memory is great at doing this.

answered Dec 28 '12 at 12:33
271 points


Sales effectiveness is measurable. Giving them incentives motivates them to push the boundaries and develop themselves more and work harder and they know it.

Programmer (and most other jobs) effectiveness is based on whether they want to work or waste time at the desk, and it's generally immeasurable because you can't put their effectiveness on a chart unless someone's full time job is to watch them type.... so an effective programmer is just doing time consuming labour work and incentives will have no effect on them because unless you're watching them type, you cannot judge whether they achieve the goal or not. They're either on full effectiveness when working, or zero effectiveness when not.

So I agree with Tony. Equal perks for all, and perhaps a major project based incentive based on company profit.

If they're whinging about the sales people getting bonuses it's because they don't get it. They selfishly believe they're smarter and more important than every sales person. Tell them that becoming a sales person is actually a promotion and elite social skills are more sought after than their technical skills. It's like complaining that the CEO earns more than them when the CEO only makes 3 decisions per day... while they're making a decision every 3 minutes of the day writing code or dealing with customers.

answered Dec 28 '12 at 16:36
James Hilton
9 points
  • Poor attempt at trolling. Or maybe you actually believe software developers are unskilled labor and should be treated accordingly... good luck with that. – James Adam 11 years ago
  • With all respect, if you told me that you'd never get me as a partner in your enterprise. – Sd Reyes 11 years ago
  • James Adam, you've made a good attempt at being rude and delusional, because I didn't say devs are unskilled at all. Good luck with improving your observation skills. __ Karlson, what's your specific reference within that article? Are you implying that not giving developers bonuses and incentives will cause them to focus on competing with the sales people, rather than doing their job effectively? __ SDReyes, which part? Equal perks for everyone? Social skills are more important to sales than devs? The elite level of sales people are higher skilled than the elite level of programmers? – James Hilton 11 years ago
  • "Social skills are more important to sales than devs" And "The elite level of sales people are higher skilled than the elite level of programmers", both of them personally I believe I will get from my team what I incentive in our company, I just can't ignore the importance of engineering as well as sales. they're equally important for me and my company. – Sd Reyes 11 years ago
  • Of course they're important, but we're talking incentives here! Engineers generally don't sell products so they don't affect the profit of a company which is where the bonuses and incentives come from. The sales person's job is directly related to profits, therefore the bonuses come from their ability to do their job well. Unless your company is inventing new tech, you don't need a Wozniak, you can just hire qualified engineers and they'll do the job. A 1mil engineer is no better than a 100k engineer in that sense, but a 1mil sales person will be multitudes better than a 100k salesperson. – James Hilton 11 years ago

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