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Paying Radio Sellers A Salary?!? . . . YES! – Digital Gabe
Digital Gabe
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Paying Radio Sellers A Salary?!? . . . YES!

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During a 15 year stretch of my career I managed sales staffs at various broadcast radio stations.  During all that time the stations only had one comp plan – commission against revenue billed, with some form of draw-against-commission for a backstop during bad months.  It was just an accepted fact of life that radio sellers were paid on commission, period.  Then when I moved to a digital publisher in 2011 and was pleasantly surprised to see sales comp plans that were generally 50% salary and 50% commission.

Having had a birds’ eye view on both models, I’ve always wondered why broadcasters didn’t try adding a salary component to their comp plans.  This could create some financial stability for their sellers (helpful in reducing turnover), and get reps thinking about longer term marketing solutions for their clients instead of their next commission check.

Just when I was about to give up on the radio industry getting serious about salary, I came across this story in Radio Ink about has cluster in the Quad Cities region who’s been using a full salary + team bonus comp plan for 17 years. (not a typo)  The Sales Manager being interviewed for the piece goes on to explain why they have this comp plan and how its benefitted their cluster over the years.  It’s a really interesting perspective, and seems to be working well for them.

Granted, I wasn’t even thinking full salary as an option for media sellers.  I still believe a mix of salary (stability) and commission (performance) is the best way to compensate quota bearing sales reps.

Give the article a read and lmk your opinion on this topic.


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