On Sunday night after the last conference championship game is decided, printers will work overtime, pools will form, money will be exchanged and inevitably hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people will fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket.Many will choose based on the empirical evidence gathered by watching hundreds of college basketball games, scrutinizing every pick to its core. Others will color inside the lines or hover as close to the chalk as possible. And of course, some (and mind you, this is usually the most successful group) will pick according to mascot partiality and/ or uniform color.There’s no one correct way to fill out a bracket because the NCAA Tournament is so unpredictable, which makes it as exciting as it has become over the last few decades.There are some statistics that may help with “bracketology,” however, especially for first round games when many brackets are substantiated or torn to shreds (literally). Feel free to use them even though; in the end, they’ll likely help very little.Picking No. 1 seeds are a given. In the history of the NCAA Tournament, no No. 16 seed has usurped No. 1 (that’s a 100 percent success rate if you’re scoring at home). Predicting the first ever No. 16 over No. 1 upset is throwing away points (but if you’re in my pool, you can be sure this IS the year it will actually happen; in fact all the No. 1 seeds might lose).No. 2 seeds are usually pretty straightforward, as well. They are 80-4 in first round games (since 1985, when the field expanded to 64 teams). The last time a No. 2 lost in the first round, however, was in 2001, when Hampton took out Iowa State (Marcus Fizer’s career rapidly declined since that day, and how the heck did Iowa State earn a No. 2 seed in the first place?).Three and four seeds are, for the most part, sure things. Lately, a few 13 and 14 seeds have snuck into the second round (Bucknell, Weber St. and Bradley come to mind), but even those upsets are pretty few and far between.Then there’s the pesky 5-12 matchup. Most serious bracketologists wouldn’t dare turn in their bracket without a No. 12 over No. 5 upset. The reasoning behind the strategy is sound, as every year since 1988, except one, a No. 12 seed has taken down a No. 5.Interestingly enough No. 6 seeds have a better record against No. 11 than No. 5 vs. 12. But even still, turning in a finished bracket without a No. 11 over a No. 6 is probably foolish.From there, 7-10 and 8-9 matchups are often tossups. I suggest the “Ask Your Grandmother” technique for these games. Grandmothers are perfect for this kind of thing. They usually know nothing about basketball, sports or really anything else besides baking brownies, knitting sweaters and smelling kind of weird, which makes them eminently qualified for the job at hand.Ask her which mascot sounds friendlier. Show her pictures of the head coaches, and ask her which man has a nicer face (they really like that kind of stuff; trust me). Do anything so that they are the one’s making the ultimate decision, not you.Finally, voila: The first round is complete.Now, there are some very difficult decisions to make in the second round. The first, however, happens to be the most exciting part of the process: picking the one or two Cinderella(s) in your bracket.Everyone loves to see a Cinderella go deep into the tournament. Even more people love to be the ones who knew it would happen the whole time (though they didn’t really know, they just used the Grandmother Technique and are taking the credit for themselves).If a No. 12 seed can take out No. 5, why can’t they do the same against a No. 4 and dance into the Sweet 16? A No. 11 over a No. 3, why not? Remember George Mason?The numbers get pretty crazy past the first round in terms of statistics (how often No. X moves on vs. No. Y because there are so many possible matchups). But the No. 1 seed (assuming they have moved on) will always have to play the winner of the 8-9 game, which can be a really tricky pick.The stats are in the No. 1 seed’s favor since their record against No. 8 or No. 9 seeds is 92-13 or about 85 percent all time.Though, don’t be so quick to assume No. 1 is a sure thing this year.ESPN’s resident bracketologist Joe Lunardi has Ohio State possibly matched up with Missouri (a team that was ranked as high as eighth in the polls this year) or Tennessee, (a team with wins over Pittsburgh and Villanova during the regular season) in the second round.Is it so far fetched that either of these teams could take down the Buckeyes? Heavens no! (Though if Ohio State continues to shoot the three as well as it has lately, maybe it’s an easier pick than it seems).In either case, past the second round, there are no sure things. There is no UNC with five NBA ready players to blaze through the tournament field. It’s wide open this year.Some will go through several brackets, rethinking upsets, overanalyzing the 2-15 games, pestering grandma to no end and still won’t be happy with their finished product.Others will go with their first instinct; fill out the bracket once, and leave it as is without worrying too much about it.But almost all will be wrong about almost everything.
As most CEOs at the expansion stage eventually find out, sales team compensation can be tricky. There are myriad questions that must be addressed to flesh out compensation plans that are fair for each position within your sales organization.For example, should your entry-level inside sales reps be given more salary and smaller bonuses? And what about a VP of Sales — how can you compensate them in a way that centers around an equity stake in the company’s overall results, increasing their motivation to drive revenue? Then there are lead generators. What outcomes or transition points should correlate to their compensation? And how frequently should their bonuses be paid out?What should you pay your sales, marketing, and development teams?In this exclusive report, OpenView teamed up with PayScale to take a closer look at compensation trends for the biggest high-tech hubs in the country.Here’s the short answer to each of those questions: At the expansion stage, the more you can leverage compensation to results, the better off you’ll be in the long term. As the CEO, that means allowing your sales employees — whether they’re a VP of Sales or a field sales rep — to earn more from their sales results than they can from their salary.The problem with salary-heavy compensation, of course, is that it decreases motivation and makes it virtually impossible for a small company to scale. Commission or bonus-focused compensation plans, however, provide tremendous upside for growth and allow CEOs to truly leverage their people. And we’re not talking about a unitary system here that’s only good for the company. Bonus-heavy compensation is ultimately better for everyone, providing ample opportunity for each member within the sales team hierarchy (and the company itself) to make more.The truth is, when it comes to your sales team, every startup or expansion-stage CEO should want to “show them the money”. Because if compensation plans are structured properly, the distribution of wealth usually means that those people are being paid relative to the value they bring to the company. And in that scenario, everyone stands to benefit.VP of Sales and executive compensationWhat exactly should factor in to a VP of Sales compensation package?It depends a little bit on your company, its industry, and the products it sells. But in most expansion stage software companies, a VP of Sales should be charged with all aspects of the company’s sales distribution model, the relationship and accountability of the sales and marketing departments, and driving (and ideally exceeding) quarterly targets.In the end, they’re an executive — not a manager, director, or glorified field rep. As such, their compensation package must revolve around an equity stake in the business. And, as a recent VP of Sales compensation study by Phone Works revealed, that means factoring in things like:Meeting sales goalsMeeting profit targetsAchieving key corporate objectivesEfficiently scaling and on-boarding sales team membersHitting personal MBOsThe bottom line is that sales executive compensation needs to be a confluence of salary, commission, and bonus — all of which reward those team members on the revenue results of the entire organization (or, in the case of a sales manager or director, the performance of their specific organization).Now, that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on compensation. Ultimately, you want to create an environment that encourages everyone to perform better and drive revenue. If they succeed in doing that, VPs of Sales and their team members should make a lot of money. You just don’t want to make the mistake of giving it to them before they do anything to warrant it.Inside sales reps and lead generator compensationCompensating reps and lead generators is another fairly common problem that CEOs at startup or expansion stage companies face.Pay too little, and you remove any motivation or sense of urgency to close new business. Pay too much, and you harm your ability to scale and attract the wrong kind of sales talent to your business (the kind that expects to make $400,000 per year on blue bird deals, for example).The simplest way I can explain the resolution to that problem is this: When it comes to inside sales or lead generation compensation, the goal should be to leverage your employees and give them the opportunity to make more money from sales results than they do from salary.Of course, there’s no uniform salary-to-commission ratio that will work for every company or sales role. Here are few other things to consider when deciding how to best compensate your inside sales and lead gen teams at an early stage sales organization:Inside and outside sales: Leading indicators (number of appointments, new opportunities in the funnel, pipeline management, etc.) should determine a salesperson’s salary. Their performance against revenue expectation should dictate bonus and commission.Lead generation: Their salary justifies the number of calls and conversations you expect them to make and the activity that drives the pipeline. Their commission, on the other hand, should be based on the outcomes at the various transition points of sales, the number of appointments they schedule at large enterprises, and the appointments that turn into real opportunities.Quarterly or monthly: That depends on the makeup of your team, but young salespeople (who typically have no savings and college loan payments to make) often need to be compensated more frequently. Sales managers, directors, and executives, on the other hand, should receive their bonuses quarterly.When to cap commission: Never. It’s as simple as that. Capping commission creates a bad culture and kills morale. If your compensation plan is set up correctly, you’ll be rewarding for results that bring significant value and revenue to the company. And in that scenario, you can afford to spread the wealth.The bottom line is that sales compensation — whether it’s for a new lead generator or an experienced inside sales rep — is about rewarding efficiency, effectiveness, and results. The value that you place on certain performance measures or types of sales will vary, but the idea is to create an environment that rewards urgency and provides upside for over-performers.Take the Next Step: Download the Free eBookOne of the greatest challenges that most B2B companies face, particularly those lacking the brand recognition and market traction of their biggest competitors, is figuring out how to drive high-quality leads.Get More Customers! How to Build an Outbound B2B Lead Generation Team that Drives Sales provides a detailed overview of B2B lead generation and how to create an effective B2B lead generation machine.Download this free eBook and learn how to:Understand what outbound lead generation is and why it’s importantRecognize the components of a successful outbound generation implementationBuild an effective and sustainable compensation planImprove your outbound approach and processExplore the various technologies available to sales managers and how to utilize them effectively to manage the outbound lead generation processAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis4