I’m in a newer job in sales at a start-up.
Before I signed my offer letter, I was given an expected commission plan. In writing, the founder told me that this was lowballing the offer, and they thought I would exceed those sales number because this is what they were doing in sales without a sales person at the company (without sales efforts). The founder told me they were signing 5 new clients a month, and converting 3 existing clients to the new product, and gave average revenue for both categories.
In week 7 of my job, I spent a morning going through every single “customer” we have on the platform with someone in operations. I discovered that there were only a total 3 paying customers on the platform. And of the others who supposedly were on the platform, many had never even logged in. Some had used the product once, and then stopped.
That was a few weeks ago, and I’ve felt ALL the feelings from that. I’ve done some work on not assuming the founder knew the data and lied, what his intentions were, etc. Now I’m ready to create an intentional model.
-There are fewer people on the system than I was told
-My base is lower than the industry average
-I was told I would make high commissions quickly because they were already selling without a sales team in place
-I was told that I would have the autonomy to build systems, and would eventually have the opportunity to hire a sales team under me. The first hire being in 60 days after my hire date.
-6 weeks in, I was told that a new Sr. sales manager was being hired to be my boss and scale/manage the sales team
-I turned down job opportunities with a higher base salary to take this job
I’ve run the gammut of thoughts:
-I was lied to
-The founder maniuplated me
-How could I be so naive
-I should have known better
-There’s no way I can hit my financial goals with this low of a base
-How could I undersell myself like this?
I’ve processed through those, and now I want to create some thoughts that help me get better results.
After promising an official commission plan over two months ago, the founder finally gave me one. There’s wording in there I’m uncomfortable with, including a statement that my assumed commissions over the course of year 1 will be 60k. My mind and the new Sr. Sales leader are offering me lots of thoughts as to why that’s not possible, and why there is no past sales data to support that goal. And I’m also concerned that if I sign this, I will be held accountable to that number, up to and including being fired for not hitting that number. And I think that this number is based on false information on the number of users.
I’m all for setting impossible goals. But I no longer trust the founder to be honest and straightforward. I am also wary of being fired “for cause” and not being able to collect unemployement due to the wording of the commission plan. So I want to create a result where I’m legally protected if I’m fired for not hitting these goals.
I want to bring up what I was told before signing my hiring paperwork. And I want to make sure I have my own back in asking for certain things to be added, removed, or clarified from the commission plan before signing.
C – I was told there were x number of sales being made before I was hired. Y number of sales is the actual number.
T – I can’t trust the founder to give me accurate information, and if I push back on this, I won’t get accurate info
F – Distrust
A – Try to manage everything on my own and not risk bringing this up in conversation because I won’t get accurate info anyways
R – I don’t trust the founder and I don’t bring up this issue.
C – Same as above
T – My expected comp plan was based on data that isn’t true, and that means I can’t make the money I thought I could make
F – Apathy
A – Don’t try to sell better every day. Less confident in sales calls. Schedule fewer demos. Close fewer accounts. Stop trying to identify our target persona and market.
R – I don’t make the money I thought I would make when I took the job.
Here are some of the new results I want to create:
-Talk about this in a careful way, in writing, without emotionally laden or accusatory language.
-Ask for a raise in base salary, even if it’s temporary until we figure enough out to sell more
-Stay focused on my job, and try to make as much money as I can, even if I’m not supported by the company or the founder.
-Make money in this job until my business can fully support me leaving.
-Make sure that I’m taking actions that help protect me legally