Sales and national accounts professionals saw average compensation losses ranging from 10% to 30% in 2008, but with smart management, top producers will be well-positioned for a recovery in 2010, according to a new study by kasina.

Internal wholesalers took the biggest hit, with a decline of more than 32.7% in total compensation from 2007 to 2008, largely driven by a 22.3% drop in variable compensation, kasina said. External wholesalers saw a 20.7% decline.

National sales managers experienced a 13.5% drop, while internal and hybrid wholesalers saw increases of 8.8% and 18.4% in total compensation.

So far, asset managers have responded to the market crisis in three main ways, kasina found. A third of firms are doing nothing at all and waiting for the markets to rebound, 45% are cutting costs across the board, and the remaining 22% are taking advantage of this opportunity to innovate and reorganize their operations, the study found.

The kasina study recommends that firms try to keep the top people happy by maintaining reasonable pay for top performers, even if it means eliminating other positions or expanding responsibilities of some employees. Firms must reward activities that are important, controllable and that yield long-term benefits to the firm, even if those activities don't yield short-term, measurable sales results.

Lastly, kasina recommends firms try to tie sales to corporate profitability by helping sales professionals rationalize travel and expense budgets, cross-sell products and advance long-term value creation and profitability for their firm.

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