Salary Or Commission?

In a recent 21 Hats Podcast episode, we touched on an age-old debate: When compensating salespeople, is it better to emphasize salary or commission? William Vanderbloemen volunteered that he’s trying to find a middle ground. Here’s the full quote:

“I look at what the corporate world—which has been doing [executive] search longer than the non-profit world—has done, and you’ve got a spectrum where one is just cowboy culture, and consultants are rewarded based on the sales they produce and the bills they collect. It’s almost like they’re a solopreneur using the house brand. And then the other end of the spectrum is, We’re all going to get paid based on how the company goes, and your tenure is what weights your bonus. And that feels more like Europe than the United States. So I’m trying to find a middle ground, and I don’t know that I’ve got it figured out. I’m wide open to listeners sending me something to find a way to split Solomon’s baby.”

Thoughts? What has your experience been paying salespeople?