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Could adopting a straight-commission system be a good bet for your business?

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This story appears in the March 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Are you struggling to feed the ever-voracious payroll monster each month while failing to achieve the sales results you need? You're not alone: According to Deloitte & Touche's "2003 Strategic Sales Compensation Survey," 54 percent of sales leaders aren't satisfied with sales force performance. And 52 percent of respondents think that when low performers aren't culled from the sales force, the lack of accomplishment acts as a "drag on aggregate productivity."

If you wish to bolster sales without adding much overhead, commission-only sales reps may be a good option. In the straight-commission model, your reps "eat what they kill," and you pay only for results. As with any compensation plan, it has both merits and snags. To gauge whether a strict pay-for-performance system will work for your sales shop, consider the following issues:

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