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zero commissions

Thoughtworks abolishes sales commissions to keep clients at the heart of business

The custom software developer sees improved collaboration and customer focus after stopping all incentives this year.

Custom software developer Thoughtworks has ended all sales commission this year as it seeks to boost staff collaboration and keep the client at the heart of the business.


While sales incentives are an almost universal motivation for sales forces across many sectors, Thoughtworks has long felt that it can cause departmental pides. Most importantly, the company believes it leverages how sales teams can interact with existing or potential clients by focusing on actual customer success.


Since abandoning sales commissions across the entire business this year, Thoughtworks has found an even greater degree of collaboration between its sales team, developers and consultants, and staff quickly adjusted to the change.


Managing Director Luke Barrett comments: “At Thoughtworks our sense of ethics has always been the core of the business, and we have long felt that sales commissions are at odds with this. Simply put, it didn’t feel fair when everyone is working hard to promote the business that only a select few were rewarded. There is a traditional degree of separation between sales and developers, and it can lead to an ‘us and them’ attitude which is not constructive.”


“Removing commissions also proves to our clients that we really are motivated by giving them the best possible service rather than by simply closing a sale. Interestingly some of them are now looking to adopt this approach themselves.”


“Sales incentives do have their value and not all businesses will want to let go of them, but we believe that the industry would be much better off with a more inclusive model.”


Client Director David Tuck comments: “Since the switch we have seen even greater collaboration across our whole business. It means that everyone is working together for the benefit of the client rather than any inpidual financial reward. It’s fair to say that recruiting sales people has become even more challenging, however, the benefit is that it’s served as an extra filter to help us find people who share our philosophy”.


“The team took the new approach on board with little difficulty, and although we obviously all have to make sure we can support ourselves and our families, money was never the number one motivator. In business, you need to think about what really drives you, and hopefully that will be a passion for helping your clients do amazing things.”