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Unique global expertise in the design, implementation and ongoing support related to sales incentive plans,

Our offering derives from a rigorous analytic approach to, and in-depth knowledge of, all steps involved in creating motivation through variable pay.



Communicating objectives

Communicating objectives in a timely manner

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Reversibility of variable remuneration

Reversibility of variable remuneration

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The tool gets in the way

The tool gets in the way

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Outsourcing Analysis

Outsourcing Analysis

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Pharma : new criteria to take into account

Pharma : new criteria to take into account

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Pharma : step curves

Pharma : step curves

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Pharma : Quota setting methodologies and managerial adjustments

Pharma : Quota setting methodologies and managerial adjustments

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Under-distributive payout curves

Under-distributive payout curves

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You are looking for effective tools to design,
calculate and communicate your variable pay?



Do you want to take advantage of the power
of the Incentive Manager suite?



Are you thinking of outsourcing the entire management
and the communication related to your variable pay?


Incentive Tracker

The communication tool for
your variable compensation schemes

Learn more

Free diagnosis

Evaluate your variable compensation



Commitment : a long-term relationship ?

Commitment is an integral part of business life: a company's long-term development relies heavily on the wholehearted commitment of the men and women who put their ambition, talent and motivation to work for it.

However, a company's variable pay policy cannot be viewed merely as a simple business quid pro quo whereby company directors buy employee motivation in exchange for monetary compensation.

Commitment cannot be purchased - it can only be won by creating a positive relationship between the company and its employees and promoting the values of :

  • responsibility
  • shared, balanced interests
  • recognition of individual contribution

Motivation: what for ?

You may well ask whether a company should even devote sufficient resource and time to the subject of employee motivation and commitment? Well, we believe the answer is a resounding 'yes', since motivation helps to explain a number of fundamental principles that govern human behaviour inside and outside the workplace:

  • Firstly, it is the process by which every individual initiates action.
  • Satisfying our desires is the driving force behind all our actions and yet... when we fulfill our desires our motivation to achieve them is reinforced, not removed.
  • Performance-related compensation offers a reward in return for results that are achieved through effort: participation in a performance-related pay scheme helps to develop an employee's ability to weigh up the pros and cons of expending such effort and this directly influences motivation
  • A persistent gap between desire and satisfaction gradually leads to demotivation.

In this context, a variable compensation policy enables a company to articulate certain core principles and objectives and convey to its employees the motivational outcomes it must achieve in order to fulfill them.

Motivating personnel: art or science ?

Have you ever been the beneficiary of a variable pay scheme and had the feeling that it hadn't been thought through properly?
A scheme perhaps put together without considering how different scheme elements will interact and their impact on the overall plan?
Have you ever come across short term fixes, hurriedly put together via a spreadsheet application to deal with outcomes that were not anticipated?

Needless to say, just paying out bonuses doesn't automatically guarantee increased motivation for beneficiaries.

At Primeum, we believe that setting up a successful variable pay scheme can be approached rigorously and scientifically with three key stages:

  • analysis and modelling of the current scheme
  • elaboration of commercial, strategic and HR policies to permit the development of targeted motivation
  • implementation of administration, communication and process control tools.

Delivering Effectiveness ?

Explain, communicate, evaluate...
is there anything else?

A simulation and communication tool with user-friendly graphics accessible to all beneficiaries will contribute to your variable pay scheme's success. The tool facilitates familiarisation with your variable pay scheme, communicates any variable pay earned, maintains motivation and makes variable pay more tangible.

Identifying any misconceptions, making sure that scheme participants understand fully your scheme design and intent: management has a vital role to play in communicating and overseeing your variable pay policy.

A variable pay scheme, irrespective of whether it is brand new or a revision of an existing plan, must be perceived as a real blueprint for change within your company.

What is the best system?

Framing the question like this doesn't really help since variable pay is a process for which no one winning formula exists. A system's effectiveness has to be evaluated within each company's specific context, which means there isn't a "best" system but rather a 'best fit' system: a system most appropriate for the beneficiary population, type and scope of commercial or business challenges, company culture and type of activity.

Primeum will guide its clients every step of the way in dealing with these essential questions:

  • Are the potential rewards offered likely to motivate most scheme participants?
  • Is the choice of performance variables and indicators statistically sound?
  • Is the bonus payout consistent with the level of achievement?
  • Do scheme effects conform to expectations? Have any counter-productive behaviours been encouraged?

Multiple objectives, complex realities: over-simplify or just make it straightforward?

Beware of overly simplistic schemes, for your variable pay plan must first and foremost generate the behaviours and outcomes set out in your variable pay policy.

Your plan should therefore:

  • be as detailed as required to generate the desired outcomes.
  • clearly communicate what is expected of beneficiaries in terms of performance.
  • avoid counter-productive or negative effects arising from contradictory rules.
  • keep the number of performance variables to a minimum.
  • deliver an acceptable proportion of winners when the required results are achieved overall.
  • be communicated effectively by management.

Allocating individual targets: make them ambitious and realistic?

"It's a stretch but it's fair"...although something of a cliché, this dictum is very often heard in the context of a company's national target.

However, the beneficiaries of target-based bonus schemes often see things differently. Indeed, the effectiveness of schemes such as these depends on how fairly the overall or national objective is allocated to individuals.

The target allocation process is complex, prone to mistakes and inequity, and can totally demotivate those who feel their targets are unachievable or fail to motivate others who feel their targets will be achieved without much effort. In practice, this means that the company will not maximise its sales as a result of a sub-optimal process.

How do you ensure your scheme is under control?

Have you ever had to abandon or modify a bonus scheme owing to unacceptable budget overspend?

To remove any chance of this happening, Primeum will work with you over three key phases:

  • Definition of the variable remuneration envelope you are prepared to spend on achievement of the aggregate, or national, result.
  • Evaluation of the company's expected results and the potential level of reward for beneficiaries.
  • Exhaustive testing and simulation prior to deployment: during this evaluation phase, analysis of a scheme's performance variables allows us to fine-tune the device to ensure that the total payout at different levels of national performance will conform to your specifications.

Why automate the calculation process?

Would you prefer to pay out incorrect bonuses or pay late? Perhaps surprisingly, this dilemma is frequently encountered and can adversely impact desired motivational outcomes.

Automatic calculation of variable pay is indispensable. Designed as an integral part of a suite of market leading software tools, Primeum's variable pay management software responds to your operational needs:

  • a growing number of beneficiaries and/or an increasing number of bonus protocols,
  • growing sophistication in the design of variable pay devices and associated calculations,
  • the use of reliable simulation tools for the development of bonus curves and different scheme parameters.


Audit and diagnostic

Primeum has developed an exclusive methodology for analysing its clients variable pay schemes, which is conducted in two critical stages:

  • a study based on a thorough statistical analysis to lay bare the different elements of a scheme and highlight inconsistencies, counter-productive outcomes and any other divergence from scheme intentions,
  • a series of interviews conducted with variable pay scheme beneficiaries and management to ascertain how they view the current plan, with a report on strengths and weaknesses, effects on motivation, etc.

This "X-ray" throws into relief any scheme dysfunctions arising from beneficiary misapprehension of scheme objectives or from inappropriate scheme rules.

Such a diagnosis is a vital starting point for designing a new scheme, since it provides a clear exposition of the current context, beneficiary behaviour and company objectives.

Scheme design

Primeum guides its clients through the development of variable pay policies that are clearly aligned with strategic, commercial and HR priorities.

Taken together with the conclusions derived from the Diagnosis, this variable pay policy is the starting point for designing a new scheme. In this design phase, Primeum's decision-making tools and experience are brought to bear to maximise the clarity and effectiveness of your new scheme.

Once a scheme prototype has been developed, Primeum runs exhaustive simulations which predict with great precision how the system will work when implemented. These simulations are conducted both on individual performance measures and collectively, and will confirm your policy specifications in terms of motivational effectiveness, selectivity (proportion of winners and losers), discrimination (share of bonus envelope amongst winners) and payout.


Primeum has developed a series of engineered solutions to meet your variable pay needs and ensure that your scheme delivers the exact motivations you require. In addition to classical devices, such as actual versus target schemes, commission and ranking systems, Primeum offers a number of proprietary and innovative calculation processes that overcome typical shortcomings of classical devices.

Depending on your requirements, we will offer you:

Commitment Process

Primeum's Commitment Process incentivises beneficiaries to accept the challenge of more ambitious targets, rather than trying to exceed lower or perhaps even under-estimated targets by as much as possible as happens with traditional target-based systems. Rewarding the precise achievement of ambitious but realistic targets, the Commitment Process aligns the interests of company and individual and provides a solid platform for maximising results.

This is quite a revolution in target-based bonus schemes. It replaces the often sterile traditional target or budget negotiation process with the constructive development of solid action plans to deliver the required results. Crucially, it also removes any incentive for participants to indulge in counter-productive practices that are often observed in traditional target-based schemes.


Primeum's Napper allows you to inextricably link two performance measures without overpaying beneficiaries when they succeed on only one of the measures. Any bonus payable is calculated on results obtained against both performance measures (e.g. margin and turnover), and the tool allows you to define the weightings of the performance measures.

Traditional linking methodologies, based on simple mathematical formulae, can generate many counter-productive outcomes and result in participant focus on one or other of the measures.

Primeum's Napper enables you to link two performance measures with total precision so you can generate the exact behaviours you require.

Performance Ranking Mechanism

Primeum's Performance Ranking mechanism evaluates the contribution of each individual and overcomes the disadvantages of traditional ranking systems. In essence, it offers a simple way of calculating the relative contribution of each beneficiary to overall performance.

Ranking processes are often used when strict budgetary control is sought. However, there is a disconnect between bonus payout and the aggregate or national result as the same bonus envelope is disbursed whatever the level of overall performance; and bonuses paid do not reflect the real differences in beneficiaries' results. Should someone who is ranked first when the national or overall target is not achieved receive the same level of bonus when the national target is exceeded?

Should the number of winners (i.e. those who receive a bonus) remain constant irrespective of the national performance? Is it better to be ranked third with a result only 3% less than the top performer, or ranked second with a performance 20% lower than the top performer?

Quality Process Execution

For many Businesses, the contribution to performance, developing purely around commercials functions, is increasingly regarded as essential, but cannot be measured only by usual economic criteria. Actually, the main variable performance of these businesses lies in the quality of implementation of action plan. Indeed, their task is not only to contribute to today's business achievement but also create successful conditions for the future.

Prioritizing implementation quality of action plans by the requirement of economic performance: the challenge is clear, but it needs a real ability to manage inherent difficulties in handling qualitative targets within a variable pay scheme.

Primeum implementing Quality process allows you to combine these two requirements inseparably: a real need for quality and an economic performance requirement.

Primeum's Adjusted Commission

Improvements in commission rates are intended to stimulate the company sales result requirement by the addition of an accelerator, i.e. a higher rate of commission above a certain threshold. This "outperformance" commission sometimes reinforces the effect of guaranteed income by making it even more profitable.

In addition to sales outcome alone, Primeum's Adjusted Commission incorporates the effect of sales growth. Thanks to a three-dimensional "surface" (sales outcome, growth, pay), the commission is organised in such a way that for the same absolute growth, the marginal remuneration is higher for those starting from a lower base.

Those starting on this lower base are therefore more motivated to grow because their remuneration grows more quickly depending on their absolute growth. On the other hand, the impact on the big contributors is to encourage them to consolidate as much as it to grow.

Our approach allows for a commission adjustment according to performance whilst still keeping control of overall costs, - which is the advantage of a linear commission plan.


Incentive Manager Toolsuite,
A structured and holistic
software solution

You can manage all your needs related to the calculation and communication of variable pay elements of your sales teams with Primeum's Incentive Manager Toolsuite (IMT).

IMT is a powerful software solution comprising:

Incentive Manager,
The management interface
for your variable pay

Thanks to Incentive Manager (IM) you control the entire process from importing data and calculations according to incentive rules you can modify, to the publication of reports and dashboards.

There is a workflow interface with logical steps from data importing, setting up calculations, creating reports, sending mails and exporting to the follow-up tool (Incentive Tracker).

During the calculation setup process, IM allows you to manage Human Resources related rules such as absences, role changes...

Optionally, IM is available for hosting in a Cloud environment, or as Software as a Service (SaaS). When "IM Light" is installed, the software is accessible remotely and securely.

Incentive Tracker,
The communication tool for
your variable compensation schemes

Incentive Tracker (IT) offers the possibility for each of your sales people to look at the detail of his/her variable pay plan and the different bonuses during the period. Therefore they can simulate the impact of different levels of performance on their pay.

IT is also a facilitation tool for managers it includes a simulation mode which emphasises the motivational aspect of a goal linked to an action plan.

IT also comes as a web service accessible from a computer, tablet or smart phone.

In order to meet all your needs, there are many complementary modules: evaluation of qualitative criteria, eligibility tracking, publication of objectives, documents or integration of collaborative workflows.

Incentive Designer,
The tool to build variable pay plans

Incentive Designer (ID) has three principal functions:

  1. 1. The creation of payout curves which offers the chance to bonus according to a performance criterion.
  2. 2. The creation of two- dimensional surfaces allowing a bonus according to two inextricably linked criteria.
  3. 3. The simulation of the budget and its distribution.
  4. These curves and surfaces can then be used in the Incentive Manager or in Excel for simpler usage. They feature as well in Incentive Tracker and are used in the simulation.

Target Manager,
The solution for aggregating
your objectives

Target Manager (TM) is a powerful tool to calculate individual objectives. Completely configurable and adaptable to your IS system, it calculates and aggregates your objectives whatever:

  • Your sales hierarchy and geography
  • Your products or portfolio of products
  • Your cycles and the months they comprise
  • Your performance indicators (sales, market share, growth)
  • Your calculation methodology
  • TM gives you the freedom to formulate hypotheses, to simulate them and to compare them in order to adjust your variable pay plans. Your consolidated data can be exported directly into Incentive Manager or to your information systems for publication and/or calculation.

Management by Objectives Workflow

With MBO - Workflow, you collaboratively define the incentive elements at the core of your company and assess your sales people.

As a module within the Incentive Tracker, the MBO - Workflow uses its technology. Available online and completely configurable, this tool allows your teams to define which criteria (quantitative or qualitative) they want to be evaluated on. A validation process gives managers the opportunity of controlling the results of these discussions.

The collaborative element of this process enhances the involvement of the participants as well achieving buy-in to the variable pay plan.



You are looking for effective tools to design, calculate and communicate your variable pay?

Thanks to Primeum Silver service, the Incentive Manager and Incentive Designer tools are installed at your site. Primeum experts will train you in their usage.

Do you have a question about how to use and configure the software?
Primeum Silver Service will provide telephone technical support.


Do you want to take advantage of the power of the Incentive Manager suite?

Primeum Gold service provides access to all the software solutions of the suite (Incentive Manager, Incentive Designer, Incentive Tracker, Target Manager). If your teams continue to be responsible for the production (data import, calculation, reporting and infrastructure), Primeum will take charge of configuring the rules, of their evolution and functional assistance.

Do you want to focus on your day job?
Primeum Gold service offers a SaaS option whereby Primeum will guarantee the hosting of all the tools and data.


Are you thinking of outsourcing the entire management and the communication related to your variable pay?

Primeum Platinum service offers you the freedom to concentrate on your strategic activities.

Whether it be configuration updates, data importing, calculations and checking, quality assurance, communication... Primeum will take responsibility for all these activities.

Who is in control of your incentive scheme?

You are of course! We will ensure "stewardship"! Equally we will manage the infrastructure as the tool will be hosted in SaaS mode through Primeum.

Le syndrome de
Le syndrome de
  • The lottery syndrome
  • The stork syndrome
  • The parachutist syndrome
  • The pole-vaulter syndrome
  • The candle syndrome
  • The thermometer syndrome
  • The glue syndrome
  • The rowing boat syndrome
  • The envelope syndrome
  • The sponge syndrome
  • The dandelion syndrome
  • The handkerchief syndrome
  • The onion syndrome
  • The soap syndrome
  • The mayonnaise syndrome
  • The ball-and-chain syndrome
  • The knife-thrower syndrome
  • E.T. syndrome




Founded in 1994 by Pascal Beauchet under the name PBB, Primeum built its early expertise on that of its founder. In his time as Marketing Director with the Accor Group, Pascal Beauchet gained first-hand experience of the difficulties involved in managing variable pay schemes and of their failings. He also devised the firm's very first exclusive process, based on his experience in the field: Primeum's Commitment Process.

Right from the outset, Primeum was awarded a wide range of client assignments. These highlighted the need for a fully comprehensive approach to variable compensation with our clients, which is now addressed by our full range of services:


Primeum is always seeking to recruit new talent to help us continue our growth.

Our consultants are graduates from engineering and business schools with sound knowledge of applied mathematics and data processing. We are also interested in hearing from software engineers with experience of working in a Windows environment (c++, C# VS 2005) and Linux (Php, Java).

If you think you fit the bill, please contact us.


  • AstraZeneca
  • Bristol
  • Celgene
  • Ipsen
  • La Banque Postale
  • MSD
  • Pfizer
  • Roche
  • Sanofi
  • SNCF
  • Chemo
  • Neopost
  • Novo Nordisk
  • Almirall
  • Enovance
  • Givaudan
  • Lundbeck
  • Nestlé
  • Sanofi pasteur MSD
  • Vaillant group
  • SFR Business Team
  • Nocibé
  • Alcon
  • Etam
  • LFB
  • Servier
  • Wesco
  • Merck Serono
  • Expanscience
  • Mayoly Spindler
  • Gilead
  • Abbvie
  • CSL Behring
  • LSG Sky Chef
  • SMPC
  • Daiichi
  • Amgen
  • Klesia
  • Mead Jonhson
  • Boehringer
  • Genzyme
  • Swiss Life
  • Merial
  • AAG
  • Spit
  • Douglas
  • Société Générale

We like to energize our clients
When would you like to
be energised?

Jean-Marc PAILHOL,

Jean-Marc Pailhol, "Unite Distribution" director, COMEX member,
Allianz, France

"The significant workstream which Allianz France launched in 2010 to strengthen the commercial performance of its four sales teams translated for most sales teams into major changes in terms of training, management and remuneration.

It was because of this that we wanted Primeum to work with us in the complete redesign of the sales team remuneration scheme and especially its variable component. We chose the Commitment Process for all roles and teams in order to improve simultaneously the performance of sales advisers, the quality of their managers and their dedication.

Then, in order to accelerate to the implementation of the new remuneration system, we outsourced the calculation of all bonuses to Primeum.
The result is at the top end of our expectations with a level of buy-in to the new systems of between 96 and 100% and salesperson motivation in line with our strategic priorities."

Hélène GEVREY,

Hélène GEVREY, Commercial Development Effectiveness manager,
PFIZER Eucan PC Business Effectiveness

"We wanted a robust solution to enable us to automate our bonus calculation process, and equally to be able to manage the significant data volumes which our European structure is facing.

We have in fact approximately 2500 sales people just within the primary care business unit in Europe. During a transition period, the Primeum solution was implemented to meet a temporary outsourcing requirement, but it was equally capable of being re-insourced during a second phase with Primeum continuing to support our teams.

This brought us efficiency and quality benefits which allowed Pfizer Europe to be the gold standard of the group in this field."


From theory to implementation

Communicating objectives in a timely manner

In 45% of companies, salespeople believe they receive their objectives too late. This is indicative of the desire of commercial directors to calculate objectives, especially sales objectives, as accurately as possible. These calculations can turn out to be extremely time-consuming, especially when managers, or even salespeople themselves, are involved in the process of determining sales objectives.

The motivational impact of an objective lies, to a significant degree, in the quality of the calculation (Is the objective fair? Is it accurate? Sufficiently stretching without being unachievable…). But motivation is also present at the time the objective is communicated to the participant. And yet we regularly observe one to two months’ delay in determining, and especially in communicating, objectives. 

For short performance cycles (three or four months) such delays compromise the ability of management to direct how their sales team act. Fortunately, most salespeople continue to sell even without objectives, but obviously do not do so with the same involvement that we would like, and, especially, do not always do so with the products or range of services that the company would like to promote. Moreover, delayed objectives are often perceived as less legitimate (‘It took you all that time to that time to determine that?’).

But there are several ways of improving the situation:

  • Guarantee the provision of the national objective in a timely manner. For January 1 that usually does not create too much of a problem. But mid-year revisions are too often only available late with regard to the evaluation cycles of the sales teams. It is appropriate therefore to put in place a process, supported by tools, that reduce the time it takes to revise the budgets which determine sales objectives. In such an exercise, there is a strong temptation to use extremely complex models to ensure the reliability of these budgetary trends. But experience suggests that such models are not always the most reliable, even they are clearly consume significant amounts of time and effort (keeping information up-to-date, expertise, internal client buy-in…)!
  • When allocating national targets to sub-national objectives the same principle is essential: a simple and robust model will be more effective than a complex model which takes time to implement and which few people, other than those who built it, will be able to understand with all its subtleties. Thinking along the same lines, it is better to limit the number of interactions between senior management and the sales teams rather than undertaking numerous iterations (of course, the result can be more accurate with such iterations but the time taken in undertaking them ensures that operational action plans suffer!) 
  • Train the managers upstream from the exercise. Managers are the most important go-between in this critical phase of generating motivation among salespeople. They must be able to handle the most recent objections with assurance and self-confidence. Time should not be taken to know how the objective was calculated, but rather to know what commercial action plan to put in place to reach and exceed the objective. 



Merck Healthcare maintain Primeum partnership in UK

Merck Healthcare maintain Primeum partnership in UK

UK & ROI Merck affiliate selected Primeum to redesign it sales incentive plan. The objective is to better address key account management issues in the incentive compensation plan of teams in charge of promoting specialty products.


Douglas perfumery as chosen Primeum for German market

Douglas perfumery as chosen Primeum for German market

Following Nocibe acquisition by Douglas, the German affiliate decided to carry out with Primeum a project aiming at enhancing motivation of stores employees (beauty advisor, store manager and deputy store manager).


Merck reinforces its partnership with Primeum

Merck reinforces its partnership with Primeum

UK and ROI Merck affiliate has chosen Primeum to implement a new incentive compensation plan in order to support evolution of reps role toward key account managers.


European Merck Biopharma guidelines

European Merck Biopharma guidelines

Merck EMEA platform entrusted Primeum with the writing of European incentive compensation guidelines for medical representatives, key account managers and first line managers.


A target setting European workshop with Novo Nordisk

A target setting European workshop with Novo Nordisk

Primeum leaded a Workshop in Zurich for European platform of Novo Nordisk, the Danish laboratory specialised in diabetes. The topic was to give tips and recommendation for designing appropriate target setting methodologies to commercial excellence teams.


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News - 2016-09-07

Merck Healthcare maintain Primeum partnership in UK

Read the news

News - 2016-06-14

Douglas perfumery as chosen Primeum for German market

Read the news

News - 2016-05-19

Merck reinforces its partnership with Primeum

Read the news

News - 2016-05-02

European Merck Biopharma guidelines

Read the news

News - 2016-02-24

A target setting European workshop with Novo Nordisk

Read the news

The ball-and-chain syndrome

How can you turn a system that holds
you back into one that sets you free ?

Our answer

1 / 4

The handkerchief syndrome

How do you know if we can be really useful to you?

Our answer

2 / 4

The candle syndrome

How do you prove that you can't win over clients through prayer alone?

Our answer

3 / 4

The rowing boat syndrome

How do you stop your motivation
scheme leaving you high and dry?

Our answer

4 / 4


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