9Plan Objectives

This chapter contains the following:

You can model your incentive compensation plan to provide incentives for participant performance. The model is based on a group of objectives. Assessments contain questions used to score a participant's performance toward achieving objectives.

This chart shows how objectives and related assessment templates work with the components of compensation plans. Participants are assigned a compensation plan and can be assigned objectives assessments. The objectives template provides a set of weighted questions and responses that result in a performance score for the participant.

A compensation plan includes performance measures,
incentive formulas, rate tables, payment information, and objectives

Objectives Templates

Use objectives templates to restate the objectives as a set of questions and responses so the objectives can be measured. For example, you have a sales objective for salespeople to take an active role in a new product release. You can turn the actions that you want into questions, such as:

  • Have you completed the product training?

  • How many named accounts did you inform about the new product?

  • How many of your customers accepted the invitation to the product launch?

Define the set of acceptable responses and assign a score to each to represent the value of the responses in relationship to each other. The more valued the response, the higher the score. For example, a response indicating the number of named accounts contacted was less than 10 is assigned a score of zero. A response that the number of named accounts contacted was greater than 50 is assigned a high score. To measure the overall set of questions, you also assign a weight to each question. If it's critical that salespeople take the product training, you can assign a higher weight to the training-related question. Assign deployed objectives templates to compensation plans.

Performance Measures

Use the performance measure to measure the participant credits and provide input to the earnings calculation of a plan component. You can assign credit categories to both the performance measure and plan objectives. The credit category is the user-defined business category that classifies and groups participant credits to be measured by performance measures with matching credit categories. The participant credits for the objectives are the objectives assessments submitted for incentive processing. The performance assessment credits inherit the credit category from the plan and will be eligible for measuring. The eligibility is based on the matching performance measure. You can define your performance measure expression to get the credit amount or you can define assessment score goals for the performance measure and define your expression to measure the participant's assessment score attainment.

Plan Components

The plan component determines how much the participants earn and the frequency at which they will be paid for their objectives performance. You associate the performance measure with the plan component for use as input into your earnings formula. Optionally, you can assign a rate table and use the performance measure as input to the rate table and then the rate table rate as input for your earnings formula.


To calculate incentives, you assign the plan component to the plan. To define the objectives for the plan, you select the objectives template, enter the assessment period date range, and assign the credit category for the resulting assessment credit. The credit category added to the performance measure must also be assigned to the plan objectives. The plan can include multiple assessment date ranges, where each date range is assigned an objectives template. For example, you can define a yearly plan with quarterly objectives.

Objectives Assessments

When the plan is assigned to participants, objectives assessments are created for each assigned participant and assessment date range. The questions and eligible responses displayed to the participants and the performance score calculation come from the objectives template. Participant objectives assessments are reviewed by their managers and then submitted. The resulting transaction and direct credit inherit the assessment score, and inherit the credit category assigned to the objectives on the plan. The credits are now eligible for incentive calculations.

Examples of Objectives for Compensation Plans

You can model your compensation plan to provide incentives for participant performance. The incentives are based on a group of objectives. These plans are sometimes referred to as Manage by Objectives (MBO) plans. Here are just a few examples of using objectives with your plans.

Provide Incentives for a New Product Launch

You can model an objectives plan to provide incentives for your sales team to encourage their participation in launching a new product. The activities include attending product training, preparing demonstration material, and getting customers registered for a product launch event. You create an objectives template to restate the objectives as a set of weighted questions and responses. You then model a plan to measure the resulting objectives assessment score. Using a rate table, you can pay a bonus to high scoring participants.

Provide Incentives for Long Sales Cycles

Provide incentives for your sales team when the actual sale can take longer than a typical payout period. The objectives are those typical to the best practice approach to making the sale. The measurable activities include customer visits, creating business cases, delivering product demonstrations, and getting contracts reviewed by the legal department. You create an objectives template to restate the objectives as a set of weighted questions and responses. Since all of the activities can't occur simultaneously and because you want to promote continued effort throughout the long sales cycle, you define performance score goals for each assessment period. The bonus payout is based on the participant's score-to-goal attainment.

Provide Incentives to Promote Good Sales Practices

Along with their sales commission, you can provide a bonus to those salespeople who meet the highest selling standards. The objectives identified include the number of upsell deals, the number of on-site demonstrations, and the average discount amount. The higher the objectives performance assessment score is, the greater the bonus amount.

Provide Incentives by Highlighting Poor Selling Practices

Provide a bonus to those salespeople who meet the highest selling standards by pointing out what's considered poor selling activities. The objectives identified include the number of deals requiring discount approvals, the number of returns, and the number of customer service calls related to their customers. For this plan, the lower the objectives performance score, the better the sales practice and the higher the bonus value.

Provide Incentives to Nonsales Employees

Provide incentives to employees that interact with customers after the sale is made, such as field repair representatives and customer service. Define your service expectations as the set of weighted questions and responses. For example, questions and responses might include scoring the average resolution time and customer satisfaction survey results.

Promote Teamwork Using Objectives and Defining Team Credit Rules

You can model a nonmonetary objectives plan and define indirect team credits to promote teamwork. The success of one team member's objectives assessment will give the other team members indirect credit as well. Have fun by creating a dashboard to display team results.

Plan objectives are assigned to the participant when:

  • The plan is assigned to the participant, and

  • The objectives assessment start and end date range overlap with the participant plan assignment dates. When you assign participants to plans in the middle of an assessment date range, their objectives assessment start and end dates are adjusted.

A plan has quarterly objectives, with the first quarter assessment date range from January 1 through March 31. In this example:

  • Participants assigned to the plan after March 31 have no first quarter objectives assigned. The assessment start and end date range doesn't overlap with the participant plan assignment dates.

  • A participant assigned to the plan on February 7 has first quarter plan objectives with an assessment date range from February 7 through March 31.

There are three reasons why the current objectives assessment score is different from the credit amount.

  • The objectives assessment has been updated after it was submitted for incentive processing. If the updated assessment is submitted, then the original transaction and credit will be adjusted.

  • The participant manager provided an override score. When the participant manager provides an override score and justification, the override score is used as the transaction and credit amount.

  • The transaction and credit have been adjusted manually.

Objectives Assessment Templates

You can restate your objectives into measurable questions for use in assessing participant performance and providing incentives. For example, if you want to provide incentives for your sales team to participate in launching a new product, first determine the set of measurable activities. Next determine the importance of each activity and its value toward a successful product launch. Using this procedure, you can create your objectives assessment template.

Entering Assessment Template Basic Details

To create an assessment template, start by entering the basic details:

  1. Using the Compensation Plans work area, select the Manage Objectives Templates task.

  2. In the Manage Objectives Templates page, click Create.

  3. In the Manage Objectives Template Details page, enter the details:

    Field Description Example


    Enter a name for the template.

    Product Launch Objectives

    Template Type

    Select the type of template that you want to create.

    Plan Participant Objectives

    Template Set

    Select the template set.

    A template set is a reference data set that contains one or more business units (BUs). Selecting the template set ensures that the template is available for use only to those BUs that are part of this template set.

    Common Set

    Note: Selecting Common Set makes the template available for all BUs.


    Optionally, provide a description.

    Objectives for sales participation in launching new products.

  4. Add attachments to save supporting documentation.

  5. Click Next.

Configuring Ratings

Ratings group question responses in a template into different categories. The ratings display to participants as they complete their objectives assessment. There are three predefined ratings: Poor, Average, and Excellent. You can add your own ratings or modify the predefined ratings. For example, you can change the Poor rating to Keep Working.

Add a rating:

  1. Click Add Row and enter text and a description.

  2. Click Next.

To modify a rating, just replace the text in the Text field.

Entering Questions and Responses

In this step, you create questions and responses, and also set a rating for each of the question responses. The score range for ratings is derived automatically in the next step of the assessment template creation process based on the rating you set here. Questions should be carefully worded and reviewed to mitigate objectives bias when it comes to scoring objectives performance.

  1. Click Create and select Create Question Group.

    Note: All questions must be part of a question group.
  2. In the Create Question Group dialog, enter a name and description. For example, enter Customer Product Exposure with a description indicating the set of questions to measure the participant's contribution in informing customers about the new product.

  3. Click Save and Close.

  4. Click Create and select Create Question.

  5. In the Create Question dialog, enter the details:

    Field Description Example


    Enter a question that you want in the assessment template.

    How many of your accounts registered for the product launch event?

    Question Group

    Select the question group where this question belongs.

    Customer Product Exposure Question Group


    Enter the weight for this question.

    Weight determines the relative importance of a question within the assessment template. The higher the weight for a question, the more important this question is compared to the other questions in the template.

    The sum of weights for all questions in a template must be 100.

    You can also enter the weight in a later step, or edit what you entered here in a later step.


    This indicates that this question has 40% importance compared to other questions in the template.


    Optionally, provide a description.

    The launch event is virtual, but registrations are requested.

  6. Click Save and Close.

  7. In the Question Details section, select the Include Free-Form Response Option check box only if you have a question that supports a free form response. Selecting this option adds a default response in the Possible Responses section.

  8. In the Possible Responses section, click Add .

  9. Enter the details:

    Field Description


    Enter a response that the user can select for this question.


    Add the score that you want to allocate to each of these responses.

    Normalized Score

    This appears automatically once you fill in the score. The response that has the highest score gets 100%.


    Define the rating that you want to assign to each of the responses.


    Optionally, provide a description.

    Here's an example of the possible responses:

    Response Score Normalized Score Rating

    0 to 10 accounts



    Keep Working

    11 to 20 accounts




    20 to 30 accounts




    > 30 accounts




  10. Similarly, create all the questions that you want to include in this template along with the possible responses.

  11. Click Next.

Editing Question Weights

You can use this page to verify the weights that you entered for all the questions in the previous step. Check whether the weight total is 100. If not, you must update the weights to reach a total of 100. You can also use this page to edit the weights of questions.

Click Next.

Configuring Score Range Attributes

Depending on the scoring to response mapping in the questions and responses that you entered earlier, score ranges for ratings are automatically derived here. You can select the Override score ranges check box to edit the automatically derived score ranges and set different start and end scores for the ratings. You can modify the colors shown in the various score ranges. The colors display to the participants as they complete their assessment.

  1. Based on the assessment score, feedback can be displayed to the participant based on their current score. To provide feedback, enter the feedback in the Feedback field. For example, if the score is 20 and it maps to the Keep Working rating, you could enter feedback such as Marketing materials are available for you to use.

  2. Click Save and Close.

You have now completed creating your objectives assessment template. Select the Deploy action to make it eligible for plan objectives assignment.

How can I retire an objectives template?

Navigate to the Manage Objectives Templates page to search and select the template. Select the delete action to retire the template. Objectives templates with a retired status can't be added while creating or editing compensation plans. Compensation plans the template is already assigned to aren't affected.

The question weight, response score, and response rating are the assessment template components. They fit together to calculate and display the overall assessment score, rating, and feedback text.

The assessment multiplies a question weight by a response score to achieve a weighted score for an assessment template response. It adds the weighted scores for all responses together to determine the total assessment score. This score falls within a score range calculated in advance, that's also associated with a response rating and feedback text. Therefore, the score range within which the total assessment score falls, determines the rating and feedback text to display for a completed assessment.

Assessment template components flow chart

Question Weight

The question weight is the relative importance of a question within an assessment template. The template expresses it as a percentage. All of the question weights within a template must total to exactly 100. When you use an assessment template, the template multiplies a question's weight by the score of the question response to produce a weighted score for that response.

Response Score

A response score is the score that the template administrator assigns to a possible question response in the template. The template administrator sets response scores with no upper or lower bounds. The template normalizes each score to accurately score an assessment that uses the template. The template normalizes the response scores by assigning a score of 100 to the highest response score. The template then assigns all other responses a normalized score relative to that highest score.

When you use an assessment template, the template multiplies the normalized score of the question response by the question's weight to produce a weighted score for that response.

Response Rating

A response rating is:

  • The rating assigned to a possible response to a question in the template.

  • A textual qualification, such as Excellent or Poor that provides a metric other than a numeric score for qualifying the outcome of an assessment.

A response rating relates directly to a response score, and this relationship should ensure that a higher score translates to a higher rating.

Early in the template creation process, the administrator configures ratings to assign to responses. The administrator then assigns scores and ratings to responses, and the application calculates score ranges based on those entries. The application assigns each rating to a score range, and gives the administrator the opportunity to apply feedback text to the rating-score range combination.

When you use an assessment template, the template adds the weighted scores from all responses to determine the total assessment score. That score falls somewhere within the calculated score ranges. These ranges then determine which rating the template assigns to the assessment and what feedback text to display. The maximum total assessment score is 100.

You can implement assessment templates to let salespeople analyze the health of a business object, such as a lead or an opportunity, and suggest appropriate next steps based on its diagnosis. To best plan and create assessment templates, you should consider the following points:

  • Ratings

  • Questions, question groups, and question weights

  • Responses and scores

  • Associated task templates


A rating is a textual qualification, such as Excellent. There are three delivered ratings in the assessment template: Excellent, Average, and Poor. Ratings provide a metric other than a numeric score to qualify the outcome of an assessment. Ratings are created at the beginning of the assessment template creation process. They're later applied to possible responses to questions in the template, which associates each rating with a score. Ratings display an appropriate feedback based on the completed assessment score once you submit an assessment. When setting up ratings and applying them to possible responses, remember that ratings and their associated feedback text will eventually display as part of the overall assessed health of a business object.

Questions, Question Groups, and Question Weights

Questions are the main components of an assessment template. They're written to help in systematically determining the health of a business object, and are grouped into logical collections called Question Groups. Each question in the template is assigned a question weight. Question weight is expressed as a percentage, which is the relative importance of the question within the template. When you use an assessment template to perform an assessment, a question's weight is multiplied by the normalized response score given for the question to produce a weighted score for that question.

When setting up questions, question groups, and question weights, you must carefully analyze which factors determine the health of a particular business object (like a lead or an opportunity) in your organization. Use those factors to create your question groups; and then write three to five questions per group that are weighted according to your analysis. There's no limit to the number of questions that can be in a question group, but each question group must have at least one question.

Responses and Scores

Responses are attached to questions in the template. Each question should have at least two responses, unless it's a free-form only question. More than one response can be tied to the same rating. However, between all of its responses, each question should accommodate at least two ratings, unless it's a free-form only question. For example, if your ratings are Excellent, Average, or Poor, for each question you can include two responses that correspond to at least one of those ratings, such as average. There must be enough responses to cover at least two of the ratings, such as Excellent and Average. You assign a score to each response for a question, and the application normalizes the score based on a standard scoring scale.

When an assessment template is used to perform an assessment, a question's weight is multiplied by the normalized score of the response given for the question to produce a weighted score for that response. When adding responses to questions, ensure that the scores and ratings you assign to each response correlate. In other words, the higher the score you assign to the response, the higher the rating should be so that you have a strong quantitative relationship between the two. Also note that you can allow free-form responses for one or more questions in the template, but free-form responses are never scored.

Associated Task Templates

A task template is an instruction to generate a group of related activities. You can associate task templates with an assessment template to recommend tasks that should be performed after an assessment has been done for a business object. When you associate task templates with an assessment template, you can indicate a score range for each task template. Based on the total score of any assessment that uses your template, one or more task templates will be recommended as follow-up activities. For a task template to be available to associate with an assessment template, it must be assigned to the same business object type as that assigned to the assessment template, and it must have a subtype of Assessment. Ensure that you have set up task templates correctly before associating them to assessment templates.

A score of 0 is assigned for free-form responses.

A free-form response option has no effect on the overall assessment score. The free-form response offers the opportunity to enter a textual response to a question that doesn't conform to any of the prepopulated responses provided by the assessment template.

A question group is a logical grouping of questions within an assessment template, and is strictly used as a category header for those questions. By naming the question group carefully, you can provide the template user an idea of the type of questions to expect in each group.

This step lists all of the assessment template questions in one place, and provides you with the opportunity to edit weights as necessary to ensure that the sum of all weights totals 100.

This topic explains the status codes for an assessment template. Throughout the life of an assessment template, you can assign different status codes.

These status codes control the actions you're allowed to make against an assessment template.

  • In Progress

  • Active

  • Retired

In Progress

This is the initial status of an assessment template. In this status, you can edit any part of the template. This is the only status in which you can delete a template. If the template isn't deleted, it moves to the Active status.


This is the status assigned when the assessment template is deployed for general usage. In this status, you can make only minor textual edits to it, including, but not limited to, template description, question text correction, question sequencing change, response description, and score range feedback. From this status, you can move the template to Retired, but you can't delete it.


When an assessment template is in this status, it's no longer available for general usage. You can't edit any part of it, and you can't move it to any other status. However, it can still be copied. Active templates that are deleted revert to this retired status.

You calculate the score range for an assessment template using the question weights and the ratings and scores assigned to the possible responses for all the questions in the template. This topic explains how the score range is calculated and the components that are used in the calculation, so that you can make the best decision regarding the feedback text to apply to each score range. In addition to the automatic score range calculation, you can manually adjust the score range by using the administration functionality.

Settings That Affect Score Range

In order for the application to calculate the assessment template score range, you must:

  • Apply weights to all template questions.

  • Configure ratings and apply them to possible responses for all template questions.

  • Apply a score to each of the possible responses for all template questions.

How Score Range Is Calculated

The score ranges for each rating in an assessment template are determined using the lowest and the highest weighted response scores for each question. So for each rating score range, the lower end of the range starts where the previous rating range ended, and the higher end of the range is the sum of the highest weighted scores that can be attained for that rating.

The following table displays a simple example of the components used in the score range calculation.

Question (Weight) Response (Normalized Score) Weighted Score Rating

What is the customer win? (20%)

Lower Operating Cost (100)



What is the customer win? (20%)

Higher Revenues (80)



What is the customer win? (20%)

Other (53)



What is the customer win? (20%)

Don't Know (27)



What is our win? (80%)

Reference (60)



What is our win? (80%)

Resale (50)



What is our win? (80%)

Partnership (100)



The following table displays the score range calculation based on the components from the previous table.

Rating Score Range


65 - 100


46 - 64


0 - 45

If a template administrator doesn't use a particular rating while assigning ratings to possible responses, this could result in improper score range calculations. To counteract this problem, the score range calculation uses a built-in correction algorithm to ensure proper score ranges. The correction algorithm works like this: For a question where a particular rating is skipped, the low score for the skipped rating is calculated to be equal to the high score of the next lower ranked rating. The high score for the skipped rating is calculated to be equal to the low score of the next higher ranked rating.

Using the ratings displayed in the tables in this topic, if the rating Average isn't used for a question's possible responses, the score range calculation assigns a low score to Average for that question that's equal to the high score of Poor for that question. It also assigns a high score to Average for that question that's equal to the low score of Excellent for that question. This ensures that the overall template score range for Average is calculated to fall between the score ranges for Poor and Excellent.