Incentive and Commission Structures in Cybersecurity

Typical structures and caveats for incentives & commissions in the Cybersecurity Industry


The Cybersecurity industry, known for its rapid evolution and critical role in protecting digital assets, presents unique challenges and opportunities in structuring incentive and commission plans for sales teams. Understanding the various components that make up these plans is essential for companies looking to attract, motivate, and retain top talent in this highly competitive field. This blog post delves into the typical components of incentive compensation in the Cybersecurity industry, offering insights into their nuances and the considerations companies must take into account.

Typical Components in the Cybersecurity Industry Incentive Compensation

Incentive and commission plans in the Cybersecurity industry are designed to reward sales professionals for their contributions to the company’s growth and success. These plans often comprise several key components, each tailored to the industry’s specific needs and sales dynamics

Annual Contract Value

Contract Renewal Commissions

Professional Services Revenue

Annual Contract Value

Annual Contract Value (ACV) is a cornerstone metric in the Cybersecurity sales domain, reflecting the value of contract-based transactions normalized to a yearly amount.

The standard formula involves dividing the total contract value by the contract length (in months) and then multiplying by 12 to annualize the value. This method ensures a consistent and fair approach to commissioning sales of varying contract durations

Only new contracts are considered for New ACV Commissions, encouraging sales personnel to expand the customer base.

Single Transaction Maximums are set to avoid disproportionately large commissions on mega deals, ensuring fairness and balance across the sales team

Certain products or revenue lines, such as manuals/documentation, currency conversion windfalls, sales through OEMs/resellers, pass-through cloud costs, and expense offset costs, are typically excluded to maintain focus on the core product offerings.

Provisions for clawback are included to account for contract cancellations or non-payments within specified periods, safeguarding the company’s financial interests.

The structure allows for shared credit on orders, particularly in scenarios involving off-territory sales, albeit with strict approval processes and without quota retirement benefits.

Contract Renewal

Renewals play a vital role in sustaining long-term revenue streams in the Cybersecurity industry. The incentive structure for contract renewals often includes:

New licenses included in contract renewals are regarded as New ACV, incentivizing sales personnel to not only retain customers but also expand account value

Commissions on renewals are contingent upon the product being active, emphasizing the importance of ongoing customer engagement and product utilization.

Additional incentives for upselling or cross-selling during the renewal process encourage sales representatives to continuously seek opportunities for account growth.

Professional Services

With the increasing complexity of Cybersecurity solutions, professional services constitute a significant portion of the revenue. The commission plan for professional services is characterized by:

A minimum billable rate per hour is enforced to ensure that the value of professional services is accurately reflected in commissions.

Non-professional services, such as education and training, are typically excluded from commission calculations to maintain a focus on high-value service offerings.

Commissions on professional services are contingent upon receipt of payment from the customer, aligning sales incentives with cash flow.


The incentive and commission structures in the Cybersecurity industry are multifaceted, reflecting the complex nature of the sales process in this sector. By understanding and carefully designing each component of the incentive plan, companies can effectively motivate their sales teams, align sales activities with business objectives, and drive sustainable growth in the fast-paced Cybersecurity market.