10 things every director and VP should negotiate into their compensation package 💰💰

Most directors and VPs don’t know how to negotiate senior compensation effectively. Here are the top 10 areas where they leave a lot on the table.

1. Minimum 20-30% bonus with accelerators. Your bonus should be upwards of 30% of OTE otherwise it’s not as motivating or meaningful as it could be. It should also include the ability to earn more for over-performing — aka accelerators. Accelerators are incremental incentives you earn for overachieving. Example: a salesperson with $100k quota has a 3% commission rate, but for sales over $100k they get an accelerator of 4%.

2. 6-12 months severance. Standard severance is 3 months of base pay for non-cause termination, but try to get at least 6 months. Additionally, negotiate a prorated amount so you don’t lose out if you leave right before the end of a bonus period.

3. Ability to consult & advise. Strike any language in the employment agreement that limits your ability to consult or advise on the side.

4. Headcount for senior hires. Have them agree, even verbally, that you’ll likely need to hire other senior leaders on your team who might come close to your level of compensation. Helpful for setting expectations & getting you a bump down the road.

5. Business-class travel. If you can’t get it for all flights, try for flights over X hours.

6. Membership fees. Get company to cover the fees for your professional membership orgs (Pavilion, PMA, etc.). Position as professional development and good for brand.

7. Milestone payments. These are essentially bounties for hitting big milestones associated with a role. For example, a VP of Finance might negotiate a $100k lump-sum payment contingent on helping the company IPO. There are lots of clever structures and details to get right, so refer to my Sr. Compensation Bible to avoid messing it up.

8. 2-3x multiple of base:equity. For every $1 of salary you should have $2-3 of unvested stock options or RSUs (min 1:1). Mostly applicable for later-stage companies. For early stage companies, follow percentage-ownership benchmarks in Sr. Compensation Bible.

9. Extended exercise periods. Ask for a longer period to exercise your vested equity if/when you should leave. Some crazy people are starting to shoot for 10 years, but even a couple years would be a win. Easier in early stage companies for more senior leaders.

10. Time-based increases. Pre-negotiated comp or title increases if you hit targets in certain timeframes. Especially good when you’re gunning for more senior role.

Of course, knowing all this and being able to actually negotiate it are two different things.

To learn how to actually negotiate this stuff, grab a copy of my Senior Compensation Bible. It explains how to secure everything above in detail, complete with talk tracks, benchmarks, and real-world examples — plus, 20 perks you’ll wish you negotiated sooner.

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About Me

I’m Devon Hennig, the creator behind the popular TikTok channel Boardroom Confidential. For 10+ years I was an exec at both private and public companies, and when I started, I had no idea how to negotiate senior job offers. Now I’ve written the Senior Compensation Bible to help others avoid my mistakes and maximize their compensation.