Here at Varicent, we’re often asked by our customers if our own sales teams feel the pressure, or “thrill” of meeting sales quotas. The answer is that yes, sometimes there is a challenging day, week, or month when trying to hit sales goals and targets. And it’s this very insight and feedback from the frontline that’s allowed us to develop and provide smart, best-in-class sales quota software for clients, old and new. This blog not only covers what to look for when in the market for that sales quota management software but includes some invaluable, strategic hacks for knocking those sales quotas out of the park every time.
What are Sales Quotas?
Here’s a quick reminder of what we mean by sales quotas, just to set the scene and to differentiate from similar terms, such as sales goals. A sales quota is a financial or monetary target provided to either/and individuals or teams which needs to be met within a given amount of time. This is normally no less than a month or quarter but can be up to a full year. These sales quotas are often directives from the top down in management and leadership, generally, align with KPIs and objectives and when achieved, should ideally come with a reward, such as a bonus, commission, or other incentives. Sales quotas are also very much interlinked with territory management, as each area and territory contain these potential leads that make up a sales quota.
Why are Sales Quotas (Sometimes) Scary?
We’re not going to linger too long on this as a) the intention is not to frighten off readers, and b) it’s usually a poorly structured or ill-conceived sales quota that makes it scary, and this blog has been written to avoid all of that.
The main reasons why some sales quotas cause sales teams anxiety are:
- Unreasonable targets and expectations: If you’re just plucking a big number out of the air without backing this up with analytics or research, you’re sitting your salespeople up for failure. Just telling them to “sell more” in the run-up to the end of a financial year or quarter defies logic and ignores rational thinking. And if your sales team is pretty much working on a commission-only basis, they’ll be heading for burnout in no time (see bullet point three).
- No connection with the sales pipeline or product strategy: As much as a great sales executive loves to close a deal, they also respect the power of process. A well-thought-out sales quota opens the flow of the sales pipeline from stage to stage and the product and marketing strategy provides context and an anchor. Take this away, and your sales quota plus the people steering it will be rudderless.
- Lack of support, resources, and trust: When you’re out in a big sales field, that can be a whole lot of crops to harvest, especially if alone and armed with no more than a pair of nail scissors. While physically posting a sales executive into the wilderness has become rarer, especially in the age of remote working, the anxiety of tending to a big area is no less of an issue. If there is the added issue (real or imaginary) that somehow sales quota distribution is somewhat unfair and unbalanced, even your most seasoned sales executive may likely struggle with sales quota stress.
Top Tips for Setting Successful Sales Quotas
1. Everyone Understands the Model
In the sales arena, in between all the acronyms and jargon, just to add to the possible confusion, there’s also a wide range of sales quotas that can be applied. There’s volume-based, profit, and activity, which allows for factors such as the number of calls and emails, to name but three. The critical thing here is applying the right model and making sure everyone involved understands and buys into it. This is the first of many “ticks” on the checklist for investing in a sale quota software solution. Even before you decide which sales quota model you’re going to use, by becoming familiar with the software you can run “what if” scenarios that can inform this decision. Ahead of this, our main advice is that the more straightforward the sales quota method is, the better for everyone. Keep it as simple as possible and your sales teams are more likely to thrive.
Find out more about sales quota essential elements in this article penned by our very own Vice President of Industrial Solutions, Anshul Gupta.
2. Stay Organized and Consistent
Start as you mean to go on when setting a sales quota model and take a methodological, “tidy” approach. Anxiety and sales quota attainment failure is often caused by a lack of clarity and a messy outlook from management where the wider sales goals are unclear. By using a universal sales quota software solution such as the one we offer at Varicent, you’re stepping away from multiple systems and spreadsheets that are prone to user error and sending out a unified message.
3. Keep Tracking Your Goals
Okay, we did begin this blog by stating that sales quotas and sales targets were not the same things, but quotas do consist of a set of goals, so this tip is important. Sales quota failure is often down to someone (or many people) taking their eye off the target, especially if it’s a moving target. Nobody wants to live a sales life of having to run in order just to keep up, so it’s vital to agree on the sales quota goals and stick to them. That way territory management becomes so much simpler, and sales teams remain focused on what matters. We can only reinforce the importance of sales quota software here. Having immediate access and visibility of customized dashboards and charts provides a real-time and accurate picture of what those goals are and how close you are to reaching them.
4. Keep on Keeping on
While a decent sales quota model and software solution should prevent sales executives and teams from getting caught up in a cycle of anxiety, it should also ensure there is no room for complacency or a “job done, down tools” mentality. Even if a sales quota is met, there should be scope and reward for continuing that line of achievement. We’d recommend that your sales quota software can expand with a post-target, end-of-sales pipeline environment, so there is an ongoing incentive for the sales team to live by that “always be prospecting” mentality.
5. Revisit, Revise, Reinvent
When you do reach the end of life for a sales quota cycle, have the courage, and take the time to analyze both success and failure with an objective mindset. Solid software reporting means that you’re working with accurate information and can use this to hone and shape the next sales quota strategy. And while there are tried and tested sales quota models for just about any situation, be bold in your approach, engage with the people out there doing the selling and try new things. Whether that’s trying out a team quota to see if it brings in more results and revenue than an individual one, or taking time out with the sales team to build confidence and self-esteem, this can all be part of your sales quota strategy and measured with the right software solution.
Discover more about the Varicent solution by arranging a demo of our transformative sales quota management software today.