4 strategies for attaining sales quotas with regularity.

Half of all sales reps miss their quotas. Regardless of which half the reps on your team represent, there is always a healthy amount of anxiety among sales people. Is the deal going to close? Will I hit my number? How will my incentive plan be impacted?


This is the great panic-euphoria continuum. The emotions of a quota-bearing individual change quarter by quarter, week by week and hour by hour. With these changes come the highest of highs (euphoria) and the lowest of lows (panic). The separation between the two is a fine line.


quota panic


Great sales leaders have decided the status quo is no longer acceptable when it comes to missing quotas. Statements like “I can’t” have been replaced by “I am.” Their teams are consistently hitting their quotas in a predictable way. As a guide to the discussion, download the “How to Make Your Number in 2018” Workbook. Turn to the Quota Setting phase. 


Looking for a way to change the status quo with your team? Try these four strategies:


  1. Account Planning – Does your team have a formal account plan for each of their key accounts? Is it a stagnant document that gets looked at once a quarter, or is it being used to drive decisions about the account? Having a strategic plan that includes a tactical plan, accountabilities and time lines is crucial for success. The mistake many sales reps make is living for the “yes” or “no” on a single opportunity. A best practice is viewing the account globally and identifying multiple solutions to bring to the customer. Don’t wait for a final decision. Set key objectives and milestones to achieve along the way so getting to “yes” is the easy part.


  2. Pipeline Review – What is your pipeline review like with your team? Are the discussions centered around “how it’s going,” or are you asking tough questions about strategic sales activities, customer input and inspecting job aids (see account plan)? “A” player sales reps can answer the difficult questions. They aren’t afraid to have an authentic conversation about account status and can articulate a tactical plan for success. What is the question you aren’t asking and the rep isn’t answering? Ask it on Monday.


  3. Moment of Truth – When was the last time you spent a day in the field with a rep? Your ability to validate points 1 & 2 with your own eyes will bring incredible clarity to the situation. So many executives sit in their offices and drive sales from the Ivory Towers. Take the opportunity to see what really happens in the field when your team is interacting with your customers. Matt Sharrers recently wrote “…new capability acquisition is the best predictor of future income.” Providing hands on coaching and feedback is a critical component of quota attainment and the future success of your team.


  4. Celebrate Failure – When you lose, do you know why? Conducting win/loss analysis provides valuable insight into how you are viewed in the marketplace. Is it your product? Your sales process? The rep? Everybody agrees we learn more in life from our failures than our successes. Why are we so afraid to learn from failing in sales? If you can only do one of the four strategies proposed, this is it.


Sarah Nesland is a VP of Sales who executes this to perfection. She took over a team that had 50% of reps hitting quota. Initially, she did not sleep well at night. Upon implementing these 4 strategies, her team strengthened the pipeline by working on qualified and attainable opportunities. When 83% of the team made quota after 3 quarters, she had her best night of sleep all year.


To go deeper in determining quota setting, leverage the “How to Make Your Number in 2018” Workbook. Also, here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate yourself against SBI’s sales and marketing strategy to find out if:

  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job


If you would like to spend some time with me on this subject, come see me in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio increases the probability of making your number because the sessions are built on the proven strength and stability of SBI, the industry leader in B2B sales and marketing.


The Studio Executive Briefing Center





Scott Gruher

Orchestrates and designs the perfect project strategy, one engagement at a time, to ensure that every SBI client makes their number.

Scott joined SBI in 2010 with years of hands-on experience in sales leadership and enterprise selling. Since his arrival, he has helped dozens of organizations dramatically accelerate growth, from Fortune 10 organizations like Phillips 66 to fast-growing cloud service organizations like InfusionSoft. Scott specializes in cross-functional alignment. He helps leaders align around the growth goal and design the right processes to bring the strategy to life. His unique combination of real world experience and a pragmatic approach to problem solving have made him one of SBI’s most demanded resources.

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