If you’ve structured your variable compensation plans appropriately, missing quota means you didn’t overpay for poor performance in 2011. Ah, the silver lining to an otherwise forgettable year.


If you are missing your year to date quota heading into Q4, you have threesales compensation planning quota options:


  1. Hope someone on your team closes a monster deal to save your year
  2. Start planning for next year
  3. Do nothing


The average tenure of a sales leader in corporate America is 19 months. If you choose options 1 or 3 above, it will become evident to your executive leadership and you will most likely be fired. CEOs are becoming more like professional sports team owners. Win now or we’ll replace you.


If you choose option 2, what are the things you can do now so you will hit your number in 2012?


Review Your Lead Generation Results

It’s one thing to generate a lot of leads. It’s an entirely different proposition to generate quality leads. Do you know if you are filling the funnel with junk or if qualified opportunities are going to your sales team? Not sure how to answer this question? Take a listen to our most recent webinar B2B Lead Generation – The Complete Roadmap to Success No One is Talking AboutLead gen is a powerful tool when used properly. Take the next 90 days to get yours back on track so you hit the ground running in 2012.


Review Your 2011 Forecast and Expectations

What process did you use to set expectations for 2011? Was it a mixture of bottoms up and top down? Did you take the 2010 number, add 20% and spread it around across the territories? Here’s a best practice: If you can sit in front of a sales rep and describe to him or her how you objectively determined their quota for the year using analysis and metrics, you are on the right track. If you went for the peanut butter spread approach, you’ve failed your team. There are over 100 days left this year. Assess your compensation and quota plans now so you are aligned going into 2012.


Conduct Your Talent Reviews Now

Maybe your lead generation program is pumping out qualified leads like crazy. Even better, you’ve taken a best practice approach to forecasting and setting quota expectations in 2011. What about the team? Has the profile of the job changed? Are the right people in the right roles? Are your best people calling on your best accounts? The most often overlooked question: Are your sales managers leading or managing? It may be time to have some authentic conversations. Are you prepared? Best practice: Get your annual reviews done now. If performance plans are required, start them in Q4 rather than waiting until January. You’ve just given yourself an extra 3 months towards hitting the goal next year.


Hope is not a strategy.  If missing quota in 2011 is keeping you up at night, take advantage of the next 100 days and plan for success in 2012. Sales compensation and quota setting require more attention than you gave them last year.


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