By Dan Perry, Sales Benchmark Index (SBI)
Last year you got your quota in mid-February. This caused mass confusion, frustration and demotivation on your sales team. It was much higher than you planned. It resulted in a poor start in the first quarter. And you are still feeling this pain deep in the fourth quarter. Everyone wants to know the quota from corporate before Day 1 of the Year. Sales leaders want to start strong in the first quarter. Yet most companies actually ‘issue’ their sales quota sometime in the first quarter. It happened last year. Most likely it will happen again this year.
Turn to the Fill the Gap Quota Guide to be prepared. Get it here along with over 90+ tools by registering for our research tour. This guide will help you:
- Understand what it takes to make up the gap
- 5 Non-negotiable actions needed to get a quick start in the first quarter
- Execution best practices so you actually achieve your plan
There are five non-negotiable actions to take when you receive the delayed number. These steps will help you fill any gap not planned. Flexibility is the key to making the number:
1. Don’t Panic
The number is always higher than you thought it would be. Make sure you understand how it will affect your team’s managers and sales reps. For example, you are still recovering from the slow first quarter start this year. Getting your New Year quota higher and later then you expected screwed you up. This year think about how you can assign the extra quota. Answer these questions:
- Do you need Herculean efforts to achieve it?
- Do you have at least 3x quota in the pipeline?
- Do you have to increase your demand generation efforts to get new leads?
- Do you have enough sales people to cover the new quota?
These are all questions you must answer quickly to make the number. Set up a planning session with your sales managers immediately. Brainstorm on how you are going to make this new number. Or plan how you are going to hit the increase from the original number. Complete the questions and then turn to Step 2.
2. Reduce to the Ridiculous
Break the number down with the answers to Step 1’s questions. You need to now answer a different set of questions:
- How many big deals must you sell by quarter end?
- How will you stimulate demand?
- How can you build up to 3x quota in your pipeline?
- How many actual opportunities by sales person is that?
- What/How do I train my sales people to generate more demand?
- How many appointments does each sales rep need to generate?
- What do my Sales Managers need to do to make sure this happen?
Answers to these and other questions get into the tactics of the strategy developed. Tactics make the strategy come to life. Operationalize these actions by now completing Step 3.
3. Create and Execute to a Daily and Weekly Plan
This is the most important step. It requires documenting the daily and weekly actions of everyone. Sales Managers and Reps need to have the first 30-60 days focused on actions. Actions that generate revenue. Make sure their schedules include:
- Daily demand generation activities. It applies to new logos and cross-sell/up-sell to existing customers. Everyone must work on generating lead daily.
- Weekly deal strategy reviews. These are accomplished either through one on ones or in strategy sessions. They examine the opportunity through the customer’s buying process lens. They are critical to advancing sales.
- Weekly training sessions. Typically these are done in the sales meetings. Staying current with the buyer is critical. Diving specific on the how the customer is buying will drive quicker/larger sales.
- Embrace more effective methods. New ways to accomplish the tactical plan actions is critical for immediate success. For example:
- Social prospecting increases the percentage of decision maker’s appt. by 3.6x.
- Sales processes that are mapped to a buying process shorten the sales cycle by 20%.
- Improving on new ‘A’ player competencies help shorten ramp to productivity over 30%. Critical if you need to hire new sales people to hit quota.
Get prepared now to receive the New Year number mid-first quarter. Plan now to implement the 5 non-negotiable actions in sequence. The success of you hitting this new late-received quota number depends on execution. After 30 days iterate the plan as you build momentum. Get everyone laser focused on one thing: Actions that drive revenue. If you don’t, chances are you will miss your quota for next year.