Some companies go to the extreme when managing salespeople to quota. It has become an obsession. For those poor souls who work for these types of companies, we all know the inevitable result: Micromanagement. No salesperson likes to be micromanaged. For that matter, few Sales Managers like to micromanage their salespeople. It usually happens because of the culture of the company or how the Sales Manager grew up in the industry. It's really not important why it happens. What matters is that you hit your quota (monthly, quarterly, annually) and you put yourself in a position of success.
Here's some helpful tips (some are obvious) that can get the "monkey off your back," and hit your quota:
- Figure out early how to get there. This one seems pretty straightforward, but for every type of company, there is a typical formula for a salesperson to hit quota. Your job is to talk to other successful salespeople and get them to reveal the secret. You may get different answers (which is good). Sort through the mess, overlay your personality and selling style and come up with the formula.
- It's hard to get to quota with hundreds of transactions. It's easier to do it in chunks. Let's say you have to sell $1M of stuff to hit your quota. Most successful salespeople will break that $1M down into reasonable, sellable pieces. For example, one way to get to the number is to sell one big deal (say for $500K), two to three medium deals (say $150K each), and then 15-20 smaller deals. Believe me, if you don't plan this out and revisit this throughout the year, you can get caught up in the details of selling and before you know it, you missed the target.
- Work smarter that you are working today. I say it like this because everyone is at a different place in their career when it comes to efficiency, tools and selling patterns. Therefore, wherever you are today, figure out a way to do it smarter tomorrow. Maybe it's leveraging a new tool, writing down goals, changing a small piece of your strategy. Smarter gets you to quota faster!
- Pipeline development (or Sales Activity in general) is the raw materials that sales are made of. If you run out of raw materials, you're screwed. NEVER run out of raw materials. This means that you have to feed the pipeline, go out on sales calls, do proposals, meet with customers, perform demos, etc. to feed the never ending raw material engine. Don't let yourself get caught in a rat-hole on some detail. Stay big-picture. Never run out of raw materials.
- Set your own goals and targets that are GREATER than your quota. Some companies do this already, but this does not matter. If you need $1M, set your goals at $1.25M. Setting the bar higher gives you several advantages: First, it's a buffer. Giving yourself a buffer is a good idea. Second, you will likely be financially rewarded when you over-achieve.
Here's a bonus tip: When it comes to forecasting - be honest with yourself and your managers. Don't load-up with pipeline with unqualified deals and don't over-promise bookings that really won't happen. First, this let's you change your activity behavior if things don't look good. Second, it helps build rapport with management.
NEVER RUN OUT OF RAW MATERIALS.