If your organization's sales quotas are based on past sales, forecasting, and growth targets that can realistically be met, your sales reps have few reasons for not hitting quota and what reasons there are can be solved. The key is uncovering the reasons that your sales reps are not hitting quota so that you can take corrective action to close the difference between quota and results as quickly as possible. Following you will find three common reasons for sales reps not hitting quota that are frequently behind quota shortfalls.
1. Your Sales Reps Need Coaching on Sales Cycle Management
Sales cycle management is just as important as time management if you want to avoid your sales reps not hitting quota. Whereas time management is the practice of using available time to its maximum potential, sales cycle management is the practice of minimizing the sales cycle to the shortest timeline possible with the highest chance of success. Sales reps who are not hitting quota will often have numerous promising deals in the pipeline, but often these deals could have been closed before the quota was missed. Help your sales reps understand how poor sales cycle management can lead to not hitting quota. Improve sales cycle management habits by:
- Coaching your sales reps to use the tools at their disposal for managing leads, prospects, and clients so that sales cycle timelines can be projected accurately.
- Training your sales reps on ways to move the sales cycle forward and reduce prospects' instincts to delay important decisions.
- Encouraging your sales reps to build time cycle commitments into the sales cycle so that prospect buying timelines do not stretch.
2. Quotas Could Be Better Aligned to Individual Sales Rep Performance
A surprising number of organizations base quota by dividing projected sales by the number of sales people on staff, and are surprised to find sales reps not hitting quota. As a sales manager or executive you know that all sales reps do not contribute equally, so why should the quota be divided equally? Doing so not only can set average performers up for failure, but can give others performance rewards for performance that is actually below their ability. Make sure that your quotas are working for you and reduce the number of sales reps not hitting quota by:
- Using percentage based allotments to determine each sales rep's share of quota. Be sure to periodically adjust quotas as sales reps improve to keep performance incentives in line with actual performance.
- Consider deploying tiered performance incentives so that sales reps who are not hitting quota have incentive to improve, and sales reps who meet or exceed quota are rewarded in a way that corresponds with their contributions.
- Make sure that each sales rep on your team understands the compensation structure and how not hitting quota impacts individual and sales team incentives.
3. Sales Reps Need Assistance Utilizing Leads
Not hitting quota is often caused by breakdowns in the lead and follow up pipeline. Sales reps may be receiving high quality warm inbound leads, but if these are not followed up in a timely fashion, they may be lost. If sales reps are regularly missing quotas, sales managers and executives should analyze the customer relationship management data available to determine how and when lead activity is being executed. Make sure that sales reps are managing their time effectively enough to maximize lead potential and are performing pre-call planning and research to convert leads into prospects and ultimately into customers so that not hitting quota becomes an issue of the past.