Moneyball movie image

Reverse Engineering Your Sales Quota

Tips for hitting your next sales quota

Okay, your new to sales (or an old veteran) and in talking with you manager you learn about this thing called a “quota”.  Your manager thinks highly of your abilities and tells you he expects you to sell $XXX,XXX,XXX in new business revenue for the year and then says “I know you can do it!”.  Does this sound familiar?  Many times in sales we are told where we need to be, but often we are not told how to get there.
Ever see the movie “Moneyball” with Brad Pitt?  Like baseball, sales is a numbers game!  Over the years, I have learned the best way to understand how to reach (and go way beyond) your quota is through a little reverse engineering.  The following are the steps I take when trying to build my game plan on how to destroy a quota:

Start with the End in Mind

In any goal setting workshop you go to, you will eventually hear the phrase “start with the end in mind”.  In a nutshell this means start with the end result you are looking to achieve and work backwards.  So start with your quota and walk it back.

Know Your KPI (What Dials can be adjusted?)

Now that the end result is clear, you need to start figuring out what your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are.  KPIs can be stages in your sales process (from cold call to close).  Once you identify these key steps you need to assign percentages to them.  An example would be if I close 1 out of every 3 proposals issued, I would have a 33% close rate from proposal issued to closed won.  What does it take to get to the proposal issued stage? A demo, a discovery conversation, etc.?  How many of those do you need to get a proposal out… what’s your percentage?  You need to map out each step in the process and your percentages to figure out your mile markers.

For a sample worksheet, click on the following link: Sales Quota Calculator

Execute and Adjust

Now that your steps to closing a sale identified, it is time execute on your plan.  You need to make the calls, hold your discovery calls, conduct your demos, and issue your proposals.  Continue your process but as you are doing so, take note of your metrics.  Are you on target or way off the mark?  If you are missing your percentages, you will need to adjust your model to get a crystal clear picture of your road map to exceeding your quota.

Hard Work + Time Management = Sales Success

After working your plan for a while, you will have a very firm understanding of what you need to do to be successful.  Now it’s time to work!  Many sales professionals (myself included) have a tremendous work ethic but find themselves falling prey to distractions.  Like a dog seeing a squirrel run through the yard, the moment an email hits the inbox, my attention span can quickly get diverted.  If you are like me, use the following link to read up on tricks I have learned and studied.

Time Management in sales

Think Outside the Box and Ask for Help

If you have a firm plan in place, you are working your butt off and are distraction-free but still can’t hit your quota it may be time to either think outside the box and/or ask for help.  Many sales professionals stay confined to what they have traditionally always done before.  An example is if you are responsible for finding your own leads in a consultative sale.  Many sales professionals spend hours trolling LinkedIn for their “ideal” prospects.  More creative reps will invest in tools like which extract lists of perfect candidates into your CRM or Excel in a matter of minutes.

If your creative juices not following ask your manager!  That is what they are there for, but like I always say “come with your problem and a couple of possible solutions”.  Together the two of you should be able to figure out a way for you to crush your quota.

Happy Selling!