What Can a Salesperson Really Do To Save Their Quota?
Do you have a plan to achieve your sales quota? Probably! But unfortunately, the plan you have developed to meet your sales quota rarely plays out the way you intend. There are always unexpected events that happen, placing your quota in jeopardy. This 4-step action plan will help save your quota, even when you are staring failure directly in the eyes.
Step 1: Prepare for the bad news and eliminate the surprise element
Expect that your quota will be vulnerable at some point during the year. Build a quota recovery plan, or a QRP, at the beginning of the year. When you prepare “Plan A” to reach your target, be prepared to need a “Plan B.” Winning strategies are often achieved as a result of responding to unforeseen events. If you spend 50 hours on your quota plan, spend another 50 hours on a backup plan for when the original plan falls short. Your original plan will likely fall through, but you’ll have a backup plan ready to go.
Include these action elements in your QRP:
- Go after your client “B List,” or secondary targets not included in Plan A
- Ask for marketing help, like special promotions or deferred payment plans
- Get referrals from “A-List” clients
- Target high potential win back clients
Step 2: Track your sales meticulously
You need to know when you hit the tipping point that will inevitably lead to a shortfall in results. Without this information, it’s difficult to know when to utilize your recovery plan. That’s what makes tracking so important. Track monthly and year-to-date sales against your objectives, and predict year-end sales based on year-to-date results. Based on your calculations, you will know if you are likely to be under or over your goals for the year.
You will need a few months of actual results before the year-end outlook calculation is meaningful, though. Results from the first 30 days are unlikely to give an accurate projection for the end of the year. I recommend you start the tracking process in month 4 of your plan.
Step 3: Do not panic when it appears results will fall short of your quota
Start executing your recovery plan as soon as you notice a downward trend. Don’t stick to your original quota plan if you suspect it isn’t working. This can be difficult for people who want to hang onto their original plan. Trust the tracking data you have, and act on it with confidence. Don’t doubt yourself – or the numbers. The sooner you get on the track to recovery, the more months of recovery time you have.
Step 4: Position next year for success
You won’t win every year. Successful salespeople are long-term winners. If you are staring out defeated for the current year, accept it. Focus your energy on doing the things with high value, and A-List clients that will allow sales growth. Look at the loss as an opportunity to “hit the bricks running” next year with a high sales run rate.
Successful quota achievers are defined not by what they do when things are going well, but rather by what they do when the wheels fall off their plan. If you don’t plan to recover from a “random act of violence” on your original plan, you can look forward to years of underachievement.