Who do I blame when I don’t hit my quota?

Q1 is almost finished. You start to sweat as 50-65% of your quota still remains outstanding.

Don’t worry. You are not alone.

Statistically speaking, if you are in your first year– you only have about a one in two shot of hitting your quota– the first year roulette as I look to call it. This improves slightly if you are around in year 2, rising to about 66% in your second year.

Sales people are winners, not losers – so is it ok to cite the above as a justification for your failure? Yes and no.

As a driven, independent sales person; no matter what I always blame myself if I don’t meet my targets.

It is easy to say things like:

“I don’t have enough leads.”

“I don’t have the technology to do my job.”

“My manager is not supporting me.”

Even though many of the points above may be true, they are irrelevant.

Although it may be hard to swallow, relinquishing all desire to affect change on processes and technology is going to help you now and in the long run to succeed.

To be frank – you are not special. A cog in the machine.

You are just one of many voices in a crowd, but if you outperform everyone in the pack; you consequentially earn the right to speak up, with more weight behind your words based on the strength of your results.

You become special. You become the heart of the machine.

I call this realizing your sphere of influence.

As a rep – your sphere is limited to only two people; yourself and your prospects. Therefore, reps that succeed find the best ways to become effective inside the framework in which they are placed focusing on only the behaviors and activities they can control.

Flipping the coin – organisations typically set quotas too high for two reasons.

Firstly, they want to encourage you to strive to overachieve consistently.

Secondly they set the bar higher so that in case you fail – you normally arrive at a level of revenue that is still immensely profitable. Thus if you fall a little short, don’t feel worried, its often what they expect.

Different businesses have different profit margins but generally software companies operate at very high margins. I have been taught that a rep should bring in roughly 3.5x what they get paid per annum as a minimum bench mark in most roles so try this calculation yourself.

When you take a job – it is your responsibility to discover and negotiate the expectations around your quota. When you are already in a role – it is often too late.

You should ask how much the average rep is earning, the average sale length, sales volume (number of sales) and the average contract value as minimum benchmarks for you to gauge what is realistic to commit to. Furthermore, negotiating a ramp quota; which increases slowly to the desired level is ideal as it gives you a realistic amount of time to meet your goals.

With all this being said, do you actually need a quota?

Of course. A quota is a goal that will continually motivate you to overachieve; but at the same time as a sales professional you need to sell yourself at a level that is realistic given the maturity of the business and the average performance of your peers.

Ultimately, you should aim to set the quota as low as possible – giving you more chance to reach accelerators. Be careful of roles which have low sales volume – as one or two missed opportunities could put your role in jeopardy. Instead focus on opportunities where adequate volume can support you to hit your objectives.

Do you think reps are entirely responsible for their quota or do you think the organization is more to blame for missed numbers – I would love your thoughts below

About The Author

Dailius Wilson

Dailius Wilson is the 24 year old founder of WolfofYorkStreet.com – helping the world's top SaaS companies to optimise their sales and marketing efforts. Dailius is currently a Director at TrustRadius and a digital blogger at increasemyonlinebusiness.com. Dailius was named as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs in Australia for 2015 by Anthill Online and was ranked in the Top 100 SEO Experts in the World. Dailius has also been a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show and has over 10,000,000 views on Youtube