Categories Articles, Sales and Marketing

The numbers are alarming.

If you weren’t already aware of this statistic, you might want to sit down. A report published by the Bridge Group found that 50% of sales reps are not making quota. With the numerous sales tools and resources available to help sales reps – both externally and within their own organizations – this number is a little unsettling.

But who is to blame?

A critical sales management responsibility is determining not only which reps are failing, but why they are failing. In order to do so, we must first understand how sales reps fell into this quota-missing rut.

Here are 5 common reasons why your sales reps might not be hitting their marks.

You’re Not Setting Quota Correctly

Quotas cannot be manifested from thin air or determined based on an elusive benchmark. They have to be realistic, achievable, and based on your own historical data. Take a look at how your company has been trending over time. Then, dive into certain key metrics such as:

  • Average duration an opportunity spends in the pipeline before it converts into a deal
  • Conversion rates between each of your stages in the sales funnel
  • Sales Activity ratios to determine rep efficiency

These values will help you view your quota in terms of capacity and likelihood rather than as an ‘educated guess.’

You’re Not Defining Roles

Imagine being a doctor without really being sure of what kind. Patients are rolling in and you don’t know which ones are assigned to you. Inevitably, you’ll end up taking other doctor’s patients and leaving the ones that need your attention on a waiting list.

While this may seem like an exaggerated example, it’s a very similar scenario to what can happen in sales. Often times a rep is left unclear on their role in the sales process. If your inbound reps are spending time taking meetings in the field, there’s going to be an obvious disconnect. Instead of focusing on making calls, the inbound reps might take to going out on meetings and neglect the leads in their queue. Improve role clarity by ensuring your reps focus exclusively on their assigned activities.

You’re Not Spending Enough Time Coaching

When you really crunch the numbers, you’ll find it’s more cost effective to invest in the reps you’ve already hired than getting new ones.  Spend time with your reps to identify the areas where they struggle. Dive into key sales performance metrics – such as the individual rep’s sales funnel conversions, compared to the company average – to diagnose specific weaknesses. Once you have identified them, you can then go about devising tactics to improve on them.

Sales Funnel

Maybe your reps will learn best about how to handle various selling scenarios by engaging in role-play with the sales manager. Perhaps reps need to reinforce qualification standards. Maybe across-the-board training on demos will result in substantially improved performances.

You’re Unclear About Expectations

One of the easiest things a sales leader can do is ensure that everyone is aware of what’s expected of them. This doesn’t mean throwing a bunch of graphs and numbers on a screen and expecting people to understand – it should be personalized and relevant expectations not just for the year, but for a quarterly, weekly, and daily basis.

Sales Reps need to understand the big picture – what am I supposed to be doing and how does this affect me and the overall company goals? Don’t leave your reps guessing.

You’re Not Hiring Correctly

It’s entirely possible that the reason your reps aren’t hitting their quotas is because they were wholly unsuitable for the job in the first place. Hiring the wrong sales reps can be a severe detriment to your organization.

Start the process right from the beginning by hiring the right people. Don’t just find the ‘best sales guy,’ find the right guy for the job. List the characteristics and competencies that are crucial to being successful on your sales team. Then, develop a system around these values to ensure you are hiring the right talent for your company.

 

As quotas continue to rise, the percentage of reps hitting their number is staggering. We have to face the facts: some people just aren’t cut out for the job, but that isn’t always the case. Without the right talent and structure in place, your goals will never be fully realized. Take the time to determine the problem areas and take action – do everything you can to maximize the odds landing in your favor.

Why do you think reps are missing their quotas? Sound of below!

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  • […] a sobering statistic: A 2012 study by the Bridge Group found that 50 percent of sales reps aren’t making quota. The reasons why vary widely from one company to another – maybe your company set unrealistic […]

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