Hitting your sales quota is literally your number one job as a sales rep. That means it’s muy importante. Years ago when I was starting my career, I started it in sales because I was scaling the revenue side of a startup.
Because of that experience, I had a few years where I had to carry a quota of several hundred thousands of dollars, including a year in which I actually supported more than a million dollars for total quota. By the end of this article, you’re going to learn the five steps that I used to stay sane and stay on top of my quota to consistently meet it.
Step 1: Know your number
The first step that I took when it came to hitting my quota consistently was simply knowing my number. If you don’t know your number, then you need to figure that out. And if you don’t have a number, then you should have a conversation with your boss or whoever it is that’s managing you to talk about what that number might be.
What is ambitious enough where if something for you to drive towards, but it’s also still attainable and relevant to the time that you have left in the year. Without a number, pretty much the rest of these steps make no sense. So it’s really important that you get a number first when it comes to tackling your sales quota.
Step 2: Work backwards on your opportunities
So once you have your number in place, the next step you need to take is to work backwards on your opportunities. This is where, what I did was I took a step back and I looked at some key metrics as to what was driving my sales numbers.
In other words, I had to understand how many opportunities I was talking to on a regular basis, how many demos I had to complete what the show rates were like as well as what my average deal sizes were. Just for the sake of an example, let’s say that you have a quota of bringing in 240K of new business for your company and that your average deal value is 5K for every deal that you close. This means that if you take the 240K and divided by the 12 months, then you are expected to bring 20K in new business every single month.
And if you break that down, that means that you have to bring in four deals every single month. But before you go think to yourself, “oh, I needed to just bring in four deals”, you actually have to talk to more than four deals in order to get to that number. So you need to think about is what is your close rate. In the case where you’re close rate is, for example, 25%, then that would mean that you need to talk to 16 new qualified opportunities every single month to have a chance at hitting your quota.
Typically, when I was managing sales reps, what I’d recommend they do is take that number of opportunities and increase it by about 20% or so. So let’s just ballpark it and say that we’d actually meet 20 opportunities to hit our quota consistently. From here, you can take the number of opportunities that you need and break it down based on the number of weeks that you have in that particular month to figure out how you are pacing towards your goal.
So what this means, for example, is that in the case where you need to talk to 20 opportunities, that you should be getting at least five opportunities on average every single week, in order for you to hit your quota for, in most cases, your following month. Remember in sales, you often have to work 30 to 60 days ahead of your cycle, depending on what you are selling in order to actually hit your number for the following month.
Step 3: Build a system of habits and stick to it
The third step I took to consistently hitting my quota for several years was building a system of habits. James Clear from Atomic Habits is known for saying that we fall to the level of our systems. And so, it’s all about having good habits in sales, but the best way that you have good habits is by setting up these sorts of systems.
Recently, I had one of my top sales reps reach out to me since she’s moved on to a different company and share that she is one of only two reps that have met her quota consistently for her new company out of a team of around 20 people. And the reason why I know that she’s crushing it is because she has great systems.
Something that I made sure my reps had when I was training them, was that they had clear actions that they could take and a clear level of priorities that they should take whenever they faced a particular common challenge in their pipeline. One of the easiest ways to start introducing systems into your sales process is to think about time blocking your calendar.
For example, if cold calls are super effective, then you might want to carve out an hour every single day for you to specifically cold call prospects. Or for example, if you know that an hour of LinkedIn prospecting is a better use of time, then you should carve out an hour in your day where you can do a power hour of LinkedIn prospecting.
What I want you to do is focus in on the two or three outputs that drive you towards getting to the key metric that will help you in achieving your quota. So going back to our earlier example, if it was Wednesday in the week and you only had three of the five new opportunities you needed to hit that quota of 240K for the year, then the big question you need to be asking yourself for the remainder of the week is what are the actions that I will take that will push me towards getting those last two new qualified opportunities for me to have a chance to hit my quota.
I typically teach my sales reps to think about if you had a free hour, what exactly what you prioritize think about all the things you might use with free time. Would you prospect 20 new clients? Would you clean your data in your CRM so that you can better identify the trends of what you’re saying? Or maybe you’d schedule a coaching session with your manager, so you could figure out where you could improve to increase your closing rates.
By building systems of habits in place, you start to train yourself to be more automatic when you recognize key problems that are going on in your sales pipeline.
Step 4: Identify similar accounts and opportunities
The fourth thing I did to consistently beat my quota was identify similar accounts and opportunities. I want you to think about that, “People also like” section on Amazon and think about how to do same thing with your pipeline. If you start to review your own sales data and you notice a trend, I want you to double down on that trend.
For example, a few years ago, I noticed that with bigger clients, I was doing a really great job of bundling packages for professional services along with our SaaS solution. So what I started doing was any single time a client was a bigger client, I would provide that same bundle to these new prospects. I knew that this was an offer that was attractive to them because I could speak to why it would be valuable for them in their larger team to have these sorts of trainings and whatnot for their team members.
As you get a feel for your pipeline, you’ll naturally identify different pockets of customers that fall into the best bundles, and then be able to think about how you can best upsell each of those customers.
If you need help in learning how to upsell customers, I have an article on that so be sure to check that out. It’s really powerful to take the step though, because let’s say for example, you are selling professional services for just 20% of your deals. Well, that could mean that every single time that you are selling to a larger client, you have 20% more potential revenue that you are bringing in towards your quota of new business.
Step 5: Flag and stop doing what’s not working
So the last and arguably most important step for you to consistently hit your sales quota is to flag and stop doing what is not working. One of the most common mistakes that I have seen salespeople make is continuing to send the same sales template that they know doesn’t get them any responses.
It’s really important for you, especially as you get closer to the end of your quarter to be doubling down on the actions that are getting you closer to your outcomes. If you’re sending out a campaign and getting very few responses, it’s time for you to take a step back and audit that campaign to make it better.
I’m pretty sure there’s a saying that goes along the lines of doing the same thing a thousand times and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. So don’t do this and make sure that you’re flagging and course correcting on the things that aren’t working for you.
There are two things that I want you to remember from today’s article:
- The first one is know your numbers and your inputs to get there. If you don’t know your numbers, you won’t hit your goal. It’s as simple as that, because what knowing your numbers does is it holds yourself accountable to actually attaining and achieving your goals.
- The second big takeaway is to build a system of better habits. By making yourself more automatic in the way that you react to the things going on in your pipeline, you will naturally start to close more deals and achieve more in your sales career.
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