Sales Strategy

The New Quotas are UnFair

At one time or another, and hopefully not too often, the sales quotas will need to be reset. Typically this happens every year to meeting changing company goals, yet it does not happen in all companies, or in all offering lines.

When it does happen though, regardless of how much expectation setting you do in advance, you can count of a few things:
  • someone will not ‘get it’
  • some will get it, and find every loophole and unintended consequence of plan oversight
  • a bunch of people will not like it
  • someone, or many someones will declare it to be unfair

Many companies use relatively simple over/under metrics to calculate their payouts. Smarter companies use more integrated techniques that include performance against potential in categories such as volume, growth rate, margin, churn rate, new product introduction and more.

Back to our base case.
You are a new to the company in the role of First Line Sales Manager, responsible for 8 - 10 sales people. A group of reps are jumping up and down about fairness, or rather the unfairness of their quotas. While you’ve anticipated some resistance, this group is particularly vocal, persistent, and in fact down right ornery about it.

It would be easy to lean on the authority of your position, and simply push back - “my way or the highway”. Your spidey sense is telling you to look before you leap.

  • What are the measures you would use to assess their claims?
  • How do you really know if they have a point or not, whether their claims have any merit?
  • How would you construct your case once you are clear?
  • If they had merit, how would you deal with Corporate?

Please share your experiences, lessons learned, and how you’d deal with things now.

End Game

Its the End Game!

At this point in time, I’ve examined many many sales methodologies, and have found them to be quite useful. Each provides some unique insight int human nature, the seller / buyer conversation, and insight into organization behaviour that is worth knowing.

And there seems to be an endless volume of approaches, systems. methodologies and so on. Each proclaiming to be the answer to what ails you. Sounds good, yet talk is cheap.

Here’s a startling fact. The only material change in ‘Sales’ over the past 10 years is an increase in the NoDec rate, or No Decision rate. It is up by 10% to the detriment of Wins and clearcut Losses.

That tells me that in spite of all the Sales 2.0 bruhaha, what has changed is buyer behavior. They cannot or will not decide. When that happens, regardless of the quality of the sales process, nothing is going to happen.

Why is that?

My theory is simply this. We are at the end of career cycle for most baby boomers. In the end game, mistakes are fatal to the outcome. In any endeavour, mistakes at the beginning can be recovered from. In the end game, rarely.

So for the millions of Baby Boomers in positions of authority, change is a dirty word, change equals risk. And when the finish line is in plain sight, why would anyone put their remaining career time, pension, separation bonus, and so on at risk? Personal, Financial, and Professional Career rewards are minimal at best compared to the downside.

So nowadays, nobody makes a compelling decision that leads back to themselves. Instead they invent committee process, matrix decision algorithms, seek total agreement and consensus, before moving forward. The most probable outcome of this type of process is Indecision, lengthening sales cycles, and more often than not, Decision Avoidance.

Fear is a powerful motivator in the end game.