Sales professionals are prone to exhaustion. In fact, a recent survey found that 67% agree or strongly agree they were close to experiencing burnout. Given the line between work and life fading and the higher expectation of sales organizations, employees feel immense pressure. What’s more, those who carry a monthly quota feel the weight of responsibility for keeping the lights on.
Sales goals provide a level of achievement, but when they’re set too high, they hurt morale. The seller will stress throughout the period as pressure mounts to meet the quota. Unfortunately, the salesperson may feel it isn't worth the effort and give up before they begin.
The frequency of a monthly quota can be intimidating
Sales can be a highly rewarding career, but it is one of the toughest jobs out there. The daily demands of carrying a quota can be motivating and paralyzing at the same time. Furthermore, managing your finances with base-pay-plus-commission can be problematic.
Realistic, actionable sales goals that are clearly communicated can lead to success. However, an unreachable monthly quota can destroy your self-confidence especially if you rely on variable compensation. Perhaps it’s time to understand more clearly the process of setting sales quotas.
Sales quotas are stepping stones toward the larger sales goal
“A sales quota is a short-term benchmark to keep the sales team on track and motivated as they work toward sales goals.” That’s according to Casey O’Connor, blog writer for yesware.com. Therefore, a monthly quota is a type of goal that may relate to revenue or number of units sold or sales productivity.
It’s important to understand that the larger sales goal has a distinct purpose. It’s planned to align with industry trends, financial forecasts and activities of the entire enterprise. Balance with monthly quotas is critical.
CSOs must keep sellers motivated yet control the fixed costs of selling. Surprisingly, sales reps should NOT be hitting their quota every month, nor should they be demotivated by unattainable goals.
A review of the types of sales quotas
Depending on the industry you may be subject to various types of sales quotas. If attainment of your monthly quota is constantly stressful perhaps you can negotiate a modified measurement. For instance:
- Combine an activity quota with your revenue attainment. Activity may be the number of cold calls, e‑mails, meetings scheduled, or demos performed over the month.
- If your industry trades in units perhaps a volume quota would be appropriate. Marry your revenue achievement to unit cross-sell or upsell throughout the goal period.
- Conversely, a profit quota could be calculated on either gross margin or gross profit deals. These are particularly effective for high-value, longer-term contracts.
Be creative combining these quotas to help relieve your job stress. Likewise, engage your sales manager to pinpoint which would be the most effective in meeting your common goals. You might float the idea of sales goals set by semester which can extend the period and thereby relieve stress.
Document your personal objectives and key results
Often being in control of something – ANYTHING, can bring relief from anxiety. Therefore, you may try setting your own personal sales goals and monthly quota. Perhaps it involves developing a new skill or building a relationship with that elusive client.
Regardless of your personal objectives be sure to make them SMART goals:
- Specific: set goals that are clear about what you want to achieve
- Measurable: this allows you to track progress in a sales report
- Achievable: set realistic sales goals, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be challenging
- Relevant: your objective should align with your business, team and personal goals
- Time-based: set a definite timeline. Give yourself permission to lengthen your monthly quota and allow time for a celebration and a pat on the back.
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