Blog Cover Image 1

Why you won't make quota

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 9/1/16 10:58 AM

How many headlines a day do you read about "hitting your quota"?

Jeez! It's not about hitting your quota is it? Aren't your goals bigger than your quota? No? Hmmm, maybe that’s why you can’t hit your quota?


Two new clients were already exceeding their quotas when they initially reached out to us. So why did they seek us out to help them get even better? Their goal isn’t about their quota. Their big ambition isn’t to pay of debts or bills.

Is your company mandated quota a motivator? Or a demotivator? Think about it. Bills, debts, meeting a quota- who wakes up in the morning and thinks “Wow, I can’t wait to meet my quota today and pay off my loans!” Whoo hoo.

Is there a problem with goal setting in organizations when 40% of reps don’t make their company mandated quota? Is it being done by the right people, in the right way and is it measured by buyer behavior activities and outcomes, and by the competency level of the salesperson?

Unfortunately in most cases, quotas are not being done by the person meant to achieve that goal.

Think about how that quota is created. Your company comes up with formulas to guess on what % will make quota- at best. Now I am not saying that you shouldn’t have a company goal and target. But would happen if reps, like a few of our clients, set their own quotas according to their personal goals and abilities and then those personal goals were rolled up into the company goal? Of course there would need to be a minimum- but wouldn’t a quota that is personally motivating to a rep be more likely to be met and exceeded?

I wonder what would happen if sales managers didn't have to ask why reps why they didn't make 100 calls, but instead worked with reps who developed their own game plans (with some coaching help perhaps?) on how to achieve their personally meaningful goal?

Oh, but maybe the real reason that you won’t hit your quota is that setting personally meaningful goals are too ambitious. Dreaming of what is possible is scary. “What if I don’t have what it takes to make it happen? What if I am not smart enough? What if I miss it and prove all the naysayers right? What if I disappoint someone else? What if I let myself down?”

When we think this way, fear sets in and our brains we feel “fight or flight” and so we avoid those goals that take our breath away a little. Even if we accept and say we will try, the reality is that the fear is still there and it impacts our ability and willpower to change our thoughts and behaviors.

But what if you were brave enough to really dig for those goals? How could life be different? Here are a few examples from some clients:

  • One client wants to make an additional 50k this year so that he and his wife can go through the IVF process in 2018 for their first child. This means exceeding his company mandated quota in his new role by 40%.
  • A younger client wants to buy his first home and start buying other properties to build his own real estate empire. This means he will need to make 180% of his company quota.
  • One veteran salesperson’s goal is to buy his summer retirement home in the next 18 months. And yes- you guessed it- that means exceeding his company quota by 50%.

Which will you choose? To settle for what comes your way? Or go after what it is you really want? Goal setting is one of the first things. 2017 is already here. Are you ready?

Get the eGuide.

Topics: sales coach, goal setting