When a Sales Representative Misses Quota

Over the past four years, sales quotas have risen nearly 33 percent, yet the percentage of representatives making their quota has fallen by 25 percent: A bad omen for companies, and perhaps a worse omen for the reps that depend on their sales to earn their keep.

The statistics come from The Bridge Group, a sales strategy firm based in Hudson, Massachusetts. The report also found that on average, only about 50 percent of sales reps made their quota, and more than 42 percent of companies reported that less than 50 percent of reps were meeting or exceeding their quota.

“It’s mind-boggling,” says Chad Levitt, a sales consultant and account executive with HubSpot who authors the popular New Sales Economy blog.

But who is to blame, and perhaps more importantly, what can entrepreneurs and CEOs do to make sure their reps don’t fall into a rut? “The first thing you should look for when a rep misses a quota is if there’s a sales process in place,” says Levitt. “Most companies let the reps fly by night…and many times the rep is hung out to dry.”

A sales process, or a sales funnel, is the perhaps the most common way to get your reps on track. But setting fair quotas, and figuring out how to react when a rep misses a quota, are delicate matters.


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