If your fiscal year ends December 31, you are now a bit past the mid-year point to make quota. How are you doing? You may have made your quota for the year so everything else is gravy. Or, you have not made quota yet but have an eye towards closing the deal or deals that will get you there. Or, you are close but still don’t have any visibility or certainty on how you will actually get to quota.
Do you have enough in your pipeline? Are your deals real or are they more of a “wish list” meaning they are not on your customer’s priority list? Here are a few tips to help you make quota, regardless of where you stand now.
You have not made your quota but have an eye on the prize. You have a deal or deals that will close to make or exceed quota. Here are two key things you can do to ensure you are on course to make or exceed your quota:
You are so close, but don’t have any visibility on how you’ll actually make quota. Being in this position can be extremely harrowing, especially if you sell large, complex solutions that take 9+ months to close. You may try to find a proof of concept or pilot project to bring in some revenue and get ahead of the curve on deals that truly will come to fruition in subsequent years.
But be careful. If you spend all your time looking for deals to close in this calendar year, then you risk ignoring next year’s pipeline. You should always look to build your pipeline for future years based on buyer priorities and timelines.
Get off the hamster wheel and start building a quality pipeline, based on customer/prospect priorities and timing (or provoke such). Otherwise, you will start from zero in the subsequent year and find yourself in this same situation at the same time, year after year.
You may not have enough in your pipeline to make quota. I have met many a sales person who has tried to figure out all kinds of ways to bring a deal forward in a timeline that is not conducive to the customer or prospect. Similarly, I know many a sales person who could not walk away from a deal.
Most sales people and sales managers will waste their time working deals to close this year when there is little to no chance that they will. Whereas these deals might close in subsequent years, know that upfront, so that you and your team can maximize your time. The key is to ensure you are working deals where the buyer is engaged – spending their time, money and resources to attain a desired critical business outcome in a timeframe that is meaningful to them. Again, know that upfront and validate the timing and priority with key stakeholders in order to know if the deal could close this year or not.
You have enough in your pipeline to make quota or exceed it but your deals are not based in reality because they don’t align with your customer’s priorities and timelines.
Has your manager ever asked you to have a 3X quota pipeline and then over the weekend, poof, you created one out of thin air? If yes, then beware. Sure, it gets your manager off your back, but it doesn’t do a thing to help you work deals that allow you to maximize your and your buyers’ time.
Your job is to develop a quality pipeline that enables you to close in a predicable manner. The sheer volume of a loaded, unrealistic pipeline may distract you from working deals that are critical to your buyers. Rather than focusing on getting to 3X or 5X quota, think about ways to increase your closing ratio.
So, are you positioned to make quota? Regardless of where you stand right now, don’t panic. Review your current pipeline to ensure it reflects quality rather than just plain quantity. Proactively plan how you are going to identify and validate executive business outcomes, priorities and their timelines. The more you can understand the buyer’s journey, the more you will increase your knowledge and create a better quality multi-year pipeline aligned to your customer/buyer.