May 23 by Carlos Torres

3 people having a conversation, something that reps must be good at to meet their sales quota.

In one of the major session tracts (Sales Quru) at this year’s Accelerate Conference, Ralph Barsi, Sr. Director of Global Sales Development at Servicenow, spoke about why sales reps fail to hit their quotas. Below are what Ralph believes are the four main barriers to quota achievement, and tips on how reps can improve.

1) Lack of Focus

I like my barber; he’s a good guy and always makes sure I get a great cut. Our conversations are solid and he always offers me a beer before I even touch his chair. Excellent customer service aside, the man is laser focused on the task at hand and he does a hell of a job at it. My expectations for my barber are really high, so if I expect my barber to have intense focus on my hair, shouldn’t you have the same focus when selling enterprise software? Oftentimes a sales reps biggest Achilles heel is the inability to focus on one problem at a time. Here are some things you could do to make sure you’re on track to hit quota:

  • Write down your goals: writing down your goals and posting it where you can see it every day will give you that extra push you need to stay and maintain focus.
  • Measure your progress: let’s say you need to have a certain amount of meetings or opportunities for a month, write it down and use a countdown to remind yourself every day at the end goal. Remember, either you own the day or the day owns you
  • Barber intently cutting customers hair, just like how reps need to hit their sales quota.

    2) Inactivity/not Hitting the Phones

    Boxing gloves, something sales reps need to put on to hit their sales quota.

    Much like boxing, sales involves an internal willingness to push yourself, and let’s not forget, a ton of contact. Much like boxers who have mastered the sweet science, the best sales reps are the ones who continually try to improve themselves. Those who are structured and continually looking for opportunities are the ones who will be successful. So what can you do to stay active and improve yourself? For starters, picking up the phone is and always will be an essential aspect of inside sales. Remember, people like to buy from people they like, and the easiest/fastest way to do this will be hitting the phones. Getting on the phones is to inside sales what baseball and apple pie are to America, they will forever be intertwined, no matter how hard people don’t want it to be.

    3) Failure to keep improving

    Much like a Cowboy in the southwest US during the late 1800’s, a sales rep is expected to hit a plateau or two. But unlike these geophysical wonders, as a sales rep you’re going to experience times when things aren’t going your way, and your tried and true strategy just isn’t working. The best sales reps anticipate said plateaus and get prepared by shifting their mindset. Once you change your mindset and create a new plan of attack, don’t stop there. Make sure the people around you benefit from your presence. I’m not saying that you get up every morning and do your best Mel Gibson in Braveheart impression, but if someone needs help, be the first one to help, and if someone needs direction, be that person to give them direction. Henry Ford, the man credited for giving us huge pickup trucks gave us this gem of a quote: “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently”, so guess what? Next time you hit a plateau, KEEP PUSHING!

    A desert plateau, something reps need to get over to hit sales quota.

    4) No Conversation Flow

    Aside from having laser focus when giving me haircuts, my barber is also able to have great conversations with just about anyone that walks into his establishment. Believe it or not, people will buy from people they enjoy talking to. And another shocker, people like to talk about themselves, so let’s put two and two together, and we have a recipe for sales success. It’s funny to think, but some sales reps don’t try to relate to their prospects, which could lead to awkward conversations, and even worse, it could lead to a failure in hitting quota. It’s easy to talk about how great your product is, but in reality, the conversation needs to be about the prospect and THEIR needs.

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