Here at DLA Ignite, we are trying to offer what help and advice we can to enable you to “keep your lights on”.

This blog is about quotas.  In this article, I’m going to assume you have a calendar Financial Year (FY), starting in January and ending in December.  My last company, FY was June to May, Accenture is September to August, so some of these things will apply to you, other people may have more time to think and plan.  The concepts should say the same.

I should point out, I’m writing this in March 2020 and things may change day by day, week by week and month by month.  That said, again the concepts should stay the same.

Let’s take a step back for a second and deal with the emotional side of salespeople’s quota.  I understand that many people in a company think salespeople are overpaid and lazy.  Let’s not forget that betting half of your salary on your ability is a brave thing to do.  Plus, many sales people commission pays the mortgage, for our elderly parents, children’s education and puts food on the table.  In this blog, I’m putting aside the emotion of this, as a bag carrying salesperson myself, commission is performance related pay and right now people will have difficult performing.

So let’s break down what you need to do.

While we will change at some point, it is best to plan that 2020 is going to be the year of Covid19, while you may see people talking about this being over in 12 weeks, or 6 months.  From a strategy planning prospective, it is safer to plan and change once.  A business that changes many times looks out of control.  That’s out of control to the stock market, it’s customer, employees and prospective customers and employees.  The first thing you need to do is pull together a cross functional committee.  This involves inside sales, outside sales as well as the channel.

You then need to understand your “fact base”.  This is where you understand your current forecast and pipeline.  What has gone soft?  What do you have to do to get the deals closing through the “last mile” etc.  Some pipeline will just disappear and as always in sales, this is the time for there to be no surprises.  It would be suggest to run “deep dive” deals reviews.

You then need to look at the options for example, you might want to look at quota relief.  That is shifting the quota to the back end of the year.  That’s assuming this will be over by the end of this year.  You might want to drop any monthly or quarterly incentives you have, or again, shift them to the back end of the year.  You might want to offer the sales people a “draw” on commission.  This is in effect a loan that is offset against future wins.  There is a radical answer which is to remove quotas completely, the argument is that this removes any incentive for the sales people to “try”.

It’s in times like this where leaders and managers need to lead and the most important advice is not to panic.  My view is that you are allowed to be angry for 24 hours, where you are not allowed near your keyboard or mobile, after that many, many people will be looking for your leadership.

The final suggestion is to invest in your staff.  Talking to a Senior VP yesterday, he wants to give his team purpose in this difficult time.  Plus, if there is some downtime, let’s invest so when we come out of this, we are stronger and better.  He knows his team are way behind on digital and social so is going to invest in modern selling for the team.  It gives he team “something to do”.  It also gives his team the skills they need right now in terms of prospecting and building relationships in a Covid19 world.  Plus, it means they will be a better skilled, more like a team and the company shows their commitment to their staff in times of trouble.

Hope you found this useful and if you need any support in these difficult times, even if it’s just a chat for advice.  Please contact me We will get through this and please stay safe.  Don’t forget, lead with empathy and don’t panic.