5 Ways to Overachieve Your Sales Quota

Discover tips for setting sales goals and exceeding your sales quota.

Time to read: 4.5 minutes

Colin Nanka
Senior Director, Enablement for Commercial Sales, Salesforce

Setting your goals in any given year serves two purposes: to highlight what is important in the 12 months ahead, and to put metrics and dates in place to hold you accountable.

Sales quotas are a part of those goals. The best sales reps use their compensation plan as a guideline to inform how to build their annual goals and the plan to execute against it. How high they set their goal above their quota shows how much they can make and how hard they will have to work to make it.

The best sales reps I know never use their quota as their goal — it’s their starting point.

In the last decade, sales has changed from an individual pursuit to a team sport. In order to overachieve your quota, you’ll need to be the one who inspires a shared vision, leverages your extended team, and solves customer problems. High performers also take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. They are always learning and know when to recharge and restore so they can come back with an even sharper focus.

Here are five ways to best prepare to have a huge year.

1. Be the CEO of your territory.

All non-negotiables should go on your calendar. Whether you’re using Outlook, Salesforce, a paper planner, or an app on your device, you will need a calendar to keep you apprised of when you’re doing what — or you will eventually forget something important. Put all your commitments on your calendar, breaking your time down by 30-minute blocks.

If your cold calls take two hours daily, be self-disciplined about sticking to the schedule you’ve laid out for yourself. Yes, unexpected things always arise, so continue to adjust as necessary without letting your schedule completely implode. If you need to prepare for a demo tomorrow, schedule it. This applies for exercise and family time as well — always include enough life in your work-life balance to make your work worthwhile.

2. Create your winning team.

The best sales reps I work with are good quarterbacks — they know what each team member brings to the playing field. They treat people with respect, create win-win peer relationships, help others grow, and learn in return. It takes a large team to execute big deals. At the start of each year, top sales reps map out the 10+ key people in their organization that they need to partner with to influence and engage top-priority customers and prospects, and to drive a shared vision of what success looks like.

If you think about the key executives at each of your top prospects it can be daunting to think about how you are going to accomplish what you need to alone. Like a mountain expedition crew, when you start at base camp with a good plan and a great team you can push one another from low camp to high camp and up to the peak.

3. Visualize what success (and failure) look like.

The best athletes in the world visualize success before it happens. They know in their core what it feels and looks like. They have seen it before it happens. A successful sales rep I know creates a vision board that represents success and has a representation of it at home in the bedroom, on the bathroom mirror, and in their cube at work. Success is always staring the rep directly in the face.

You also must visualize the setbacks. Having the ability to identify potential obstacles early in the year, accepting them, and visualizing your way over and through them is how the best leverage mindset in order to achieve their objectives.

That same rep and their VP do dry runs of every big meeting they have with key team members. They practice the pitch, handle anticipated objections, and have team members poke holes in their theories and approach.

4. Solve customers’ problems.

When I ask our top leaders what the best sales reps do, they say, “If you win the customer first, solve their business issue, and make them successful, you will have a launchpad for many years of prosperity together.” In short, they solve problems. Our customers pay to solve problems. They don't need products. They need solutions that support their growth objectives.

The best of the best do this:

  • Communicate thought leadership nuggets for that company’s industry that gain interest and get them in the door.
  • Outline the challenges that peers in their industry are working through and how they have helped solve them.
  • Highlight the impact on the business when they are solved and have stories to support the conversation.

5. Shop your plan and create measures.

To get buy-in from your team and access the wisdom of other smart people, create a great plan and then shop it around to others (boss, peers, mentors, and so on) to make it better.

Many of the best tech companies in the world were started by two-to-three co-founders with different strengths. Together they created that shared vision and brought people on board their team who helped build a thriving business.

When the strategy is set, the execution begins.

The best do this:

  1. Double the target and double the quota. Typical annual quotas for sales reps are +\- $1 million. Pipeline solves all ills, and with a $2 million quota and a 3–3.5 multiplier, $6 million to -$7 million is the goal.
  2. Tier accounts or business divisions within the first two weeks of the year.
  3. Identify the top five-to-six business line owners.
  4. White space current product install, competitive installs, and targeted opportunities.
  5. Build and execute your engagement strategy.
  6. Warm intros, referrals, industry events, experience events, social prospecting, and good old telephone work build the momentum and pipeline that you can turn into revenue.
  7. Even the best get tired or have moments of doubt. They measure their inputs against goals constantly and allow others to hold them to account. They take mental breaks quarterly to recharge and restore so they can attack the three months ahead with the highest intensity.

In order to overachieve your quota, you’ll need to be the one who inspires a shared vision, leverages your extended team, and solves customer problems.”

Colin Nanka | Senior Director, Enablement for Commercial Sales, Salesforce

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