quota

Death of the Year End Discount

I read Carole Mahoney’s great article called Discounts must die, and thought of a recent experience of my own.
I got the following email a few weeks ago.  I get a lot of bad sales emails but this one really left me dumbfounded.  I won’t shame the offender, but let’s just say this is probably the largest SaaS company in the world.
Hi Michael,
I hope you are off to a great 2017! The reason for my outreach is to reconnect about your previous interest in marketing automation. Additionally, January is BigCo’s year-end. This month is the most opportune time to take advantage of some incredible incentives and promotions not otherwise available.
If this interests you please let me know and we can setup time to put together a project plan that works for you and your team.
Thanks! 
What are you really telling me?  It appears that every one of your customers that chooses to do business with you February through December is overpaying.  But it’s worse than this.  Because I haven’t talked to these people in over a year.  It’s not as if they have reconnected, talked to me about how the past year has gone, what’s worked, what hasn’t, if my boss has changed, if we’ve hired, if we hit our goals, if we took VC money, nada.  The assumption was made that price was my only criteria.  Obviously they never read this article.
This might as well be cold.  And the lead is price?
My advice?  Don’t do that.  Don’t discount.  And if you do, get something in return before agreeing.  Multi-year terms.  Up front cash on multiple years.  Something.  Definitely, don’t do it over email.  I don’t feel special at all.  Had this person called me with this, “hey, I really want to earn your business, I got special approval from our VP of sales to do this.”  Then I might actually believe it.  Might.  What I do know is this, should I ever decide to do anything with this company; I will wait until the end of the year.
Now, let’s not JUST criticize.  How could this person have handled it differently?  Well for starters, try starting a conversation with me before starting a sales conversation.
How about:
Michael,
I came across this old exchange from last year. (Forward the last email you’ve got from me)  Looks like there was some conversation and then things stopped.  Any idea what happened?
Rep
I send emails like that all the time.  And I get responses.  It’s short and sweet.  It doesn’t contain a lot of flowery language like salutations and “i hope you are having a good week.”  Look, you probably don’t care if I am having a good week so don’t pretend.  I’m not selling anything, just trying to start the conversation again.  Had I received this email, I might have replied with what happened, why we stopped talking.  Now the door is opened to re-engage.  “Any of those issues we discussed still going on?”  Or even better, just get the response and then pick up the phone!
Try the above approach on a couple of your stalled deals and let me know what happens.
Posted by douglas.michaelc@gmail.com in Sales

The Real Reason Sales Reps Don’t Hit Their Numbers

img_1935

Does it look like you or your team will miss quota this year?  Do you want to know why?

Depending on which survey you read, somewhere between 40%-50% of sales reps miss their quota.  

Here are some of the reasons given:

-Not enough leads or bad leads
-Not enough prospecting
-Lack of training
-Ineffective management and coaching
-Unrealistic goals
-Bad hiring

I have been thinking it was “lack of good qualifying skills.”  Until two weeks ago.

Friends had my wife and I over for a little holiday gathering.  The booze was flowing, along with good conversation and a couple games of Euchre and Cards Against Humanity.

There were a handful of sales reps from various companies at the Euchre table.  “How’d everyone end up this year,” the dealer asked.  “I usually try to keep at about 101%-102% of goal, you know, so I don’t get screwed the next year,” he elaborated.  Everyone got a chuckle and everyone else shared similar sentiments.  

Except me.  I crushed quota.

I could point to any of the things above (except for maybe unrealistic goals and bad hiring) and say they have applied to me at some point in time in my career.  Heck, I still struggle with prospecting enough, I still screw up qualification and I definitely don’t get enough qualified leads.

But my goals are bigger than my company goals.

And that’s why I think reps don’t hit their numbers.  They take on the company goals as their own.  That quota becomes their “why.”  And they focus only on that.  They do not have goals that are personally meaningful to them.  They haven’t established their “why.”  When you do that, when you establish the reason or reasons that you get up every morning and they mean something to you, then all the things above become irrelevant.  If you fail to prospect, if you let yourself fail because you have a bad manager, then you are letting yourself down, not your company.

One could argue that coming up with meaningful goals comes with age and responsibility.  In my mid 20’s, my “why” was a new pair of Allen Edmonds or a well tailored suit.  But now, I think about finishing our basement, retiring to a beach somewhere, helping my wife get a masters, putting my kids through college so they don’t have to struggle and take out loans like I did.  I think about material stuff too, the Maserati Ghibli haunts my dreams these days.

I assign dollar amounts to these goals and timelines of when I want to achieve.  As my friend Anthony Iannarino will tell you, people forget how the Law of Attraction really works.  You need action.  You can’t just come up with great goals and then sit on the sidelines hoping for it all to happen.  But on the flip side, if you are just pounding the pavement, dialing for dollars, and blasting out emails and your only goal is to make quota, I think you are in just as much trouble.  Maybe not this year, maybe not next year, but eventually.

It’s personally meaningful goals that will give you the gut check you desperately need when all hope is lost.

I work my way backwards to determine how much I need to make, when I need to make it by.  I use my average sale and close ratio as a barometer and reverse engineer the whole thing all the way to the number of prospecting calls and emails I should make.  I use a prioritization methodology called the Project 200, shown to me by Carole Mahoney and Rick Roberge.  But before you get started on individual goals and execution, I urge you to stop and think about your “why.”  So many people just end up in sales or get pushed into because they work in a technical field and are “good with people.”  They have never taken the time to think about the difference they want to make in other people’s lives or their own for that matter.    

Hitting plan in many companies will put you in the top 13% of earners in the United States.  Not bad.  Hitting plan in some of the top sales roles will put you closer to the top 4%-5%.  Would you believe me if I told there are sales reps out there, carrying a bag for someone else making $1M/yr or more? They exist.  Do you think they sandbag deals or try to keep to 101-102% of plan?

Need help starting?  Here is the same resource I use to create my personally meaningful goals and plan to get there.  The worksheets can be a little overwhelming at first, so you may want to have a conversation with the team at Unbound Growth first.  

 

Posted by douglas.michaelc@gmail.com