How to consistently hit sales quota

Jul 28, 2021
Author: collin stewart

The most important skill for sales reps, whether they’re on the prospecting or closing side, is to be able to consistently hit quota. Veronika Riederle, a recent quest in the Predictable Revenue Podcast, is an expert in this area. She is the co-founder and CEO of Demodesk, the #1 customer meeting platform for sales and success. Demodesk empowers sales reps by guiding sellers in real-time, automating non-selling tasks, engaging customers in the meeting, and analyzing insights at scale. Through the process of building Demodesk, working with customers, and building Demodesk’s internal sales team, Veronika has been labouring to answer the question, “how can reps consistently hit quota?” for years. Here’s what she has discovered:

DAY ZERO 

Consistently hitting quota starts before a rep even joins a company. 

There are certain industries and buyer personas that a rep will relate to better than others. This is informed by their past experience, their skills, and their interests. Before joining a company, ask yourself what the right product, persona, company, and industry is for you?

There are also certain markets that are easier to sell into than others. For example, if you are joining a huge, established company, you might be assigned a small territory that has already been worked 2 or 3 times by previous reps. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a hard time, you need to ask some questions about the market to see what you’re up against. How big is your target market? How much competition exists? How old is your company?

Finally, you need to understand the kind of sale you’ll be making. Is it transactional? Are you selling expensive deals to enterprise buyers with a 2 year sales cycle? 

Considering these criteria and your skill set, experience, and personality, you can determine the type of company that would suit you best. 

DAY ONE

Once you’re on the job, the first thing you need to do is understand your numbers. What’s your quota or revenue target? What is your ACV? How long do sales cycles typically last? From there, you can work to determine how many new customers you need to close, and how many opportunities you need in the pipeline to realistically hit those numbers. 

In larger, more established companies with a sales operations function, there may be existing processes and historic data that can help you build and close repeatable sales, or at least understand typical conversion rates. In earlier-stage companies, this often isn’t the case. Veronika explains that this is both a blessing and a curse, because you get to build your own process and see what works for you, but you can’t necessarily rely on learnings from reps that have come before you.

Next, do your homework. Research your buyer persona to understand how they think, what they want, and what their goals are. Before having a conversation with any potential buyer, stalk their private social media accounts to find out what kind of person they are and customize your calls and emails accordingly. This will help you to establish trust by showing that you’ve taken the time to do the research and that you take this interaction seriously.

Research your ideal company and industry. Especially if you’re selling into different industries, the conversations will be different. Different words will be used in the same contexts and vice versa. Make sure you speak your customers’ language. There are a bunch of helpful tools out there, both free and paid, that can help you do this research. LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Zoominfo are a couple of Veronika’s recommendations, but you can also find a lot of valuable information by diving into your own CRM to look at past conversations with prospects, past emails sent to them, and past marketing campaigns.

DISCOVERY

Veronika maintains that discovery is an essential precondition for nailing the demo. Prospects aren’t interested in buying your product, they’re interested in having you solve a problem or help them achieve a desired outcome. You need to uncover this information through discovery. LinkedIn shared the statistic that when you conduct a demo without discovery, you’re 73% less likely to win a competitive opportunity.

So, ask your prospect a list of targeted questions to understand the pain points they’re facing, the goals they want to achieve, and their decision criteria. Remember that you are selling to a person, not a company, so you also need to uncover what motivates them personally. If you get this right, your prospect will see the value of hopping onto a tailored demo because you won’t just be explaining a laundry list of features to them, but helping them solve their specific problem.

Man wrapped around with phone cords, with a blue background and a neon sign that says "call me"

DEMO

Don’t jump right into your product. First, summarize what you learned during discovery and ask your prospect if you’ve got it right or if there is anything to add or correct. They will either respond with what they really need, giving you the opportunity to adjust, or they will let you know they are happy with your overview. If you show your prospect that will show them your product in the context of their business, they will be more engaged throughout the rest of the call.

Follow the rule of 3. Veronika explains that the human brain has an easier time retaining information when that information comes in a group of 3. So, focus on the 3 most pressing issues your prospect has in their business, or the 3 most important solutions you want to pitch in your demo. If you focus on more than 3, your prospect is likely to forget what’s important. 

Create a narrative around how your product or service can help your customer achieve their goals. Show them how they can move from an old, worse state to a new, better one with some proof points of how you’ve helped similar companies along the way. The human brain also has an easier time digesting information presented in this way than a list of technical terms and features.

Following these suggestions for both the discovery process and the demo will help you build trust, and Veronika shared another fact that 71% of customers buy because they like/trust/respect the salesperson they’re working with. 

MUTUAL OUTCOME PLAN

A mutual outcome plan is an essential part of the sale process for Veronika’s sales reps, and one she’s seen have a significant impact for other teams. This plan ensures that both the sales rep and the prospect understand not only the next steps after the demo, but every step necessary to get the deal over the line. It could include what your customer needs in order to commit to the sale, who the ultimate decision maker is that needs winning over, and all the internal hurdles you may need to overcome. It can also be used to mitigate risks that could stall late stage deals. For instance, if a prospect needs to run any new product or service by their legal or security teams, a mutual outcome plan will help you understand that early on in the sales process and get the ball rolling on these necessities quickly. Perhaps most importantly, the mutual outcome plan gives your prospect the opportunity to tell you exactly what they need to see from you before they’re willing to buy. 

DEMODESK’S MOST SURPRISING DISCOVERY

Veronika shares that the most interesting learning she came away with in building Demodesk and working with its many customers was the fact that a lot of very established companies don’t have their sales process laid out in detail. They may have large and established sales teams, but when asking those sales reps to explain how their sales process works or what each stage in the sales process meant, a lot of them couldn’t answer. 

CONCLUSION: 

Sales reps – there’s a lot that goes into hitting your quota. It’s not just about how much comes in the top of the funnel – you need processes around your numbers, your market, your scripts, and much more. By putting Veronika Riederle’s processes in place, you give yourself (and your company) a competitive advantage, because many companies, big and small, lack a codified, scalable sales process. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: 

More on discovery: Manage a large sales team virtually and build a kick-ass discovery process

And demos: Nailing the Technical Demo With Chartio’s Matt Cassel

Did you know 82% of SDRs are responsible for way more than just prospecting?

We teamed up with Bloobirds and surveyed over 75 SDRs to get behind-the-scenes insights straight from the source. Inside this report, you’ll find benchmarks and relevant trends to guide you as a fearless sales leader.

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