7 years ago
February 21, 2017

How to Break Through Your Sales Expectations

It’s your job to define sales expectations for your team, and although this may seem like a simple task, it can be quite difficult.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

As a sales manager, take the time to ask yourself what it takes for your salespeople to be successful. It’s a simple question, but it doesn’t have a simple answer. And yet, that’s what sales managers are for. If salespeople could just go out and figure out how to make sales day in and day out, sales managers would be out of a job and companies would just hire independent reps.

It’s your job to define sales expectations for your team, and although this may seem like a simple task, it can be quite difficult.

For example, your first reaction might be to assign a certain dollar amount as your sales expectations or scribble down a quote. Although this seems to get right to the point, it leaves out crucial factors. What if you have a salesperson who consistently meets quotas but treats your other team members with contempt and creates contention and friction in your company? On the other hand, sometimes managers keep around pleasant sales people who are loved by everyone but can’t ever meet sales expectations. There has to be some balance, and that’s where your sales expectations come into play.

Start By Asking Tough Questions

When you sit down to define your sales expectations, consider the following questions:

1. How much prospecting is required of your sales people?

2. What kinds of prospecting activities are necessary?

3. How much lead generation is required on a regular basis?

4. How much do your sales people work together as a team? How much do they work independently?

5. Do your team members engage in many “team sell” situations?

6. Which people in your organization will they work closely with? How well do they work with these people?

7. What is their sales quota?

8. How long after hire should they be up to speed (meeting quotas)?

9. How much paperwork is required?

10. How many accounts will they inherit?

11. What is involved in maintaining inherited accounts (more selling, maintaining business, and regaining business)?

12. How much travel is involved?

13. How often should team members meet with customers?

What To Do With Your Answers

After you collect the answers to these and other applicable questions, you can develop a sales expectations description that will help your sales team members to know exactly what is expected of them. Your sales expectations can also be valuable tools in the hiring process.

The following is an example of a sales expectations description that will help current and future sales people at your organization to succeed and thrive in their sales positions.

A Meaningful Sales Expectations Description

At your company, maybe a successful salesperson will achieve a sales quota of $1.1 million in the next 12 months. This quota should be met by acquiring at least 5 new customers in our primary target market and 18 new customers in our secondary market. Prospecting methods should include referrals from the 8 house accounts you will inherit, cold calling via telephone, and cold calling face-to-face. You will be required to travel 20% of the time in order to visit each primary customer 3 times this year and secondary customers once. Plan on working closely and collaborating with the 5 members of your technical team every week with the objective of developing targeted presentations for your potential customers.

A sales expectations description like this will focus your salespeople’s efforts in specific areas and help new hires to know exactly what’s expected of them. Also, when you give your sales reps a specific sales expectations description like this, they have something concrete on which to base their personal, shorter-term goals.

You can see why meaningful sales expectations are different from simply meeting a quota. A quota is a stark number that leaves your sales reps feeling desperate for sales with little direction. By giving them more direction and more support, you’ll realize improved morale and higher sales.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.