Almost every sales team has members that fail to meet their individual sales quotas. The gap often lends itself to multiple, even competing explanations—as any sales manager who has ever held a performance evaluation with a sales rep knows. But sometimes the simplest root cause can be overlooked—the sales rep understands the goals, but not the activities needed to get them there.
Often this results from an over-reliance on job descriptions. Sales leadership understands the connection between the job description and the sales goals so well—often because the sales leader contributed to both documents—that further explanations seems, to them, like overkill. Nevertheless, the importance of written job expectations in helping salespeople meet and beat their quotas can hardly be overstated.
Simply put, a job expectation lays out the specific, measureable, time-based activities associated with each item of the job description. For example, if the job description calls for prospecting, the job expectation might state that the salesperson needs to make 50 cold calls per day to a specific target market, generate 9 first appointments, leverage 3 referral appointments from existing customers each week, and so forth. The same document might also list the number of trade shows to visit, networking events to attend, or other prospecting activities.
The key word here is number. The objectivity of numbers, inherently measurable and less ambiguous than words, helps eliminate any potential personality issues and achieve salesperson buy-in to the process. If a sales rep fails to meet a quota, the sales coach can work with them to drill into those numbers and, more often than not, identify the specific area in need of improvement. Once you have that, determining corrective actions to take often becomes obvious.
In the same example, if the sales rep consistently completes 50 cold calls per week as required, but generates a less than expected number of first appointments, that implies a potential gap in the cold calling technique. Further investigation can indicate whether the rep needs additional training, for example, on how to better develop rapport with gatekeepers. Or perhaps the rep doesn’t prioritize well, spending too much time on unqualified prospects.
Whatever the gap, having a written set of job expectations brings clarity to the salesperson’s daily, weekly, or monthly goals by setting forth not only the specific activities required, but also how much of each activity the rep should complete in those time frames to achieve the desired results.
For each sales position for which your business has a unique job description, document and communicate the related job expectations and coach to them. It won’t be long before you see the difference on your topline sales.