Salespeople evolve. In stage one, they're learning the ropes. It's usually an epic battle to make their quota every month or quarter -- if they hit it at all.
In stage two, reps have developed the right systems and honed their sales skills. They're meeting quota almost every month or quarter.
That's where many salespeople stop. However, elite reps keep evolving. They make it to stage three -- hitting their targets before the end of the month.
No matter which stage you're in, these processes and techniques are worth bookmarking and following each month.
Ready? Let's dive in.
How to Meet Quota
Create a long-term plan.
Prospect, prospect, prospect.
Create authentic urgency.
Re-set discount expectations.
Prioritize your time.
1. Create a long-term plan.
Salespeople who want to hit 100% of their quota by the end of the month or earlier need to take a long-term perspective.
Bill Belichick, the coach of the New England Patriots, is a great example of this. He's not managing game to game or week to week -- he's managing year to year.
Rather than thinking "How can I make my number this month or quarter?", focus on meeting your yearly targets.
I recommend mapping out your entire year. Start with your annual objective, then work backward to create monthly objectives for expected revenue, number of new customers, and/or total sales volume.
Don't forget to factor in any vacations you're planning on taking, national holidays, and seasonal demand.
For example, if sales heat up in the spring and fall off in the summer, you'd want to set more aggressive goals for March, April, and May, and smaller ones for June, July, and August.
This process will help you stay consistent no matter what time of year it is or what's happening in your buyer's world.
2. Prospect, prospect, prospect.
What are you doing on the last day of the month? According to HubSpot sales manager Sam Moorhead, you should be spending just as much time prospecting as you spend on the first day of the month -- if not more time.
"If you want to set yourself up for success the next month, you need to set up new opportunities," he says. "The best salespeople I know have already hit their quota by the last day and are using it as a huge prospecting blitz."
While many reps devote the entire last day to work on existing deals, Moorhead believes they're being inefficient.
"We waste a lot of time thinking through and agonizing over these deals, but we're not actually moving the dial forward," he explains.
The takeaway: Block out 50% of the last day of the month for emailing new buyers, asking for referrals, looking for potential contacts on LinkedIn and see if you have any old prospects ready to be re-engaged, etc.
3. Create authentic urgency.
Unfortunately, we've taught prospects they'll get a better deal if they wait until the end of the month, says HubSpot senior sales manager Greg Brown.
That makes it difficult to close deals at the beginning or middle of the month.
Brown advises salespeople to create urgency around their prospects' goals, so they're incentivized to buy as soon as possible.
"Find out when they need to have a solution up and running," he says. "Not when they buy the product -- but when it's actually in place. Then work backward."
Here's a soundbite:
"You need the platform for a conference on September 15, and you're sending promo materials 45 days ahead of time -- August 1. It takes 30 to 45 days to get set up, so we'd need to finalize the agreement by June 17."
Once you've set a deadline that has nothing to do with discounting, it'll be much easier to bring deals earlier.
4. Re-set discount expectations.
What if you sense your prospect is still holding out for an eleventh-hour price cut? Reset their expectations around discounts.
Brown suggests these statements:
There's a limited number of discounts I can give. If we get this done by [agreed-upon date], I'll have more flexibility with pricing.
We're working toward a deadline of [agreed-upon date]. Luckily, I have more discounting power earlier in the month, so I should be able to accommodate your budget.
To be fully transparent with you, I have less pricing flexibility later in the month. My manager has cracked down on end-of-month discounting.
Of course, you should never lie to your prospect. If they find out from another buyer that you've misrepresented your power to discount, they'll be understandably upset.
5. Prioritize your time.
With this strategy, you don't have any time for prospects who are still in the awareness stage of their buyer's journey. You should be focusing on opportunities that are highly likely to close in the near future.
When you come across someone who's still researching their problem and potential solution, direct them to the right resources and say, "I'm the right person to talk to when you're ready. Please call me when you're closer to a decision."
You can also offer to periodically drop them an email if you find something relevant to their situation or company. This will keep you top-of-mind and position you as a trusted advisor -- so when they are further down the funnel, you'll be the first rep they'll call.
I use this technique to help buyers and keep my future pipeline full without taking my eyes off the ball.
One last word of advice: Don't sandbag. If you've hit 100% of your quota by the middle of the month, you might be tempted to postpone any hot deals until the next month. But this isn't the right mentality. Time kills deals -- so if the customer is ready to buy, don't delay no matter what day it is.