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3 Ways to Stay Customer-Focused in a World of Quotas

5 min readJanuary 3, 2017

It can be a challenge to remain customer-focused when the pressure is turned up from your sales managers, especially at the end of a quarter. It’s even more challenging at the end of the fiscal year. It’s easy to just focus in on the numbers. Now don’t get me wrong- we are all hired to hit quotas, and quotas we must hit. That said, you should never focus on hitting quota at the expense of your customers.  

Here are three ways to hit those quotas while still keeping your customers’ needs as the top priority.

Understand your Ideal Target Client

If you aren’t already familiar with what your ideal target client (ITC) looks like, it’s time to find out. Every company has that ideal customer type that they are most successful selling to, and supporting later. There are many quantifiable things that come together to comprise your ITC. Some questions to ask yourself and some things to take into consideration when identifying your ITC:


  • Is your software geared toward a specific vertical?
  • What makes your software so successful in a certain industry?
  • Why is your solution more useful vs. other competitors with solutions similar to yours?

Team Size

  • Is your solution scalable? Or does it work best with only small teams, or only large teams?
  • Is your support team equipped to support teams of all sizes?


  • Does your solution support global companies?
  • If your solution requires in person demonstration, where is the company head quartered?


  • What are your potential customers primary needs? Are these inline with what your solution offers?
  • Are there feature gaps in your solution? What kind of priority does your client place on these specific features? Are there companies you partner with that can fill these gaps?

Buyer Persona

  • Who is the best person for you to talk to in a company hierarchy? Is it the Director of Marketing? VP of Sales? CIO?
  • Figure out the solutions your product brings to the table based on their buyer persona and understand the type of questions that they’ll ask. Here is a helpful template you can use to organize your thoughts on each buyer persona.

Always Be Helpful

This would seem like a no brainer, but unfortunately it’s not always the most commonly found attribute in salespeople. A lot of salespeople follow the sales rule “Always Be Closing,” but “Always Be Helpful” is a far more effective rule to follow. It turns out that when your prospects see you as helping them solve key challenges, they’re going to be a lot more likely to buy from you. Here are some ways to better help your clients.


  • A recent analysis by the team at Sales Hacker on 25,537 sales calls said that the golden ratio talk/ listen ratio for sales it 43/57.
  • Mute yourself. This is one of the most helpful hints I was ever given and still practice it on occasion. I’ve always struggled with talking too much on sales calls or even worse- interrupting. By muting myself, even if I start to interrupt someone they’ll never know it! Just make sure to stay ready to unmute yourself at a moment’s notice to continue your conversation.
  • Find out their “Why.” There is a reason this person is considering your solution and unless you listen enough to find out why, it will be more challenging to build value for your sale.

Be Empathetic

  • Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. By understanding their needs, or their “why” you can present your solution in the best possible way.
  • Research their business. Figure out the best ways your solution is applicable outside of their immediate need, and be sure to outline the impact your solution will have on their team.

Stay Transparent

As an SDR, I’m often the first person to speak with our customers. I get to hear about a huge variety of experiences people have when seeking out a sales acceleration tool. I speak to people all the time who have had bad experiences with other vendors that just weren’t transparent enough. Maybe promised features weren’t available yet (and that wasn’t made clear), or they didn’t find out about hidden costs until they were at the end of their buying cycle.

Believe it or not, it is possible to be transparent and build value to win the sale, here are a few tips for increasing transparency:


  • Don’t be afraid to discuss pricing. It’s critical to build value prior to doing so, but the last thing you want to do is waste a potential customer’s time. If they’re working within a set budget, make sure that pricing gets discussed before too much of either party’s time is wasted.
  • Don’t hide costs. It might seem great to be moving a deal through your pipeline, but if you’ve gotten someone to the point of signing your contract and you’re just now discussing implementation costs- there’s a problem.
  • Discuss ROI. If pricing is making them nervous, do a little bit of math for them to show that although they are making an investment, the return will be incredible for their team.

Feature Set

  • Stay open about the features your solution does have and doesn’t have. Your solution may not be the perfect fit for every person and you never want someone committing to your solution only to find out you can’t actually accomplish their needs.
  • If you offer a trial, or pilot, be clear which features are and aren’t included.
  • If you’ve got a phenomenal feature on the brink of release and are, with management’s permission, selling this feature as part of your platform, make sure that your potential customer understands the time frame for release.
  • Build the value in each feature as a solution to a problem, not just a button in your app. If they understand that you’re solving one of their problems, they’ll be that much more thankful and more inclined to buy from you.

Want to have more successful sales calls? Check out our sales discovery call cheat sheet for a list of the best questions to build rapport, qualify leads and close deals.