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Sales Managers: 7 Reasons Your Reps Aren’t Hitting Quota

Revenue Blog  > Sales Managers: 7 Reasons Your Reps Aren’t Hitting Quota
5 min readMay 30, 2020

Why aren’t your SDRs hitting quota?

Your Sales Development Reps (SDRs) have a quota to hit every month. Their success in doing so impacts the company’s bottom line and sales compensation across the board (yours, theirs, your AE’s) — no pressure.

But according to The Bridge Group,only about 65% of reps are hitting quota. If you have team members who are in the other 35%, here are the areas you’ll need to look at:

Lack of customer and industry knowledge

With so much information to learn and retain, it’s easy for reps to focus in on learning about your product. They need to understand its features, functions, benefits, solutions, and how to talk about them. Unfortunately, if they don’t know enough about their customers and industries, conversations with prospects may suffer. This lack of knowledge makes it difficult to recognize and understand prospect pain points, and in turn framing solutions in terms of prospect challenges becomes nearly impossible. They also won’t be able to speak to their prospects using their industry language which puts them in a weaker position. If this is what is holding them back, you can easily bring them up to speed so their interactions with prospects become more effective.

Poor list quality

SDRs Hit QuotaNo list is perfect but some lists are more imperfect than others. For example, lists that are purchased vary dramatically in quality and are often outdated. Lists sourced in this manner often contain incomplete or inaccurate information and will negatively impact rep performance by reducing productivity. Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are not the same as Sales qualified leads (SQLs). These leads may appear to be fine based on email response rates. If your reps actually speak with these leads, they may often find that the prospect is actually a researcher and not a potential buyer. This may be the case with inbound leads as well. If your reps are challenged by poor quality lists, it will make it more difficult for them to hit quota.

Their pitch needs improvement

A sales rep’s pitch has a huge impact on their success or failure. Whether your reps start with a scripted example when learning their sales pitch or start from scratch to create their own approach, you want to be sure that it’s effective. If they started with a script, have they learned to adjust and adapt their pitch based on who they’re calling? One pitch does not suit all prospects, making personalization even more important. If they developed their own, is it too product-focused or have they learned to focus on the prospect and their current situation? To diagnose this, you can listen to your rep’s calls. Call recordings are an excellent way to do this to ensure you hear enough calls without an inordinate time investment. Fortunately, if your rep’s pitch isn’t up to snuff, sales coaching using recorded sales conversations can easily help them improve.

Lack of motivation

Motivation may be slightly different for each individual rep. It’s important that they be motivated and that you learn what drives your reps. If they’re not motivated, it’s difficult to expect them to meet or exceed your expectations. Feeling that they have a job to do and they should simply do it, won’t motivate them on the long-term. Often, social recognition in front of their peers or a small reward are sufficient to help drive them forward. Some are motivated by receiving ongoing sales coaching. Others motivate themselves by setting personal goals to reach in addition to those that are set for them on the job. Helping reps increase their productivity by sharing new techniques or providing them with additional productivity tools is another way to motivate them. Get to know your reps and you’ll know how to help drive them to success.

Lack of discipline

Discipline impacts a lot of different sales rep behaviors. It means staying focused on activity volume and executing consistently hour after hour and day after day. Do your reps have a daily schedule prepared? If so, does it include proper amounts of the right activities and do they stick with it or get off track? Perhaps they need to make adjustments to their schedule or improve their focus so they consistently perform planned tasks each day? You can help them by comparing their planned versus actual daily and weekly activity. After reviewing it, make recommendations for adjustments and productivity improvements. If they have access to automation tools, make sure they understand how to use them and are taking advantage of these time-savers. Every minute saved will only help them get closer to reaching their goals.

They’re too pushy

Rushing the prospect to schedule a demo immediately can backfire. Reps need to take the time to get to know the prospect, understand their specific needs or concerns, and qualify them before offering a demo. Just because a prospect downloaded a whitepaper, they may not be the right person, it may not be the right time, or there may not even be a need. Perhaps the individual was only doing research “just in case” there might be a future need. Pushing the prospect too fast can also alienate them or prevent the development of trust in your rep. So, make sure that your reps aren’t pushing too hard. When they learn to take the time needed, instead of rushing the process, success will come more naturally.

They aren’t focused on the customer

“As salespeople, our job is to help. Our job is to understand it may not be to sell my product. It may be that what you need is somebody else, and if I’m doing my job as a sales rep, as a support rep, it may be to push you off to somebody else.” – Howard Brown, Founder and CEO of Revenue.io

Finally, this might be the most important out of the list. It’s extremely important that your reps focus on the customer when working to meet their goals. Empathetic selling produces authentic conversations with prospects and allows reps to discover what their prospects’ true goals and pain points are. If all your reps are focusing on is what to say next, then they’re likely not focused on the customer at all and it shows. If reps are actively listening to prospects instead, they’re more likely to be invested in a meaningful conversation than predetermining the next steps after a call. We can’t emphasize this point enough — our CEO even talked about it here.