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4 Non-obvious Reasons Why AEs are not Hitting Quota

Camille Trent

Aug 08, 2022

4 Non-obvious Reasons Why AEs are not Hitting Quota

When AEs aren’t hitting their quotas, you’ll often find that the culprits are pretty much the same…

Bad product-market fit, unrealistic quotas, or simply an underproductive salesperson.

But what if there was another way to think about this issue? That’s what we chat about with Michelle Pietsch, VP of Revenue at Dooly, on this episode of The Revenue Playbook. Michelle delves into the less obvious reasons why AEs don’t hit their targets.

She also shares tips on how to teach AEs to streamline their sales process and how to set realistic quotas.

Keep reading for the key takeaways from this episode or listen to the full podcast below.

Reasons why your AEs aren’t hitting their quotas

With around a whopping 40% of salespeople not hitting their quotas, it’s safe to say that there have to be other factors at play besides the obvious product-market fit or general unproductivity.

While exploring some of those underlying reasons, here are some of the things Michelle pointed out.

1. Your AE’s day-to-day activities

If you want to understand what’s stopping your reps from hitting their mark, then it’s a good idea to look at a day in their work life.

Michelle recommends you shine a light on areas like:

  • How many inbound leads they get and what they’re doing from an outbound perspective?
  • How many demos they have every day or week to generate pipeline (If you’re demo-driven)?
  • Does the individual get inbound leads?
  • … and if they do, what are the sources of those leads?
  • What’s their messaging, and even more, what’s their cadence?

The list could go on and on.

The point here is that there are so many layers to unpack when it comes to your AEs’ daily activities. If something is going wrong at one level, then it’s bound to cascade into another.

Bottom line, digging into how they conduct themselves at different stages of the sales funnel can prove useful when pinpointing why they’re not as productive.

2. The individual rep

Going in, it’s important to understand that every salesperson is different. Sure, they’re doing the same job, but they need different things to help them reach their maximum potential.

So, it’s important to consider factors like:

  • How the rep prefers to be coached
  • Whether they’re in the right segment
  • What drives them
  • Their sales process

Making moves to understand what drives them and how they function best can go a long way when it comes to helping them reach their quotas.

3. Context switching

The importance of making an effort to understand your salesperson’s process cannot be overemphasized. It’s easy to stand on the outside, doling out metrics they should be hitting when you don’t quite have a full picture of how many tasks they have to juggle.

That’s where this issue of context switching arises. Most times, it takes quite a lot out of an individual for them to rapidly switch from one activity to another. According to Michelle, it’s incredibly rare to find people that can jump from one task to another without losing focus along the line.

So, this context switching could be putting a damper on your AEs productivity levels, you just need to unlayer their processes to find out.

4. Sales enablement

First things first, sales enablement isn’t a bad thing. It just gets a bad rap sometimes. Whether it’s an advantage or disadvantage depends on how you use it.

On the one hand, you could be overwhelming your salespeople with tools, and why not? The more tools they have at their disposal, the more efficient they should be, right?

Not necessarily.

Until you get down into the trenches with them, you’ll never understand how much noise salespeople have to cut through to get their jobs done. So, piling more tools on them may not be the best route to take.

How to teach your AEs to structure their selling process

1. Identify your metrics

The first thing to do is to identify each salesperson’s metrics. Remember, everyone’s different, so you may not be getting the same numbers across the board. They may handle their own sales math as long as it all ties into how much pipeline they need to create. This should take about 45% of their week.

2. Take time out to ensure that your deals are clean

In other words, they need to learn how to manage that pipeline religiously. Here, it’s all about encouraging them to have a clear understanding of what each deal entails. Michele recommends they spend at least 30% of their week doing this.

3. Allocate time for coaching and learning

About 20 – 25% of the week should go into coaching because a little brushing up of knowledge here or there could make all the difference.

4. Remember that the playbook is constantly evolving, so be flexible

Just remember that times are constantly changing, and everyone is different. Give your reps room to also hone in on areas that they think will be beneficial for them.

As you can see, managing reps and their quotas isn’t a simple case of productive vs unproductive reps. There are many factors at play, and the more you can understand, the better you can help guide and support your reps.

Did you know that 41% of a rep’s time isn’t spent selling? What does that mean for their careers, their well-being, and the success of the company?

We surveyed 600+ sales professionals to better understand the sales role amid a pandemic. Check out the Sales Happiness Index Report: https://www.dooly.ai/report/sales-happiness-index/

Join the thousands of top-performing AEs who use Dooly every day to stay more organized, instantly update their pipeline, and spend more time selling instead of mindless admin work. Try Dooly free, no credit card required. Or, Request a demo to speak with a Dooly product expert right now.

Camille Trent

Camille Trent is the Head of Content at Dooly. When she's not planning content, she's repurposing it. When she's not repurposing content, she's hanging out with her pup and two favorite redheads. Or she's trying to coach the Portland Trail Blazers to victory from her couch.