301 Risks in sales – Your Quota

Risks in sales – Your Quota 


Risk: Your quota. 

Your quota is your signed commitment to deliver a specified amount of sales revenue over a specified period of time. You have no vote in setting this quota, nor do you have much flexibility in negotiating the amount. It is assigned to you by your sales management, and you alone are 100% accountable to achieve your quota. In most cases, very little analysis goes into computing quota numbers—they can be arbitrary at best, wild guesses at worst. It’s rare that a sales rep gets their assigned accounts or territory where any intelligent thought is done in advance before finalizing the sales rep’s quota. A sales VP is given an amount of revenue that their team must generate… then the quotas flow downstream – to sales directors, then sales managers, then finally to individual salespeople (or sometimes a team of salespeople). Little review of accounts are done, or potential opportunities that could close, or the timeframe when deals could close or the win rate needed to accomplish quota. It’s usually just a simple calculation: Sales manager’s revenue needed divided by number of salespeople and BAM, you have the salesperson’s individual quota. 


In effect, you are betting against the house (your company) that you will achieve or exceed the quota you were assigned. You are placing a large wager that you will hit your number, and it can be a big gamble; and never forget that you bear the entire risk. Meanwhile, given your territory and accounts, you do not know the odds for achieving a slam dunk: are they very possible or nearly impossible? That’s really anyone’s guess. It’s the risk you take in the world of a salesperson. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue our discussion on the risks of a sales career in the next briefing. 


300 Is a Career in Sales Really that Wonderful – Part 2

Is a career in sales really that wonderful – Part 2


We continue the discussion from the prior briefing where Jeffrey took a barren account territory, focused on one account, built strong relationships, resulting in winning an eight-figure deal and finishing the year at 400% of quota. 


In the next sales year, Lucille, a new sales director, assumed responsibility for the region. She hired several “buddies” who had worked for her in the past. Lucille then reassigned Jeffrey’s mega-revenue-generating account to a new salesperson. This ruthless director needed to show that she could build a strong team, so she needed her new sales hires to be successful and show progress in winning deals quickly. 


The plan Jeffrey had to focus the following year on advancing the additional opportunities with his big account was destroyed. Jeffrey felt like he was robbed. He likened the evil Lucille to the devil for her unscrupulous and unethical treatment. 


Because Jeffrey spent most of the prior year advancing the major deal that he won, his pipeline was left barren. Without the follow-on sales revenue he was anticipating from his large account, his forecast showed a big fat zero for two consecutive quarters. Jeffrey was then fired for under-achieving performance. 


None of the company’s executives stood up for Jeffrey, allowing Lucille to execute her evil plan. 


Events that were largely out of his control cost him his job. Just as a career in sales can be fantastic and wonderful, it can also become a complete disaster. As Jeffrey found out the hard way, events that are often out of your control can occur along the way and force you to openly question your longevity in a sales vocation. 


Like Jeffrey, you could be riding high one year only to be cast into the danger zone the next. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue our discussion on the risks of a sales career in the next briefing. 


299 Is a career in sales really that wonderful?

Is a career in sales really that wonderful – Part 1

The career journey of a sales professional is often filled with hazard and risk. There are significant unknowns, and outcomes are never guaranteed. You can face several risks in a sales career that have the potential to wipe out many of the pluses outlined in prior flash briefings about the wonderful world of sales. 

Here’s an example. 

Jeffrey joined a large solution provider as a territory sales professional. In his prior roles he had enjoyed success and delivered very good performance. He was confident that he was ready for this next step. When assigned his territory, Jeffrey quickly noticed that many of the customer accounts handed to him were previously covered by another salesperson who was recently terminated for poor performance. After completing a triage to determine the best accounts to target, Jeffrey concluded that most of these accounts were not handled well—there were few solid relationships and even fewer real sales opportunities. 

Jeffrey knew that he was starting from scratch, but he did find one account that appeared viable, and he felt he could build it up into a strategic opportunity. Jeffrey then spent the entire year building relationships, establishing executive sponsors, and developing a strong value proposition. Before the year’s end, Jeffrey won an eight-figure deal that placed him at 400% of quota. 

He was flying high. In addition to cashing several large commission checks, he won the award for top producer in his region. 

The best part was that because the solution would be rolled out over time, Jeffrey would be able to identify additional revenue potential in this account that was nearly as large as the initial win. Jeffrey’s plan was to focus the next year on advancing these additional opportunities while he cashed more large commission checks. 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and stay tuned for the next briefing where we will tell you the rest of Jeffrey’s story.

298 Pursuing Your Legacy

Pursuing your Legacy


Pursuing your Legacy begins with building on an idea, creating a plan, then taking the steps (small and large) to execute that plan. Tell everyone you know about your ideas, what you are looking to accomplish, and how it will benefit. Solicit their ideas and take their inputs seriously. The more people you engage with, the more your plan can be solidified, and the more your supporters will help you publicize your ideas. 


Here is an example. 


Many people are untrained and ill-prepared for the work environment. Or they don’t know what field they should pursue. They often waste their post-secondary years because they haven’t decided on (or are not passionate about) a particular field. This is a huge problem as job turnover is one of the biggest issues in business. 


A colleague of mine is working on a system that will help young students sort through career choices and narrow down these choices based on their personality preferences. They will be advised on whether to pursue a particular vocation in college, or to apply to trade schools. This can be extended to advise veterans who are leaving the military and want to engage in civilian life. It can also be leveraged by the less advantaged who must build marketable work skills but have not had any guidance or training. 


This system will guide students by sharing stories from successful professionals who can advise and coach on what to expect in the typical work day in a specific career, as well as how best to prepare to make the transition into that career. 


This system began as an idea meant to solve the problem of uncertainty in career planning and is expanding to serve a true need in the marketplace. 


I’m DJ Sebastian. For more info on becoming an elite sales professional, visit my website at thetechseller.com 


297 Defining Your Legacy

Defining your Legacy 


A prosperous sales career can produce the freedom that comes with being financially independent. When in the right situation… and a little bit of luck, you can choose to leave the business world early and retire to enjoy the beach, the mountains, lush golf courses, or unlimited time with family and friends.


And that is completely fine. You worked hard to accomplish your goals and can feel good about your contribution to the business world. 


When your time on this planet ends, how will you be remembered? Will you be remembered by more than just a few family members? What if you left a legacy that benefited hundreds or thousands of people young and old for a hundred years or more? What would that look like?


Maybe you have your plan all figured out already… If not, here are some thoughts that can jump-start the flow of ideas.


1) MAKE A DIFFERENCE in your career vocation.

– Help other sales professionals achieve greater career success. 

– Advise them on how to win their first or next job in sales.



– Select your favorite charitable organization to contribute to or help raise funds – maybe it is cancer research, or college scholarships, or veterans’ advocacy services. 

– Formalize this by setting up a charitable foundation and encourage people in your network to support. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue our discussion on leaving a legacy in the next briefing.