Quotas Should NOT be Used in Sales

I’m interrupting the Pipeline Movement Series today. I’m changing things up a bit.  I’ll get back to the series tomorrow.

What caused me to jump ship for a day?

This thread on Twitter in response to my post: Solve Problems

From: @laurencsheil

I like everything but the comment about quota, sales shouldn’t be about quotas “@iannarino: Solve Problems goo.gl/8NJz6 via @keenan”

From @iannarino

@laurencsheil @keenan Interesting comment at the end, Lauren. How do you propose we keep score? (assuming you think we should keep score)

From @keenan (me)

@laurencsheil @iannarino what do u think it should be about Lauren? You’ve given me an idea for a post.

From @laurencsheil

@keenan it’s never about minimum requirements (quotas), that’s appropriate only if you’re paid a wage, commission sales are limitless/ cont.

@keenan quotas set up negative reinforcement, the best commissioned sales people never pay attention to quotas, they just “go for the gold!”

From: @keenan (me)

@laurencsheil what’s “the gold?” if there is no quota? Quota is a KPI, can’t see how any functional unit can operate without targets

From @laurencsheil

@keenan targets are not quotas, quotas are minimum standards imposed from outside and negatively enforced, targets are personal & positive

@keenan bottom line, treat salespeople like partners not employees, partners don’t have quotas but bill collectors, not targets but dreams

@keenan, @iannarino Here is my long response to your questions post to my blog wp.me/p1x1Ng-b4

From @iannarino

@laurencsheil @keenan Interesting. But I struggle with one-size-fits-all approaches to complex sales problems, including compensation.

From @laurencsheil

@iannarino @keenan point taken, this is just my opinion based on my unique experience

From @iannarino

@laurencsheil @keenan I agree with a good bit of it. Especially bonus and transparency.

From: @laurencsheil

@iannarino @keenan PS, I love both of your blogs!

From @keenan (me)

@laurencsheil Love the passion, not sure I agree with the execution. Do agree with the premise. “Quota is not to be used to motivate.”

Read Lauren’s post here. She does a good job of clarifying her position.

Lauren does point out that her position targets commission only sales people and if you are a salaried sales person, that changes the game.

I disagree with Lauren from an execution stand point. I believe you need quota, especially for commission only sales people. (Although, generally speaking, I don’t support commission only sales organizations.) Where I do agree with Lauren is quota isn’t a motivating tool. Using quota to motivate doesn’t work.

To me, quota is a target and should be treated that way. I believe EVERY functional group should have some set of targets they are responsible for. Measuring is CRITICAL to all success, regardless of what field.

Call em quotas or call em targets, I really don’t care. But, there HAS to be a line where “fail” sits on one side and “success” sits on the other and the middle is razor thin.

What do you think?  Do you think quotas should OR shouldn’t be used?