I recently learned that Hubspot provides their salespeople with quota relief when they take vacation.

Can we all just agree that this should 100% be the norm for all salespeople everywhere?

At their core, quotas and sales targets should be nothing more than a challenging, yet achievable goal that provide an individual sales rep with direction in their role. We encounter problems with them when the intention behind how they are used changes and are viewed by leadership as a tool to control behaviour and impose obedience.

Sadly the latter is often the case and can be seen with vacation policies.

Any sales organization touting “unlimited PTO” without offering quota relief is operating from a belief (whether they know it or not) that quota will keep salespeople obedient and “keep the policy in check.”

Salespeople aren’t stupid – we know this.

Actions speak louder than words and offering your salespeople quota relief when they take vacation is one of the best ways to show your team that you TRUST them to be responsible adults.

In addition to building more trusting relationships, teams can also expect a boost in Mental Health and sales performance.

As Kevin Bailey taught me – feeling guilty  is a very powerful emotion that makes it incredibly difficult to recover from stress and use our time off to effectively recharge. We can remove this feeling of guilt by offering quota relief. That way salespeople can ACTUALLY come back feeling their best, so they can perform their best.

So how do you provide quota relief to salespeople taking vacation?

Providing Quota Relief

In this article written by the team at Hubspot, they provide two strategies that have worked well for them.

If the sales rep is working towards an annual target, the first strategy makes a lot of sense. Assuming their annual target is broken down quarterly or monthly, leaders can simply shift quota. They can move it to a future month or quarter when the sales rep is rested and provide vacation relief in the moment.

This strategy becomes less effective if the sales rep is working towards a new quota each month. In situations like this, Hubspot suggests using their second strategy which includes extending the monthly period by a week or two. This gives the rep more time to achieve their target when they return from vacation.

Though both of these strategies can be extremely helpful – they still have their limitations. This is primarily due to the severe weight and pressure “individual” quotas and targets put on salespeople. Quota relief during vacations will help, but a better strategy involves offloading and dispersing the weight to other members of the sales team.

To achieve this – it requires us to change how our sales teams are structured and measured on their performance. It requires leaders to rethink what “collaboration” and “connection” means within sales so salespeople can balance stress levels as a team.

Project Mamba: Stop Letting Stress Impact Your Commission Check

Quota Relief, Connection & Collaboration

COVID has disconnected salespeople and teams all over the world.

As a result of the pandemic, many sales teams are experiencing challenges with their Mental Health and performance. Some are even opting for a hard reset of their mind and body by taking a Sales Sabbatical. In response, leaders are scrambling to fill the “connection void” with virtual team events and happy hours with limited success.

A more effective solution is doubling down on Collaboration.

Team collaboration will not only improve sales team performance, but also balance company interests with individual needs, that allow for quota relief to be offloaded across a team.

Collaboration is defined as a group of two or more people working together to achieve a goal solve a tough problem together. This process fosters deep connection between the group as they create or achieve something meaningful.

You might be saying – we have sales “team targets”…

That’s collaboration right?

Not really – No.

Setting sales quotas usually means assigning each salesperson an individual target – sometimes with varying degrees of difficulty. Calling this group of individuals a “team” that you expect to collaborate, cooperate and genuinely work together is nonsense.

Let’s illustrate this using the LA Lakers as an example:

Before a basketball game, the coach says…

“Lebron James you need to score 25 points.”
“Anthony Davis you need to score 20 points.”
“Kyle Kuzma you need to score 18 points.”

Then at the end of the game if any player had missed their “target”, the coach would seriously look at trading them to a new team.

Do you think that team would collaborate?

Game on the line, if one of those players was “behind target” do you think they would make the right pass or sacrifice that was needed for the team to win?

Definitely not. So why do we think it will work in sales?

Project Mamba: Stop Letting Stress Impact Your Commission Check

What’s Lost With Individual Sales Quotas

The sales industry has always believed that the best way to increase sales performance is to force people to compete against each other. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Here is what gets lost in a hypercompetitive sales environment that prevents peak performance within teams:

  • True peer to peer mentorship.
  • Ability to leverage individual strengths.
  • A united team vision and value set.
  • Cooperation, collaboration and connection.
  • Authentic relationships.
  • Supportive Mental Health environments.
  • Quota relief and team based stress management.

The world and the workplace has changed permanently due to the events of 2020.

If sales leaders expect their sales team to perform in disconnected remote working environment (even partially remote) going forward – then it’s time to start thinking about retiring the individual targets. We need to start experimenting with an entirely team based performance model.

A model where reps and managers can balance team stress levels, feel connected and collaborate on achieving one sales target together.

If this post scares you as a Sales Leader…

Then some good questions to ask yourself are:

  • Why do you fear giving up control?
  • How come you don’t trust your team to work together?
  • Why do you think you need individual targets to hold people accountable?
  • Why is my sales team not actually motivated?

Those are the real problems  and limiting beliefs you need to focus on addressing first.

To get answers to these questions and learn how to thrive under pressure, checkout our programming and community by clicking the link below.

Project Mamba: Stop Letting Stress Impact Your Commission Check

About The Author

mental health advocate Jeff Riseley

Jeff Riseley is currently the Founder of the Sales Health Alliance and Mental Health Advocate. With over a decade of sales experience – Jeff understands the importance of Mental Health in achieving peak sales performance.

Jeff combines his sales and Mental Health expertise to improve sales performance through a mix of sales mentorship and mental health best practices. His strategies have helped sales teams improve their sales process, while helping them become more motivated, resilient and better equipped to tackle stressful events within sales.



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