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The Ultimate Gap Plan: How To Make Sure You Get to Quota

As a business owner, hitting your sales quota might be the most stressful yet rewarding part of your job. Your sales goal helps to keep everyone on track and measure your company’s success.

But sometimes, despite your best efforts, you can find yourself falling short. This can be due to several reasons. Maybe your products aren’t selling as well as you’d hoped, or you’re not getting enough leads. Whatever the case, if you’re not careful, you could find yourself not hitting your quota - and that’s a problem.

This is where a gap plan comes in.

A gap plan is a strategy that can help you close the gap between where you are and where you need to be to hit your sales quota. There are a few different ways to create a gap plan, but the most important thing is to ensure that it’s tailored to your specific situation.

With that in mind, let’s look at five strategies for creating an effective gap plan.


1. Understand the factors that are impacting your ability to hit the quota

The first step in creating an effective gap plan is understanding the factors impacting your ability to hit your monthly quota. It could be anything from a change in the market to a problem with your sales process.

Sunset helicopter tour over downtown Toronto

We live in an era where the cost of living has risen dramatically, which has forced everyday consumers to cut back on everyday spending. The average monthly cost of living in Canada for a family now exceeds $4,000 a month, while in the United States the average cost of living exceeds $5,000 per month. With these numbers in mind it’s easy to blame current economic conditions as the sole factor for why your sales quotas aren’t getting met each month…but there may be other problems that lie within your sales process itself. 

For example, let’s say that you sell products affected by seasonality, such as water slides for kids. Your sales could be greatly slowing down just because the weather is changing. In the fall/winter seasons, people are less likely to buy a water slide because they can’t use it as often. However, in the spring/summer, when the weather is nice, people are more likely to buy your product.

If you know that the weather is going to impact your sales, you need to account for that in your gap plan. That way, you can strategize and create a game plan for when the seasons change. For example, you could run more promotions to market indoor water slides or advertise seasonal discounts and cheap rates to entice customers to prepare for when spring and summer come back around.

Or, if you’re a financial services-based business, it’s important to ensure that your company is appealing to your customers’ needs. For example, according to a recent survey, 43% of small business owners rely entirely on online banks for their business banking needs. But if your company doesn’t offer online banking services, you’re missing out on a big chunk of your target market. This is just one example of how not adapting to your customers’ needs can impact your sales goals.

Make sure to do your research and understand the specific pain points of your target market. That way, you can adjust your offerings accordingly and appeal to their needs.


2. Set the right pace

Making a pacing plan to help you hit your sales quota may not be what you wanted to hear, but it’s good advice. The point of the plan is to ensure that your performance is steady month-to-month.

It’s not in anyone’s best interest to have months where they excel and others where they underperform, just to sometimes meet their quota. This type of inconsistency makes it difficult to predict results and ultimately puts unnecessary stress on the company and its employees.

Man Running on Field

That’s why it’s important to set the right pace from the start. This means having a plan that will help you gradually increase your monthly sales. Pacing yourself will also help to ensure that you don’t burn out. Trying to make up for lost ground by working longer hours is not sustainable and will only lead to more problems down the road.

Your pacing plan should be easy to create: simply take the number of qualified opportunities you need to hit quotas and divide by the number of weeks in that month. For example, if you require 40 qualified opportunities and only have four weeks available, you’ll need to convert at least 10 leads each week.


3. Focus on high-value activities

When trying to close the gap between where you are and where you need to be, you must focus on high-value activities. This means activities that will have the biggest impact on your ability to hit quota.

Business owners often waste time on frivolous tasks that don’t actually help them move closer to their goals. They’re just crossing off low-level tasks that give them a false sense of accomplishment but don’t help them hit their sales quota. Business owners need to focus on the activities that are actually going to get results.

Editorial, Arts & Culture

For example, if you’re selling products online, a high-value activity would be optimizing your website for conversions. This means making sure that your website is designed in a way that will encourage people to buy your products.

Don’t waste your time on things that aren’t going to move the needle. If you need help determining what those things are, both professionally and personally, we are building a playlist here on YouTube with the best resources to guide you through the process.


4. Focus on ROI

The goal is to make more money than you spend. So, when you’re thinking about ways to close the gap and hit your sales quota, always think about what will have the biggest impact on your bottom line.

According to Hubspot, 80% of sales require sales reps to make 5 follow-up calls, but a whopping 44% give up after just one follow-up call. It’s vital to ensure that you and your team leave no stone unturned. There’s a reason 75% of companies say converting leads into customers is their top priority. Follow up on leads and concentrate on sealing the deal!


5. Measure your progress

To hit your sales quota, you need to have a way to measure your progress. Measuring progress includes setting up metrics and KPIs that will allow you to track your performance against your goal.

Small Steps are Still Progress

Some examples of metrics you could track include:

  • The number of leads you generate each week
  • The number of conversions you make each week
  • The average value of each sale
  • Your closing rate
  • Your win rate

These are just some examples, but the key is to find the metrics most important to your business and track them regularly. Doing so will give you the data you need to see how you’re performing and make necessary adjustments along the way.


Final thoughts

Hitting your sales quota can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By following the tips above, you’ll have no trouble achieving your goals. Remember, it’s all about pacing yourself, focusing on high-value activities, and measuring your progress. If you can do these things, you’ll be well on your way to success.

Shanice Jones is a techy nerd and copywriter from Chicago. For the last five years, she has helped over 20 startups build content strategies to scale their business and help customers.

Shanice Jones

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