Sales Disruptors: Real-Time Reinvention

Mar 31, 2020
3 min read
Xactly discusses frequently asked questions about the best ways for companies to quickly adjust sales plans, quotas, and territories during market disruption.

By now, we’re all actively, (and perhaps not so comfortably) adjusting to the “new normal.” By week two (or three?) of quarantine, you’re likely a Zoom master, a home workout aficionado, and have gotten used to your co-workers including your significant other, dog, or children. 

But while we are quick to adapt to our new surroundings, it doesn’t always come as naturally to us to pivot existing business plans. At Xactly, we know how challenging this can be, and have assisted enterprises to successfully navigate and optimize sales performance in both stable and uncertain economic times. We can’t promise it will be simple, but we can help you think about how to adjust plans, quotas, and territories in challenging circumstances. We have your back so that you feel less alone when it comes to making hard decisions and unforeseen changes. As our current situation unfolds, we’ll be choosing a variety of specific sales topics to address. 

Here’s our perspective on some FAQs we’ve been receiving: 

Q: From a high-level perspective, what’s the best sales strategy to take when the coming months are filled with unknowns?

A: Much in the same way that you would build a plan to ramp a new Sales Manager, we would suggest building out a 30-60-90 day plan for your sales org that includes various scenarios. Think about best-case scenarios, worst-case scenarios, and scenarios in between. 

Q: What are some tactical changes you could make to a sales plan in the short-term? 

A: Things like implementing a contest or SPIF, and making the pay mix less aggressive to protect team members work well if you are considering driving performance in the short-term. In addition, you could pay for particular activities that incentivize the behavior you’re looking for. For example, if prospecting has been challenging then salespeople may need to be paid on an increased number of calls or emails sent. 

Q: If we are anticipating the ‘Medium case scenario’ where we all get back to “normal” mid-Summer, what kinds of changes could we be considering? 

A: Each company needs to look at their unique circumstances, but if you know that much of your business will be closing in Q3 or Q4 regardless of the pandemic, then you may need to consider less aggressive changes to your plan. However, every company is different and some organizations like those in manufacturing will not have the ability to catch up in the back half of the year in the same way that a SaaS company does. In that case, you need to look at the strategic goals of your company. How do you model it out so you can accomplish those goals? Are you protecting your top performers with your new plan? Remember that the idea of trying to rebuild a salesforce is much more difficult than trying to retain top performers through uncertain times. 

Q: What should I do if I have just hired new reps? 

A:  This hits on an important idea. If you have just hired reps, you may want to extend the ramp time, given the circumstances, new reps may not be able to hit their previously agreed-upon number. This is especially true if they have territories in hard-hit areas like New York and California. Team pay plan changes can also help, where you pay more members than usual on a specific deal. This is done because deals may be rarer than they were just a couple of months ago. It can be helpful to rally your team around similar goals to make it clear you are all in this together. 

Q: What should be done about President’s Club? 

A: Many organizations, if not all, have canceled their President’s club due to the coronavirus. There are many things that can be done to mitigate this the disappointment felt on the team. Firstly, you can cash out reps for the price of the trip, another idea to consider would be to create “mini-clubs” in the future. Set up weekend getaways in autumn that can keep top performers inspired. 

The above questions are just a few of the topics discussed in our recent webinar. To hear more about sales experts’ thoughts on sales performance management in uncertain times, view the on-demand webinar, “When Disruption Demands Change,” hosted by Erik W. Charles, VP, Solutions Evangelist, and Justin Lane, Sr. Director Strategic Services.

  • Sales Coaching and Motivation
  • Sales Performance Management
Erik Charles
Erik W. Charles
VP, Solutions Evangelist

Erik W. Charles is an accomplished professional with more than two decades of experience in Marketing, Consulting, and Product Evangelization.