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The Readiness Gap

2 min readSeptember 2, 2021

Sales analysts like CSO Insights have been reporting for several years that the percentage of sellers hitting quota is dropping in B2B sales. We’ve all heard that the number is roughly 50%.

You might think that this situation would inspire a change in how quotas are set. However, I don’t see sales leaders changing how they set sales goals and quotas.

“Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.” Said Benjamin Franklin.

What’s the point of raising quotas from year to year if your sellers haven’t increased their capabilities to sell by at least the same percentage increase?

What’s the logic behind increasing individual quotas by 5% if your sellers haven’t similarly improved their sales capabilities by 5%?

Here’s the question for sales leaders: what data are you using to measure if your sellers are ready, or capable, of selling more (from one year to the next?)

The typical knee-jerk response to sellers not hitting quota is to blame the seller.

However, I believe this “quota gap” is more reflective of a persistent “readiness gap.”

A readiness gap reflects that companies are not appropriately investing in the development of their sellers at a rate that keeps pace with their target revenue growth rate. Thus, sellers are not ready to hit their targets.

I know that many sales leaders associate the term readiness solely in conjunction with on-boarding new reps.

However, a sales career ideally is a progression from entry-level to skilled professional. Each step along the way requires a different level of readiness.

In the era of the data-driven sales culture, it seems to me that we need a metric for capabilities and readiness and the rate at which they need to change.

Then, if leaders want to arbitrarily increase quotas at the start of a year, at least they would have data to illustrate how big of hole they’ll be digging for themselves.

If anyone has such a metric they use with their sellers, I’d love to learn about it.

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About the Author

Andy PaulringDNA

Bestselling author of Amp Up your Sales and Zero Time Selling, Andy Paul is #8 on LinkedIn’s list of the Top 50 Global Sales Experts to follow. With more than 170,000 followers, Andy is a highly sought-after speaker and sales sage who interviews the world’s foremost sales minds and extraordinarily interesting people to bring you strategies and insights that you can use to generate epic wins and massive value.