min read

Sales Quota in B2B: How to Ensure a Fair Share of Leads for Sales Reps?

Looking to set up a sales quota with fair lead distribution for your sales reps? Here’s an actionable how-to that accounts for different scenarios of sales quotas, so that every rep in your sales team wins.

Krishna Charan
May 2, 2024
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Before you hit product-market fit, everyone in your lean company chips in to take a sales call, including your CEO, founders, and marketing VPs. 

But thinking about sales quota and shifting to fair distribution is a big change in any B2B company. It’s about setting clear expectations at a revenue, process, and operational level to ensure sales as a function operates on little or no admin grunt.

In this article, we explore how sales leaders can think about sales quota in B2B and distributing leads fairly to sales reps – so that everyone in the sales team wins without conflicts.

Here’s what we'll cover:

  • Business needs that impact how sales quota is structured.
  • Sales reps’ attributes and process-level factors that affect sales quotas.
  • How round robin lead distribution can bring about fair lead distribution.
  • Implications of fair lead distribution on your business

How to set sales quotas that fit your unique GTM needs and ensure “fair” distribution

While setting up sales quotas, it’s not just your revenue goals in question. Your sales team’s morale is also on the line. 

Every SDR or AE wants to get a fair share of leads at attaining their sales quota. Sales leadership needs to tread the fine line between balancing the interests of the GTM function and also parlaying a fair meeting distribution model.

A GIF of Thanos from Avengers used to depict the need for balance between sales quota and fair distribution.

But… lead distribution and sales quota cannot be as black and white as ensuring equal distribution. There are many internal variables that don’t allow it. At the same time, you can take these variables and scenarios into consideration when you configure a lead distribution model.

Factors to consider while implementing sales quotas

1. New recruits can’t abide by existing sales quotas

When onboarding new sales reps, it's important to give them the required time to get used to the role, company culture, ICPs, and sales processes. They may need training and guidance before they can handle the same workload as experienced team members. 

The fix

Find a way around this is by assigning a higher ratio of meetings to experienced members in the sales team, while the new recruits can be gradually brought up to speed once they’ve fully got a hang of the working cadence.

A screenshot of RevenueHero’s weighted lead distribution rules.
RevenueHero’s weighted meeting distribution to vary workloads between reps.

2. Specialist reps might need a more dynamic approach to sales quotas 

In certain markets or industries, specialized knowledge or skills may be required to effectively penetrate key accounts or target segments. Some sales reps may excel in specific regions or verticals, while others may struggle to generate leads outside their areas of expertise. 

Additionally, lead volume and quality may vary across different regions or market segments.

The fix

Identify reps who have expertise or experience in specific markets or industries and leverage their strengths to penetrate key accounts or target segments effectively. 

Adjust lead distribution based on regional or market-specific factors such as demand, competition, and sales potential. 

You can implement this by creating specific teams based on experience, time zones, and expertise.

A screenshot of RevenueHero’s “Create Team” setup for multiple time zones.‍

Once you’ve done that, you can create meeting distribution rules that route meetings to these reps based on filters like company size. Tools like RevenueHero also let you populate timezone, country, and region with data enriched from form fills. They can be added as a rule too.

A screenshot of RevenueHero’s robust distribution rules. 
RevenueHero’s distribution rules can be configured to match leads with sales teams of varied roles and expertise. 

3. The role and goals of your sales reps have a huge bearing on their sales quota 

The role of a sales rep can vary depending on whether they are primarily focused on inbound or outbound activities, as well as the specific goals and metrics assigned to them. 

  • Inbound-focused reps: Assign leads to SDRs and AEs based on their workload, expertise, workload, timezone, handling of similar accounts, deal size, and other filters that matter to your team’s structure. Measure success based on goals like closed won deals (if it’s an AE), and number of connections, meetings booked, and number of responses (if it’s an SDR).
  • Outbound-focused reps: Provide your SDRs and full-stack AEs target accounts or industries to prospect – with quotas based on metrics such as number of phone calls, emails sent, or meetings scheduled. Their goals usually include generating new leads, booking appointments, and pipeline generated. Of course, if you have an outbound focussed AE or a full-stack AE, they would eventually be measured based on the revenue they generate.

Use round robin to ensure no rep feels hard done by your sales quota structure

At the outset, round robin meetings help your leads swiftly find their way to the next available rep with zero delay. But as an internal process, it’s one of the best ways to ensure fair lead distribution given the sales quota you’ve set.

  • If a rep isn't available, the meeting is passed to the next rep in line, ensuring no lead is left hanging.
  • Priority is given to high-intent prospects decided by your lead qualification rules, ensuring every sales rep gets a qualified lead to talk to.
  • Round robin meetings can also take in factors like account/contact/lead ownership from your CRM and the sales rep’s expertise, ensuring each prospect is paired with the best-suited match for their needs.
A GIF of Michael from The Office to show how difficult it is for sales leaders to distribute meetings and manage sales quota.

There are 4 types of round robin meetings you can use to manage sales quotas and fair lead distribution:

  • Strict round robin
  • Flexible round robin
  • Weighted round robin 
  • Collective round robin

1. Strict round robin meetings – truly equal sales quotas for everyone

With strict round robin, the next available rep on the queue is identified and that rep’s calendar is shown for prospects to book a meeting instantly.

This happens as soon as a lead submits a demo request form. 

Strict round robin is a great way to ensure every rep gets their equal share of leads to work with. This is especially perfect for orgs that don’t have too many role variations in the sales team.

The drawback with strict round robin though is the calendar availability. Since it shows only one rep’s meeting slots after they submit a form, some prospects might not be available for the same slots as the rep.

2.  Flexible round robin meetings – Give prospects the choice to look up SDR availability and pick a slot

Unlike strict round robin, flexible round robin shows the combined slots of every rep in the team.

This gives your leads a lot more time slots to choose from.

In RevenueHero, if there are more than 1 rep available for a particular calendar slot, then the person with less number of meetings assigned is given the current meeting.

A screenshot that explains RevenueHero’s Strict Round Robin and Flexible Round Robin setup for meeting distribution.
How Strict Round Robin and Flexible Round Robin meeting distribution work in RevenueHero.

The downside however is that it blows sales quotas out of the water. SDRs who are available in a particular time slot might keep getting the meeting; while others don’t. Sales leaders may have to manually recalibrate some of the meetings to bring back balance.

Also, in companies where deal sizes are huge and sales cycles are longer, SDRs are heavily dependent on incentives. And flexible round robin might take that away if there's a disproportionate amount of gap between meetings or leads assigned.

3. Weighted round robin meetings – Customize sales quotas for reps based on requirements

Weighted round robin meeting gives you the luxury of assigning meetings based on sales quotas for different reps or sales teams. A few scenarios where weighted round robin can come in handy for your sales quota:

  • You can assign 2X more meetings to a specialist over other reps. 
  • Increase or decrease sales quotas and meetings for reps based on their performance. 
  • Fix poor quality of leads by manually crediting meetings back to reps who didn’t receive qualified prospects.

4. Collective round robin meetings – Club your AE and SE calendars for the first meeting

Collective round robin assigns a meeting to both your AE and SE when a prospect books a demo. This is especially useful for products that are technical and require a technical demo with an SE. 

Instead of putting prospects through a mandatory discovery call with a sales rep followed by a separate technical call just for the SE to demo the product, collective round robin helps you bring them early on in the buyer journey and save weeks of extended sales cycles. 

A screenshot of RevenueHero’s Collective Round Robin setup.
Collective Round Robin setup in RevenueHero.

Irrespective of the round robin type, you should be able to easily recalibrate meetings for different scenarios

Yes, round robin does let you figure out a lead distribution workflow that works best for your sales team. But there are other factors team-level factors that you need to account for as a sales leader:

  • No shows from prospects – credit back their sales quota until the prospect shows up for a meeting.
  • Meeting cancellations from prospects – track cancellations and credit back your reps’ quota. 
  • Sales reps on vacation – compensate for their meeting quota once they’re back.
  • A mid-month or mid-quarter hire – recalibrate meetings on a prorated basis based on the remaining days or keep the quota as it is .

Isn’t it a lot of decisions to take and processes to configure on top of your round robin workflow? 

That’s why meeting recalibration is non-negotiable as too many factors need to conspire for a qualified meeting to take place. 

Keeping track of everything on a need-to basis or when reps complain would only make this an even more broken process.

But with tools like RevenueHero, you can also recalibrate or credit meetings to your sales reps automatically by:

  • Removing sales reps from meeting distribution when they’re on a vacation (and make up for the meetings they missed once they’re back to get their fair share).
  • Crediting sales meetings back to reps when they mark (or when the tool auto-detects) a meeting as “no show”.
  • Credit back meetings over meeting cancellations automatically.
  • Balancing the workload of a newly hired sales rep based on factors like days left in the month.
A screenshot of RevenueHero’s meeting calibration workflows in round robin meetings.
RevenueHero’s automated meeting calibration in round robin meetings.

Negative impact of fair distribution on your business and how to solve them

As any sales process, fair distribution comes with its own share of brickbats. But not without workarounds from meeting distribution tools.

1. Best performing reps are clubbed together with everyone else

With fair distribution (or strict round robin), your best performing reps don’t get more meetings than the rest. Their efforts may not be fairly incentivized for going the extra mile and bringing more business.

The best way to solve this is by setting up a flexible round robin with equal weightage for every rep – and get the flexibility of increasing the sales quota of performing reps whenever needed.

2. Reps who did initial outreach may not get the same lead 

Full-stack AEs do the entire grunt of building relationships with outreach and getting the first touch in events. 

So when the prospect comes in as an inbound lead later on, they’re thrown into the round robin mix with no credit to the AE who made first contact. Not to mention, they have the best context and camaraderie to move the deal forward.

Tools like RevenueHero provide lead to account matching, which is implemented over and above your round robin distribution rules (so that your usual lead assignment flow isn’t compromised).

  • Match to the owner of existing contacts: This rule assigns the prospect to an AE if it’s an existing contact they’ve handled before. 
  • Match to the owner of similar contacts:  Here, the contact is matched to an AE who owns a related contact that is similar to them or has handled someone similar recently. 
  • Match to the owner of a company: The contact is matched to an AE who owns the entire contact list of leads from a company. 

PS. RevenueHero can match to lead/contact/account objects, in case you were wondering. ;)

The only prerequisite for this is that the SDR or AE making the first outreach needs to mark themselves as the owner in your CRM.

A screenshot of RevenueHero’s lead-to-account matching rules.
Setting up lead-to-account matching in RevenueHero.

How are sales quotas determined by external circumstances?

Sales leaders approach sales quotas not only from their team structure but also external factors such as market dynamics and quarterly goals. Here are some of the key factors that determine sales quota.

1. Sudden spikes in inbound volume are demanding on your existing cadence 

We’ve all been there. Marketing comes up with a kickass campaign; a happy customer gives you a shoutout on LinkedIn. And your inbound meetings go on overdrive. 

B2B companies sometimes fail to act on the uptick in qualified inbound leads since they don’t have the processes in place to effectively manage and convert these leads into sales opportunities.

In this scenario, sales quotas may also be structured to incentivize rapid response times, lead engagement, and conversion rates, ensuring that the influx of leads translates into pipeline and revenue.

2. Product expansion requires sales to tap more into the first customer circle

If you’ve observed your company launch a new product or try to expand into new markets, you’d understand the challenge of driving adoption and generating revenue from launch initiatives.

Sales quotas are revisited to align with the objectives of new products and features, with a special focus on driving adoption from the existing customers. 

Quotas can be made dynamic segmented for different sales teams handling different target segments, ensuring that resources are allocated effectively to support expansion efforts.

3. Customer churn and market downturn

This is usually caused by a downward trend in sales. It could be because of the global economy and other disruptive trends in the market, like longer sales cycles. Previously established quotas may not be bringing as many qualified leads or pipeline.

To address this challenge, sales quotas may be adjusted to reflect the need for rapid recovery by re-engaging with churned customers and closed-lost opportunities. Quotas may be set at higher levels than usual to accelerate sales efforts to offset reduced revenue and get closer to the projected pipeline. 

4. Increased competition and thinning product differentiation

In a market where competition is intensifying due to new entrants or aggressive pricing strategies, sales leaders might be forced to adjust their sales quotas. 

With increased competition, targets may get reduced to focus on qualitatively addressing a smaller but high-intent and high-value pool of prospects. Which means, more focus on value differentiation, customer retention, or upselling to existing clients.

Find a balance between what’s fair for your GTM and your reps’ sales quota 

While sales quota boils down to the revenue goals of your company, not taking fair distribution into account might end up detrimental to your sales team’s performances.

For instance, bigger companies might depend more on activity or volume-based quota. Say 50 calls, 100 outbound emails, and 20 meetings booked per month might be a baseline to hit an added pipeline of $20K. 

But inbound is where the question of lead quality and leads assigned come in. The best you can do is free your sales reps off manual qualification and route their meeting requests instantly to the right rep to help them move faster towards sales quota attainment.

Revenuehero is fast and intuitive, custom-built for modern sales teams.
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