Attainment is not everything

Tracy Young
April 25, 2024
Apr 25, 2024
Attainment is not everything


  • Sales quota attainment alone is an incomplete measure of sales reps.
  • Evaluating sales reps on multiple dimensions over time, including win rate, close cycle, pipeline generation, encourages the right behaviors that drive business growth.
  • Consistency is key. Great reps get something done every day. 
  • Understanding segment level performance helps identify patterns that can inform new strategies and tactics.

Sales quota attainment is something most good sales managers track weekly.  Quota attainment measures a sales rep performance to goal as a percentage. While sales quota attainment is often looked at as the ultimate measure of sales success because compensation and sales club is almost always tied to that number, it’s important for us to remember that it’s an incomplete picture of evaluating sales reps. 

For example, a rep can close a big expansion opportunity, get to 90% attainment and check out for the rest of the year, which would be bad for business. Or a company, for a variety of reasons might have low sales productivity across the board that’s completely outside of a rep’s control.  For example, sales reps, with yearly changes to their accounts and territory assignment, might inherit unreliable pipelines. This leaves them scrambling to verify deals and build new business. Even top performers can experience dips when dealing with these changes. There are opportunity costs to evaluating reps myopically through a sales quota attainment.  

I would much rather have a consistent, predictable sales team that works hard every day than a rep who slams Red Bulls at the end of each quarter and closes a few big deals to get to their number. The best reps will achieve their quota target while continually improving their conversion rates, sales cycle, average deal sizes, and building pipeline for the future. Even if there is not enough pipeline, they do something every day to control their own destiny. They talk to prospects and customers, learn more about the product, and share soundbites and objection handling with other reps. This consistency in work pays off in the long run and is not reflected in sales quota attainment alone.

In TigerEye, you'll see sparklines, which are mini graphs, in the Team tab. These sparklines give you a quick look at what's happening every day and their progress over time. Seeing regular activity is good. It means people are consistently working and engaging with potential deals. If you see a big deal closed, followed by a flatline, that is usually a red flag. It could mean there's not enough ongoing effort or a healthy number of deals in the pipeline or they’re interviewing somewhere else.

TigerEye also helps you evaluate your sales reps through Rep Compare. It not only stack ranks a team by attainment but also by several dimensions such as win rate and average deal size, or actual and pipeline, and more. These micro-metrics reveal underlying growth opportunities, such as ways to increase the average sales price, and can indicate when a teammate might be disengaged, as shown by a flat sparkline. While attainment metrics tell you what’s been achieved, these micro-metrics show you how it’s been done over time.

TigerEye Rep Comparison

It's also important to evaluate and notice business trends at the segmentation level. If a whole team within a segment is performing well or poorly, leadership must be curious and ask why this is happening. Are they doing something smart that all other segments should be doing?  Or is there a competitor eating your lunch in this specific territory? Understanding segment performance helps managers identify successful patterns, set realistic goals and KPIs, and fairly manage promotions and pay raises over time.

Using a variety of ways to measure success helps build a supportive and effective sales environment. This way, the whole range of sales efforts and results are valued, helping both the company and its employees grow.

Tracy Young

Tracy Young

Tracy Young, the co-founder and CEO of TigerEye and former leader of PlanGrid, has a proven track record in scaling tech enterprises, notably leading PlanGrid to a $875 million acquisition by Autodesk in 2018. She is recognized in Forbes’ Top 50 Women in Tech, has spoken at prestigious events like TEDWomen 2020, and holds a B.S. in construction engineering management.