Are you considering a new sales opportunity or just evaluating your current situation? The most important factor by far is the percentage of reps currently hitting quota.

This metric will tell you almost everything about an opportunity including product, culture, advancement opportunity, earning potential and others.

Knowing this percentage makes it easy to evaluate the company without asking about every aspect of the business. If a low percentage of reps are at or above quota, there might be some underlying issues that are totally out of your control and/or difficult to uncover in an interview process. If a high percentage of reps are at or above quota, it’s very likely a solid overall opportunity.

If a low percentage of your current team is currently hitting quota, there are probably better opportunities out there for you – especially if you are one of the few above plan.

What constitutes a solid percentage of reps at quota?

When it comes to tech sales, 60% of salespeople achieved quota last year according to a recent Harvard Business Review survey. I believe that serves as a good cut-off point when considering a new opportunity. There are many factors, but anything below 60% probably requires some extra research. The actual breakdown by percentage is shown in the chart on the right.

Additional thoughts:

  • Prioritize this information over items like base salary, or what the top earner made last year. These are good to know but can also be misleading.
  • Start-ups and earlier stage companies may have a lower percentage of sales reps at quota, or may have no data at all. These companies often compensate for this risk with some amount of equity. Extra research is highly recommended in these situations.
  • If it’s very early in the process and/or a company is unwilling to talk about OTE, you can always ask about quota amount. Once you have this information you can work backwards to the OTE.
  • Some companies operate in several different cities/regions, and it’s important to find out how the sales reps in your area are performing.

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