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Sales planning like it’s 1999?

Take the guesswork out of target setting.


For business-to-business (B2B) sales leaders, planning has not changed since the late ‘90s. The highly subjective, rearview approach that’s still used today produces targets that are disconnected from the reality of sales performance.

What’s going on? Many CSOs simply find it hard to reject the status quo. They continue to:

  • Overpay for under-performance.

  • Create what amounts to a “quota lottery” for their sellers.

  • Rely on guesswork to set quotas.


Sales Planning Overview Equation

Key Findings

Quotas are a big deal. In our experience, up to 90 percent of companies in certain industries employ quota-based compensation models. Additionally, quotas inform or control nearly 25 percent of an organization’s total sales-related spending.

Yet, there are many indicators that the link between quota attainment and business performance is broken.

  • While 63 percent of sales reps meet or exceed their quotas, their companies achieve, on average, just 90 percent of their revenue targets.

  • As much as 20 percent of sales attainment can be attributed to lucky sellers who weren’t directly involved in the deal.

  • There’s typically a 20 percent gap between what businesses achieve and what they pay for.

  • We estimate that poor quota setting causes companies to spend 6 to 10 percent more than they should.

Stuck in the '90s


With digital tools, analytics and a new mindset that values accuracy over efficiency, sales leaders can truly understand the market potential and align the right people to the right opportunities.

To close the gap between the sales performance they achieve and the sales performance they pay for, we recommend CSOs:

  • Commit to intelligent quotas by investing in digital solutions and predictive analytics.

  • Consider augmenting their workforce with digital tools, advanced analytics or robotics.

  • Overcome their teams’ resistance to intelligent target setting with strong change management and advocacy programs

Learn more about Accenture Strategy

Who we are

Jason helps global organizations plan, architect and deploy innovative and highly agile sales solutions that drive more profitable growth. With nearly two decades of experience, he specializes in sales spend optimization, price and profit optimization, execution and operations excellence, sales talent enablement, and digital selling and dynamic channels. Jason is based in Los Angeles.

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Mark works closely with executives in the Communications, High Tech, Banking, Insurance and Retail industries to design and implement strategies aimed at maximizing the effectiveness of their sales and channel programs. With two decades of consulting experience, he has developed deep skills in sales optimization and transformation, incentive plan design, quota setting and incentive analytics. Mark is based in Seattle.

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