Why are sales people generally the only employees in a company given a quota and held accountable to meeting the number? People can talk all day long about key performance indicators (KPIs), but the only real KPI that matters is revenue and what role you played in generating sales.  Every functional area in an organization plays a role in sales. Engineering or development is tasked with enhancing today’s products and building quality products that customer’s need for the future. Product management is responsible for determining what the customer and the market needs and translating those in to valid product requirements. Customer service is responsible for supporting the customers and earning their loyalty for repeat business and positive recommendations to other prospective customers. Finance and Administration manages the finances, ensures that bills and employees are paid and that money is collected on time from customers.

At the end of the day, I submit that all employees and functional areas should be given quantifiable sales goals and rewarded primarily on that basis. If the company fails to meet their sales goals, how can you justify awarding bonuses based on other goals? That perpetuates the cultural bias that sales is solely responsible for revenue generation and the only group held accountable.  The most successful companies have that hard wired sales DNA where everyone in the company is marching as one cohesive sales machine. What are some signals to look for that demonstrate your company sales culture? Ask employees from different functional areas other than sales what the quarterly, annual and year to date (YTD) sales goals and results are? What percentage of bonuses are based on sales performance across the different functional areas in your company? How does your functional area and do you support sales?

The answers are very telling and will clearly show if you have a unified sales culture or not. Assigning sales quotas across the company and holding people accountable for meeting those quotas is paramount to succeeding in the competitive business world that we live in today.