How to Make Sure the On Target Earnings is Attainable for a new Sales Position?
When sales professionals come to us about seeking a new opportunity, the most pressing question that we hear as sales recruiters is regarding on-target earnings (OTE) potential and whether or not they will be attainable in a new position. And while businesses looking to hire new employees always have a pay range in mind for specific sales positions, job seekers also expect to learn what their compensation will look like when they meet their sales goals.
Is the OTE Too Good To Be True?
Job seekers often reach out to sales staffing agencies and executive recruiters like Treeline to understand if an on-target earnings expectation is achievable, making the decision to accept a new position more complicated when the financial aspect is unclear. So how do you know if the OTE is realistic for a potential sales position you are considering? Let’s take a look at a few ways to uncover the truth about a job with a fantastic compensation package to see if it is too good to be true or if you are unlikely to meet your sales goals and not earn that appealing income bump with a potential new job.
Evaluating the OTE Potential of an Offer
When a business decides that it is time to hire sales reps, budgeting for top candidates that can meet or exceed sales goals is usually a priority. And part of the hiring process is determining what type of sales goals a candidate can expect to be given as well as how their compensation will be structured. But each company may configure their expectations a little bit differently, making it challenging for candidates to compare “apples to apples” when weighing their offers between companies. Candidates need to be able to evaluate a sales job offer objectively to understand how the total compensation package works in conjunction with the specific OTE potential for that sales territory. Executive search firms and sales recruiters can help with this sometimes tricky process because they see these concerns with most, if not all, of their sales candidates. The best tool that an applicant has is to use their sales skills to ask the right questions that will lead them to understand if the on-target earning potential of a sales job is actually achievable or not.
- What is the quota?
The first question that candidates should ask when pursuing sales positions is to simply learn what the quota entails. Sales goals should be provided to candidates that are unique to the position and may include specific goals for retaining business, signing new business and even revisiting lost business. The quota should be presented with concrete data so that a candidate can understand if the quota is incremental each year or quarter or if growth is measured and projected in some other way.
- What is the average sales size?
Candidates should also learn about the size of an average sale so that together with other data they can calculate how many sales are needed to reach stated sales goals. Knowing the average sales size can also help you to better understand how the quota for the potential position’s territory was established.
- What is the sales cycle?
If you are pursuing a position in a new industry, learning about the sales cycle is critical to getting a handle on the OTE since the cycle can vary widely between industries. Be sure to clarify the average or typical sales cycle length with this job and industry so you can take that information into consideration when assessing the on-target earnings potential for a job.
- Tell me about your current sales team.
While not technically a question, sales professionals can and should ask pointed questions about the current sales team to understand how well a business manages its sales goals with its current sales reps.
- How many sales representatives are on the team? Find out generally who would make up your peers and how closely you would work with them. The size of the team can provide hints as to how the company approaches setting sales quotas as well as help you determine how well the team is equipped to meet or exceed them.
- How many hit their quota last year? Request a concrete number for the previous year and any other recent years if possible. If the percentage is low, inquire about any circumstances that may have contributed like adjustments in the company, industry-wide activity or personnel changes.
- How many are on target to hit their quota this year? Knowing if the same, more or less are likely to hit their quota can help you to evaluate the likelihood of hitting your own OTE with this company in this position.
Qualifying the OTE
Once you have solid information about a company’s quota, the size and cycle of sales and have heard the details about how the current sales team is performing, you are ready to decide if the current OTE potential is achievable. Putting together all of the information you have can help you clarify if a company’s sales expectations are reasonable and if this job opportunity is the right fit for you when considering its earnings potential. As a sales professional, you are driven to close sales and hit your goals so partnering with a company that provides its sales teams with the tools and motivation to reach those targets is key to making the right professional move. If you are struggling with assessing the OTE in your job search, reach out to the executive recruiters at Treeline for free advice about matching up with the right sales job for you.