Is It Better to Hit Quota or Go On Vacation?
Updated: Aug 10
The overwhelming majority of PTO policies are a joke for sales professionals. In the midst of the great resignation, now is the time for forward-thinking organizations to start examining the double standards that their policies create.
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A one-shoe-fits-all approach to PTO
As sales leaders, we’ve all been there.
HR leadership or perhaps the CEO herself gathers the C-suite to talk about how people aren’t using enough PTO. Negative conversations by the water cooler (and perhaps some less than positive exit interviews and Glassdoor comments) have confirmed the obvious – people are burning out.
The best case scenario is that they’re disengaged and not nearly as productive as they could be. Worst case? Well, they’re about to sign a new contract with a competitor.
Inevitably, a company “downtime day,” PTO push, or sweeping new policy is conceptualized and launched. And it’s great for everyone – everyone but the sales team…
Salespeople are PEOPLE too.
And, their jobs are high-stress jobs. Find me someone more in need of a break than an SDR crushing the phones for eight hours a day or an enterprise account executive living under the constant stress of a quarterly quota.
We certainly acknowledge that the nature of a sales career is such that earning potential is often prioritized over work-life-balance. But, even the most dedicated quota killer needs a break every now and then – and we shouldn’t have to feel like taking one could put our job security at risk.
I recently posted a poll on LinkedIn asking sales professionals how they felt about taking PTO, and a resounding 97% of us responded that we worry about taking paid time off because it could have negative personal ramifications including missed quotas, reduced earnings, or even job loss. In many cases these concerns are exacerbated by policies that sound attractive, but in reality result in people taking less paid time off.
Forced vacations, four-day work weeks, summer Fridays, and other “stunt benefits” all tend to result in lost compensation and an increased likelihood of missing quotas (and in turn, losing compensation), and that’s before we even get into the number one wolf-in-sheep’s clothing for sales professionals - unlimited PTO. Are you kidding me? “Take as much time off as you want,” they say. (Theoretically amazing, but kind of absurd in practice, given that the “sales math” typically used to build quotas doesn’t take into account ANY time off for reps – I know this first-hand having participated in – and regrettably been an accomplice at - many a strategic planning session).
What's more is that since there are rarely minimum use requirements, this wonderful policy won’t even let people accrue unused days so at least they would see the value of those hours in a final paycheck when departing the company.
I think it’s time we started calling these “flashy” PTO policies what they really are – an attempt by companies to save on accrual costs and actually deter employees from using PTO when they want to use it.
Data shows that people working for companies with unlimited PTO take fewer days than their peers at companies with more traditional programs
What can we do to turn PTO policies from closed/lost to closed/won for sales teams?
It’s really not that difficult.
However, adjusting policies to retain (and get optimal performance from) your sales team will require some fresh perspective, an open mind, and an acknowledgement that PTO shouldn’t be addressed with a “one size fits all” mindset.
At a recent CFO roundtable, hosted by Sorbet at its New York City headquarters, SCRECTrade’s CFO Michael Greten noted “Variable compensation, learning and development, recruiting process – these initiatives all vary appropriately to address departmental need, but PTO policy seems to be stuck in the stone age.
Maybe it’s time for companies to start thinking about a more nuanced approach – and where better to begin than with the team tasked with generating a company’s revenue?”
Consider these initiatives and policies to optimize PTO for your sales team:
Pro-rate quota when sales reps take time off
Promote a micro-break culture that encourages frequent “long weekends” as a way to recharge
Implement a “buddy system” on sales opportunities so a secondary rep can cover steps on in-process deals when the primary owner is on vacation
Reduce quotas during the summer and promote PTO utilization during this expected period of rest and relaxation
Utilize Sorbet so your sellers can get value for the time they can’t or don’t want to use by exchanging it for cash
How Sorbet provides a win-win PTO solution for employers and employees
Sorbet revolutionizes the concept of PTO by allowing employees to utilize their PTO the “smart” way, by using it how they want — and when they want.
Sorbet solves ongoing PTO solution issues by transforming outdated, antiquated systems into a winning solution by:
Lowering accrued liabilities and saving companies money
Allowing employees to instantly cash out any unused PTO instead of letting it go to waste
Offering ideal pre-approved PTO dates for employees
If your current PTO system isn’t cutting it, click here and schedule your free Sorbet demo today.
Schedule a demo today and learn how you can have your dessert and eat it too.
(Learn more about Sorbet here and see how our platform can help to retain top talent AND address a painful liability on your company’s balance sheet!)