Sales Continuity: A RevOps Checklist for Rep Leave Management
When a sales rep goes on leave, it can throw an entire team off track. Long absences such as parental leave are difficult to prepare for during the annual sales planning process. Even short vacations can create a lot of extra work for Ops. For that reason, it is essential to have a playbook that allows field managers and RevOps to make quick adjustments and keep the team running smoothly in another rep’s absence.
This blog outlines the key items that belong on that checklist.
1. Quota Relief
Quota relief is the adjustment or reduction of sales targets or quotas granted to sales representatives during specific circumstances, such as leaves or extenuating situations, to alleviate pressure and ensure fairness. In the case of leaves of absence, the specific approach to quota relief may vary depending on the organization's policies and practices. Both the rep on leave and their team could be eligible for quota relief. This could involve redistributing targets among the remaining team members, adjusting the absent rep’s quotas proportionally based on the duration of leave, or some other change that ensures quota is attainable as originally intended.
- Evaluate the impact of the sales rep's absence on overall team targets.
- Determine the need for quota adjustment to maintain fairness and motivation.
- Communicate revised quotas to the team and ensure clarity on expectations.
- Implement quota relief in your revops platform .
2. Temporary Coverage
Temporary coverage is assigning a rep’s territory or accounts to other reps while the original owner is on leave. A common default practice is to simply assign the rep’s accounts to their manager. This approach, however, often backfires as the manager becomes overburdened managing accounts and cannot spend adequate time coaching their team. Rather than assigning all the accounts to a manager, best practice is to parse the accounts out. For example, distribute accounts with open opportunities to other reps. The remaining accounts can be given to a manager, who can redistribute them when new opportunities get created.
One pitfall of temporary coverage is that a temporary owner may ignore an account if they know it will soon not be theirs any longer. For this reason, managers may use a propensity score to surface high-potential accounts to a rep and may come up with SPIFFs to incentivize the temporary owner to engage with the account. Lastly, there should be a holdout policy for transitioning the account back to the original owner, which considers the activity the temporary rep conducted in the owner’s absence. As with any changes in account ownership, it is important to be clear what the conditions of temporary ownership are, particularly how crediting and quota will be impacted.
- Identify team members capable of providing temporary coverage during the leave.
- Assess their skills, experience, and availability for effective coverage.
- Define roles, responsibilities, and tasks to be delegated during the absence.
- Update assignment workflows in CRM or other tool, ideally in a way that can factor in the start and end date of the temporary coverage
3. Documentation and Process Updates
When a sales rep goes on leave, it's important to ensure that key information is documented and up to date. This helps the temporary coverage team and ensures a seamless handover back to the original rep upon their return. If the rep hasn’t already done so, they will need to update fields on each of the active opportunities. Additionally, to make it easier for the rep giving temporary coverage to view the details, consider running a report or putting the information in a single document. Key contacts, most recent activities, and notes about next steps are the minimum that should be included.
Additionally, update processes or workflows to reflect the coverage arrangement. Let cross-functional teams know what the temporary rep(s) will be covering and for what duration. Ensure that the rep’s inbox is being monitored and set up rules for who is responsible for triaging those messages.
- Confirm that the rep going on leave has updated all their opportunities
- Write out key details of the rep's accounts and create a reference document.
- Review and update sales processes to reflect the temporary coverage arrangement.
- Schedule handover meetings and provide any necessary training for the temporary coverage team.
- Establish a schedule for regular check-ins between the temporary owners and the absent rep, if appropriate.
Because sales reps are compensated differently than a regular salaried employee, it is complicated to ensure that they are treated fairly when they go on leaves of absence. Additionally, because the time-sensitive nature of moving deals through the funnel, it’s essential to prevent lag from happening when they go on leave. For these reasons, Ops should have a clear checklist that helps them efficiently and fairly support the rep and their team.