Dear SaaStr: How Do I Set the Revenue Goals for Next Year?

Q: Dear SaaStr: How Do I Set the Revenue Goals for Next Year?

I try to model 3 overall plans for the year:  C-90, C-60, and C-10, not just for the sales team, but the whole company.

The C is for “Confidence”.  The odds you think you can hit it, from the CEO’s perspective.  Here’s how to build them:

The 3 Financial Plans You Need for Next Year: C-90, C-60 and C-10

The base plan, the plan I use for the overall sales and revenue goals, is the C-60 plan.  A plan I as CEO/founder/etc. have a 60% confidence we’ll hit.

And if we hit the C-10 plan, everyone should make serious money.

The C-90 plan (the one you should make almost certainly, unless you really screw up) I only use for financial planning with the CFO.  We use that for worst-ish case cash planning … so we don’t overspend.  I don’t directly share that with the team or externally.

So:

  • First, figure out the C-60 Plan.
  • Then, from that, figure out quotas that are realistic, that at least 60% of the sales team can hit.  You don’t want quotas no one can hit.  That’s demoralizing and counter-productive.  Use your top-performing reps to figure out what a Pretty Good rep can do.
  • Pay them market if they hit these quotas.
  • Pay them real bank if in the end, you hit the C-10 plan.  And focus that back on comp for blowing out the quota.

How I do it, at 20,000 feet, at least.

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic answer)

Published on October 26, 2021

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