What is sandbagging in sales?

Palette Team

In sales, sandbagging is when sales reps intentionally delay a sale from closing. Sandbagging is generally frowned upon. It can happen when a sales rep has already met their quota for the current period, and wants the sale to count towards their quota for the next period, helping ensure that they don’t miss their quota in the next period. 

In other situations, sales reps may sandbag to lower expectations for future performance. Sandbagging isn’t limited to individual reps, and can occur or even be encouraged at the team or organization level. In this context, sandbagging may be used as a way to manage expectations, avoid pressure from leadership, or influence sales forecasting and company strategic planning. 

The problem with sandbagging is that it delays revenue and presents a diminished picture of demand to the business, which can lead to skewed analytics, inaccurate forecasts and thus a wide range of ramifications for the company. 

Sales leaders can prevent sandbagging by using Spiffs, which can incentivize sales reps to close deals even after hitting quota for a particular period. At the team level, it’s important for executive leadership to work together with sales managers to set realistic targets; this can help reduce the pressure to sandbag at the team level and help ensure that leadership has a good understanding of market conditions.

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