Does it look like you or your team will miss quota this year? Do you want to know why?
Depending on which survey you read, somewhere between 40%-50% of sales reps miss their quota.
Here are some of the reasons given:
-Not enough leads or bad leads
-Not enough prospecting
-Lack of training
-Ineffective management and coaching
I have been thinking it was “lack of good qualifying skills.” Until two weeks ago.
Friends had my wife and I over for a little holiday gathering. The booze was flowing, along with good conversation and a couple games of Euchre and Cards Against Humanity.
There were a handful of sales reps from various companies at the Euchre table. “How’d everyone end up this year,” the dealer asked. “I usually try to keep at about 101%-102% of goal, you know, so I don’t get screwed the next year,” he elaborated. Everyone got a chuckle and everyone else shared similar sentiments.
Except me. I crushed quota.
I could point to any of the things above (except for maybe unrealistic goals and bad hiring) and say they have applied to me at some point in time in my career. Heck, I still struggle with prospecting enough, I still screw up qualification and I definitely don’t get enough qualified leads.
But my goals are bigger than my company goals.
And that’s why I think reps don’t hit their numbers. They take on the company goals as their own. That quota becomes their “why.” And they focus only on that. They do not have goals that are personally meaningful to them. They haven’t established their “why.” When you do that, when you establish the reason or reasons that you get up every morning and they mean something to you, then all the things above become irrelevant. If you fail to prospect, if you let yourself fail because you have a bad manager, then you are letting yourself down, not your company.
One could argue that coming up with meaningful goals comes with age and responsibility. In my mid 20’s, my “why” was a new pair of Allen Edmonds or a well tailored suit. But now, I think about finishing our basement, retiring to a beach somewhere, helping my wife get a masters, putting my kids through college so they don’t have to struggle and take out loans like I did. I think about material stuff too, the Maserati Ghibli haunts my dreams these days.
I assign dollar amounts to these goals and timelines of when I want to achieve. As my friend Anthony Iannarino will tell you, people forget how the Law of Attraction really works. You need action. You can’t just come up with great goals and then sit on the sidelines hoping for it all to happen. But on the flip side, if you are just pounding the pavement, dialing for dollars, and blasting out emails and your only goal is to make quota, I think you are in just as much trouble. Maybe not this year, maybe not next year, but eventually.
It’s personally meaningful goals that will give you the gut check you desperately need when all hope is lost.
I work my way backwards to determine how much I need to make, when I need to make it by. I use my average sale and close ratio as a barometer and reverse engineer the whole thing all the way to the number of prospecting calls and emails I should make. I use a prioritization methodology called the Project 200, shown to me by Carole Mahoney and Rick Roberge. But before you get started on individual goals and execution, I urge you to stop and think about your “why.” So many people just end up in sales or get pushed into because they work in a technical field and are “good with people.” They have never taken the time to think about the difference they want to make in other people’s lives or their own for that matter.
Hitting plan in many companies will put you in the top 13% of earners in the United States. Not bad. Hitting plan in some of the top sales roles will put you closer to the top 4%-5%. Would you believe me if I told there are sales reps out there, carrying a bag for someone else making $1M/yr or more? They exist. Do you think they sandbag deals or try to keep to 101-102% of plan?
Need help starting? Here is the same resource I use to create my personally meaningful goals and plan to get there. The worksheets can be a little overwhelming at first, so you may want to have a conversation with the team at Unbound Growth first.
One thought on “The Real Reason Sales Reps Don’t Hit Their Numbers”
I’m not sure they sandbag deals as much as the executives do. It was a long time ago, but I still remember 15 years ago I was growing a corporation at 15% – 20% and the industry standard was 3%. They told me to slow down. They were scared it was a one time deal and it would set the new bar.
The execs wanted the growth but they were afraid of the board. Most Board of Directors and Wall Street analysts are why executives sand bag it. Luckily I did this 4 years in a row so no one needed to worry. I was capped out and never received the comp for the growth I brought. When you make it rain more than the CEO CFO COO it’s time to leave unless they are willing to pay you what they make or more than what they make.
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