Sales Targets – Two Reasons You Won’t Hit This Years

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Sales Targets – Two Reasons You Won’t Hit This Years

Hitting Sales Targets should be one of the top goals for any Professional Sales person, yet survey after survey every year shows the majority of sales teams in every industry don’t hit sales targets.  Why are so many people struggling to hit sales targets?   Ask any VP of Sales or Business Owner if you can take their sales team out of the field for sales training and they become extremely reluctant as their people are so “busy”.  If they are all so busy then why do so many not make their sales targets?   Being busy for most Sales Professionals means they are stuck on the “Hamster Wheel” of sales, spinning their wheels and going nowhere fast – here is why.

1)  Being Busy is Not the Same as Being Effective

Quite simply there is a huge misunderstanding between being Busy and being Effective.  They are not the same thing and never will be.  The Challenger survey by the CEB of 6,000 Sales Professionals defined “Hard Worker” as one of the five types who excel at making more sales calls and more sales visits than any of the other types they surveyed.  Their summary however was this person was unlikely to be a top performer.  In Sales more than any other job, it is easy to not only to appear to be busy, but actually be busy.  The problem however is many Sales Professionals are not hitting sales targets, because they are simply busy doing the wrong things and or, doing the wrong things at the wrong times.  As discussed in our post on the Top 4 Reasons Companies Don’t Hit Them, many  Sales Professionals simply, a) either do not know or do not employ basic selling skills,  b) move something forward in their sales pipeline or c) move something out of their sales pipeline.  Focus on this for 90 days and remove all the ‘Displacement Activity; and hitting your sales targets will be easy.  To give you an idea of how destructive displacement activity is (the art of finding something else to do, instead of what you should be doing), I once had a Field Sales Person confess to cleaning his fridge one morning when working from home in preference to making sales calls.  He was certainly busy, but it was no surprise that he never hit his sales targets.  Some less obvious displacement activity you might want to check are Sales Professionals writing proposals that never close.  Sales Professionals getting involved in Customer Service, Operations, Finance – in fact they get involved with everything except closing deals.  Lastly, sales people who refuse to follow any sales process.  These people prefer to “wing it” and revel in not preparing for meetings, not planning and generally being disorganized.

2)  Change – or lack of it.

Change is difficult for everyone, especially sales people, and changing sales behaviors and techniques are probably the most difficult of all.  But unless we change, the laws of probability tell us that if we didn’t hit our sales target last year, then we won’t hit our target this year.  Unless we change, the chances are we will be doing the same things as last year – the same things that didn’t work last year. The reality is that the world is changing whether we like it or not, and we can either choose to embrace change or resist change.  The real question is, “Is Hitting Our Sales Targets important enough to us?”  Those that answer “Yes” are by no means guaranteed to hit their sales targets but they will at least have a chance.  What sales strategies have you changed from last year?


If hitting Sales Targets is truly important to you, simply ask yourself “Are my people and I, busy or effective and what are we doing different to last year?”. Unfortunately when we miss our sales targets once and then change nothing, we are sending a message to the sales team that it is acceptable.  This is the first step to developing a culture of “satisfactory under performance”.  We need to be so dissatisfied with missing our targets that we take action, change things, improve things, learn new things, so that we never miss our sales targets again.  This applies to Sales People, Sales Managers, VP’s of Sales and Business Owners.  Take ownership and responsibility for your own actions.  Be the one sales person in the whole team who hits target, be the one Sales Manager whose team hits their target and be the one Sales VP or Business Owner who bucks the industry trend.