The Top 10 Sales Excuses and How to Help Reps Meet Quota
The Top 10 Sales Excuses
When sales targets are missed or when big deals are lost, it can be a challenge to sift through the Sales Excuses to identify the top reasons sales reps miss quota. When we ask our clients, the top 10 sales excuses for missing quota are:
- Lack of qualified leads
- Unrealistic quota for my territory or target client account list
- Inferior products or solutions compared to the competition
- Inappropriate pricing expectations or flexibility
- Poor sales leadership and management
- Ineffective sales training regarding products, solutions or solution selling skills
- Inconsistent sales methodologies and processes
- Lack of marketing support and misalignment
- Poor customer service and support
- Weak sales enablement tools and technologies
I’m sure you have either experienced or heard some form of these sales excuses before.
In and Out of Your Control
Of course, there are acceptable reasons high performing sales reps can miss quota based upon factors that are out of their control. But when you dig deeper, the responsibility for failure typically rests squarely on areas under the control of sales. If you are missing targets, it’s time to take a close look at what’s going on and how to fix it from two perspectives.
Is the fault with the individual sales rep or with the overall sales culture in which they are working? Sometimes it’s a combination.
1. The Individual Sales Rep
First, be sure your sales reps have the right attitude and that their head is in the game. To be successful, they must have a positive outlook about their job, the company, the sales strategy and their ability to perform within your sales culture.
Secondly, make sure that they are performing the right sales activities at the right level of frequency. The most successful sales reps frequently and consistently focus on executing the right sales activities for their specific sales strategy and value proposition. Be sure that the folks on your sales team are really suited to the job of selling what you offer.
Next make sure your sales reps have the right skills to excel in your specific sales culture for your unique go-to-market sales strategy. While you will want to define what skills matter most for your specific situation, in general the most successful salespeople are goal-oriented, self-motivated and customer-centric. They
- Have a passion for helping their customers
- Understand that long-term relationships are built on trust and value
- Are people-people, articulate and smart
- Believe that what they are selling can truly benefit their clients
2. The Sales Culture
Even the best salespeople will not survive if they are working against the current way things get done. If your underperforming sales rep has a “great attitude,” is doing more than enough of the “right sales activities that matter most,” and has the “business sales skills required” to excel, it is time to evaluate their job, role and cultural fit.
Let’s start with cultural fit. We define sales culture as how things get done in the sales organization. Your sales culture can be measured by understanding the way people think, behave and work – especially when no one is looking. This includes the underlying values and assumptions that drive key sales practices and behaviors – especially in sales leaders and in how they hire, fire and promote.
A recent client whose sales culture counted heavily on collaboration to execute their sales strategy realized that their underperformer was a lone wolf at heart. Their head was in the game. Their individual activity level was good enough. They had the basic sales skills required to perform. But their communication and collaboration approaches were toxic. After the team member left, a breath of fresh air swept over the sales team.
The lesson – remove cultural misfits as fast as possible.
If your underperforming sales rep fits in culturally, it is time to examine their job and role within your sales organization. Are you playing to their strengths? Does their job fit their career aspirations? Would their skills and passions be better applied elsewhere?
The Bottom Line
Missing sales targets is no fun. But it is a problem that has a solution as long as you are willing to examine both the individual and cultural circumstances. Remember, it is your job as a sales leader to set your team up for success.
Want to improve your sales skills and effectively address sales excuses? Download 30 Effective Sales Questions More Important than Budget When Selling Solutions