What to Do When You Miss Your Sales Goal

by | Aug 28, 2015 | Solution Selling | 0 comments

The quarter has closed and you have to face the fact that you failed to meet your sales targets.  The immediate effect is that you won’t get that bonus you wanted. But what about the longer-term effect? What does this mean for your stature on the sales team and your standing with leadership?

It’s not time to make excuses.  It is time to figure out what went wrong and do something about it in time to impact next quarter. Based upon 20+ years of solution selling training, missed targets usually point to a few common issues. Do any of them fit your situation and are any of them legitimate reasons for failure?

  1. You can’t get meetings with decision makers or people are not returning your calls.
    Many sales reps blame this phenomena on the lack of either qualified leads from marketing or a deficiency of new and innovative solutions from Product Development. Before you identify this as the root cause to what ails you:

    • Determine if a competitor has launched a newer solution that offers additional benefits that are important to your target market.
    • Understand if your current value proposition resonates enough with your target buyers in a way that is different enough for you and your offering to stand out from the crowd.
    • Ask for feedback on how you are communicating what your firm has to offer. Did you present a compelling enough message? Are you speaking to the right level of buyer?  Do you have case studies to back up your claims?  Is what you offer really unique in the eyes of your buyer?
  2. The original goal was unrealistic.
    While many outside factors influence a sales reps ability to meet quota, top producers consistently make their number – even in the face of internal and external obstacles. Before you identify this as the root cause to why you missed your number:

    • Find out if others on your team were able to meet their targets. What did they do differently that you?
    • Research how your competition is doing to see if the whole industry is down and what is happening to your share of the market.
    • Identify a list of acceptable excuses that were out of your control that impacted your ability to succeed.  For example, a recent client missed their targets due to a severe drop in oil prices that was beyond their control.  Be careful with this one as it is the job of an effective consultative sales person to find viable opportunities in any circumstance.
  3. Our offerings are too expensive.
    Unless you do not have a true solution to sell, price is rarely the problem. Remember that solution selling is all about proving the value of solving the problem so that the customer is not overly concerned with the price. In fact, if you can frame their issue in terms of personal and professional value, they will be convinced that not solving the problem will be far more expensive to the organization than your proposed remedy.

The point is that you need to be straight with leadership. You missed your number this time but take the initiative to identify what you have learned from the painful experience and what you are going to do differently going forward.

The best managers understand that sometimes targets are not met. What they care about is your response.

  • Can you analyze what went wrong and are you determined to fix it?
  • Are you committed to a plan of improvement?
  • Are you open to working with other team members or with a coach to succeed in the next quarter?

If so, we bet you’ll be given another chance and, with proper support and real motivation, we bet you’ll succeed.

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