Sales professionals look forward to having end-of-year conversations with their manager just as much as husbands enjoy seeing the in-laws for Christmas.
Because let’s face it, if you’re not performing well, why would you want to have that conversation?
Most sales pros don’t realize all other factors that contribute to nailing sales goals. It’s the stories behind the numbers that can have a positive impact if addressed proactively.
Here Are the 6 Reasons Sales Teams Miss Sales Targets
- Focusing on features vs benefits. Customers today are much smarter about making purchasing decisions. It’s not about the bells and whistles. It’s about the benefit to them, their family, or their lifestyle. Moreover, each customer has a different set of needs, behaviors, demographics, and you won’t win them all over with an overused pitch.
- Concentrating on existing bookings. John Holland, blogger at Hubspot, says “the only benefit of focusing on YTD is realizing how much of the mountain is left to climb.” Never look at what you’ve already booked and hope that you can make up losses at the last minute. Plan out projected bookings along the way so you’re not stuck floundering at the end of the year.
- Closing up shop early. Closing a sale and moving on sparks missed opportunities for follow-up and retention. Frederick F. Reichheld and Phil Schefter, authors at the Harvard Business School, state that “increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.” It’s an easy way to make additional revenue so why not go for it?
- Running away from data. CRM can be your co-pilot if used right. If you track your activities in a CRM, you’ll have the data to support you when it’s evaluation time. For client data, do your research before having that first interaction. Nothing is more embarrassing than a customer telling you their history with your company.
- Training instead of coaching. Mark Roberge, Chief Revenue Officer of HubSpot Sales Products, believes that “effective sales coaching is the most important driver of productivity within a sales organization.” Mark holds catch-up meetings with his directors to find out what skills their employees were working on. This ensures directors, managers, and employees are coaching each other on best practices.
- Arming the team without the facts. Asking the team to sell something without loading them with information is like sending a soldier into battle without armor. Selling turns into a game of Survivor searching for a turtle shell to use a breastplate. Host product launches, send fact sheets, and have Q&A sessions with a subject matter expert before sending the troops to the front lines.
Conclusion: Locking Down Internal Factors that Influence Performance
Make sure you and your manager regularly review all the elements that are impacting your sales goals. Plan on having sales goals discussions at the beginning of the year, mid-year, and end of year.
This way the two of you are aligned on your progress and your manager can offer support where needed.