Without identifiable sales goals to work toward, leadership can become a bit aimless or unfocused when directing their teams.
Goal setting isn’t just a guide to big picture business objectives. It also helps on an individual level, providing every sales team member with a focus to put all their efforts in.
But in order for your goals to actually yield positive results, you have to make sure you have the right sales goals in place.
Setting the Right Sales Goals
Dr. Edwin Locke and Dr. Gary Latham conducted research on goal setting and found important insights on the value of creating challenging objectives.
When people set easily obtainable goals, performance isn’t as high as when they set specific goals that challenge them. In fact, setting difficult goals leads to better performance 90 percent of the time.
As a rep, you probably face multiple sales goals set by your leadership team. But, because you’re human, it’s also likely that you haven’t reached every one. You may even be currently falling short.
By understanding the why behind your missed goals, you’re better prepared to identify the how of achieving them.
10 Reasons You’re Missing Your Sales Goals
It isn’t too uncommon for salespeople to fall into a rut and start falling behind on their goals. Regardless of whether the blame falls on the leadership or the individual, once the root of the problem is found, it can be pulled up fairly easily.
Here are some of the more common reasons why sales goals fall flat and what you can do to revamp them.
1. You Don’t Have a Structured Sales Process.
If you don’t have your own repeatable routine for converting leads into customers, then it’s no wonder that you’re not hitting the mark.
A standardized, customizable sales process provides an easy to use template that you can personalize to each lead you engage with. Having that structure can shorten your sales cycle, help new team members effectively get up to speed, and actually lead to more wins.
B2B companies using a formal, defined sales process earned 18 percent more revenue growth compared to companies that didn’t.
If you focus on building an adaptable, improvable game plan, then you’ll reap a ton of benefits, like:
- Giving all reps a clear path with defined steps to follow.
- Simplifying sales and revenue forecasting.
- Gathering sales performance insights.
- Enabling sales teams to constantly improve sales tactics.
- Aligning communication between all company teams.
2. You’re Being Inauthentic With Your Communication.
Long gone are the days where procedural, impersonal, and data-filled email correspondence were effective. People are flooded with these types of emails every day.
Interactions with leads are about more than just using templates and reading scripts. Those practices are read as insincere and inauthentic.
Being true to yourself as a salesperson will actually improve your sales. Taking on the mentality of connecting with your potential customers, you’ll be able to earn their trust and build an organic relationship that ends with both parties happy.
Leads can tell when you’re being inauthentic and usually respond pretty negatively to the notion of being just another sale to your business.
By being real in your communication, you won’t seem like a salesperson to them. You’ll have more natural, fun conversations.
That should sound as appealing to you as it does to your leads.
3. You Haven’t Moved Past BANT Yet.
BANT was an effective method for qualifying leads once upon a time, but there’s a new framework stepping up to the plate and knocking balls out of the park.
CGP TCI BA is a step up from where BANT was putting sales teams for years. Focusing on a qualification break down into three tiers, you’ll learn to pursue eight details: Challenges, Goals, Plans; Timeline, Consequences, Implications; Budget, and Authority.
During a discovery call, the three levels are meant to lead into one another, providing a more holistic picture of the quality of the lead. It’s not nearly as effective to work with just the knowledge of a prospect’s budget and authority.
First, you’ll want to learn what their challenges and goals are. What plans do they have for their business? What’s their timeline, and so forth?
Being thorough in qualifying your leads will help you identify prospects that are a great match for your business and give you a head start in knowing how you’re going to be able to provide value to them.
4. You’re Not Making a Memorable Impression.
Who wants to buy from Debbie Downer or Peter Pessimist? The answer is nobody.
Nothing builds trust more than a perfectly balanced professional, yet personable, sales call. In sales, it's often the person, not the product, that makes the sale.
Try to make a genuine connection with your prospects, possibly by revealing something that isn't too personable, but interesting, about yourself. This will prompt them to want to share something as well.
To stand out from the rest and create a real human connection, take the time to really learn about your customers. Familiarize yourself with their role, lifestyle, and interests outside of the context of the deal. What’s their favorite sport and team? Do they have kids?
Make sure that you’re building a relationship centered around helping and providing value to them as an individual. Trust us, they’ll take notice.
5. You’re Talking, Not Listening.
Tunnel vision on making the sale and meeting your quota is an easy trap to fall into. But being so focused on yourself and your own goals can actually do more harm than good.
It sounds a little counter-intuitive. Isn’t the whole point to be more conscious of my goals?
Well, yeah, but in order to actually make any progress, you should be focused on customer-oriented behaviors. They’re far more impactful than sales-oriented ones.
When you’re interacting with a lead, jumping from a short qualification process to trying to close a deal can leave them feeling hollow about the sale. You also run the risk of not actually catching on to their true pain point.
Most of the time, customers don’t know what their actual need is beyond a vague idea of something being wrong.
Be patient and take the time to actually dig deep and listen to what the customer is looking for. They’ll doubt whether you actually know what’s best for them if you rush them along, and, truth be told, they’re right to.
6. You Don’t Have Enough Leads (Or They’re Low Quality).
Lead generation is a whole other can of worms, in all honesty. If you’re not drawing in prospects, especially highly qualified ones, then you’re definitely not going to meet any goals set by either yourself or your leadership.
It’s imperative that you work with marketing to ensure that they’re pursuing the right lead generation efforts.
Misaligned goals could lead to your marketing team searching for one demographic, when in reality, you’re looking for another. And trust us, there is a difference. Not all leads are created equal, especially when you factor in different industries, services, and product types.
Both departments should come together and establish what your business’ ideal customer looks like. Create buyer personas that will teach team members where your best qualified leads come from, what their pain points and behaviors are, and how exactly your business provides value toward them.
With some reactionary adjustments to lead generation strategies, you’ll witness a dramatic change in the types of leads handed off to you. Making sales will become so much easier.
7. You’re Not Talking to the Right People.
In the early stages of interacting with a lead, sales should be focused on one thing first: talking with the decision maker.
It’s important that you use your time talking with the right people. Otherwise, you’re lengthening your sales cycle and spending a lot of resources.
But it can be pretty tricky identifying the right person. Depending on the size of the other business and your standing relationship with them, it can be quite the hunt.
Start out by mapping out the organization on LinkedIn. Many companies list out their employees and their roles on their company pages. It can be as easy as reading a job title to identify the decision maker, or you may have to make an educated guess. Either way, it’ll get you on the right track.
From there, lean on any personal connections you may have within the company or a mutual network to see if anyone can tell you who you’re looking for.
If no one comes through for you there, then you may have to resort to simply picking up the phone, getting connected to the right department, and asking them upfront.
8. You’re Not Being Efficient With Automation.
Time is always a crunch in sales, and how you manage it can be the deciding factor of if you meet your sales goals or not.
Since the development of sales automation tools, salespeople have had a huge weight lifted off their shoulders.
Automation can help you be more efficient with your time. From segmenting your leads to personalizing and scheduling your email follow ups, your sales process becomes a lot more efficient when you introduce the right tools.
For example, HubSpot tools like chatbots, segmentation, and booking tools streamline lots of manual processes. That’s time out your day that can be re-dedicated to making calls and connecting with prospects.
9. You’re Not Evolving With the Market.
The market isn’t an evergreen environment. Consumer behaviors, industry trends, and even marketing and sales techniques are in a constant state of flux.
If you’re not adapting and evolving with the market, then you’re flirting dangerously with the risk of becoming dated and irrelevant.
You should be changing how you engage with and talk to prospects as things change. Every industry changes fast, sometimes overnight. So being agile in how you interact with potential buyers will help you stay competitive and in the know.
Try to avoid becoming too dependent or attached to methodologies and techniques. At some point they’ll likely be updated or retired by a newer, better tactic.
Being able to pivot at the drop of a hat is a valuable skill that will set you apart from other salespeople.
10. You Don’t Know Your Personal Metrics.
Without knowing your own metrics, you’re not going to know how to properly manage your pipeline.
How are you going to know where you can improve if you’re not tracking where you’re at? Success should be measured in order to be proven. By paying attention to your metrics, you can identify what’s working, what isn’t, and what changes should be made in order to drive better results.
Salespeople should key into five specific metrics to keep pushing forward:
- The overall performance of the sales team (what percentage of the quota is being met)
- Lead loss rate
- Conversion rate
- Average size of a deal
- Incoming revenue
By monitoring these KPIs, you’ll be able to keep an eye on both your team’s performance and your own. Identify and address any gaps or weak points and watch your business bounce back.
Missing your sales goal can make you deflate, but it’s not a solely negative experience. You can learn so much by looking into why you’re missing them. If you never look into the problem, then you’ll never fix it.
At the end of the day, the important thing is to continue learning and growing as a salesperson.