Goal Setting: Do You Know Why Your Sales Goals Often Fall Short?

Posted on 12/18/2013 in Time Management for Sales

Leveraging Lessons Learned When Setting New Sales Goals 
As we approach the end of the business year it is a great time to evaluate sales results and set new goals for the coming year. Of course, this process can and should also take place throughout the year, for example on a quarterly or monthly review basis.

How Did You Do? Focus first on the positive.  
Which goals did you attain or surpass?    

Next, ask yourself this question:  What did I do that helped me to succeed in reaching these goals?  For example, let’s say that one of your goals was to cross sell more effectively to existing customers, for which you set an appropriate metric that you surpassed.  Congratulations!

Now, use the second question to learn from this success.  Suppose that you notice that most of your cross selling successes occurred in a particular target market or product.  Use that insight as something that you will then do more often in the coming year.

Next, look at the goals that you didn’t reach.  What prevented you from reaching these objectives?  Look for some patterns.  For example, suppose that the majority of your "misses” were lost opportunities to a specific competitor. Most importantly, what will you do differently to avoid this from happening again?  We’ve all heard the saying that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different result.  When you sell against this same competitor in the future think about what you should do differently.    

No sales professional likes to fall short of a sales goal but, at the very least, try to learn something constructive from it.

Why Do Your Goals Fall Short? 
There are two common reasons why many salespeople fall short of their sales goals.  

The first reason is to underestimate the amount of time that is needed to win new business.  Face it, the sales process can be very time consuming.  Sales prospecting to generate and qualify good leads isn’t easy. Gaining access to key decision makers can require repeated attempts. And this is time spent before you even have the opportunity to present your product or service.  

The second reason is poor time management.  You can’t reach your sales goals if you’re not spending enough time on actual selling and customer interaction.   With all of the time wasters and distractions, it is easy to fall into some bad habits regarding time and territory management. If you feel that this is an area for improvement, set some personal self-development goals to improve in this area.