Some of the biggest mistakes leading to a missed sales quota can be corrected with just a few changes to your sales style.
While it may be normal to miss the occasional sales quota through fluctuations in the market or sheer bad luck, regularly missing your quota or rarely meeting it by more than the minimum should be cause for concern and is likely down to poor performance rather than external factors. The good news though is that by researching why your sales quota isn’t being hit and looking for ways to improve the situation you’re already one step closer to hitting your sales quota next time round. Typically, some of the biggest mistakes leading to a missed quota can be corrected with just a few changes to your sales style and you could be seeing a significant improvement in the next quarter.
The sales cycle is the time taken from your first meeting with a prospective client to the signing of the deal. Many sales people who miss their quotas are doing so because they are not moving their prospects on fast enough through the sales cycle, while you may have some great deals in the pipeline if they’ve stagnated or slowed down they are contributing to missing your targets. As you speak to each of your potential clients pay close attention to which parts of the cycle often take the longest and the reasons why. If there are common objections or reasons why the process is slowing down you can start to prepare for these in advance and develop strategies to get past them faster. Shortening the sales cycle will reduce the time spent on each sale and give you more time to develop new leads.
When asked a sales rep will typically think they are spending far more time looking for new leads than they actually do. If your sales quota is low then you are probably not spending enough time cold calling or visiting new prospects. The best way to improve this is to start recording how many new leads you are contacting every day, then try to improve that number. If the only target you have is your sales quota then it is no surprise that you are missing it – set yourself targets for numbers of phone calls each day and numbers of visits each day (if applicable to your role). Keep trying to increase these and you’ll find that you naturally hit your sales quota, and move beyond it.
It is true that the economy has been in a slump and it may have been harder to find sales in the last few years. It may also be true that your territory may not be the best or that your product may have some flaws, or you may be dwelling right now on any one of a hundred other reasons why you may have missed your sales quota. Regardless of whether there is truth in these statements or not don’t be sucked into spending time thinking about them. Whatever your circumstances if you want to improve your performance and hit your sales quota then you need to focus on your strategies and what you’re going to do next to increase your sales and not on the reasons why you might fail.
Any one or several of these three reasons may account for why you missed your sales quota; you might also be victim to a fourth reason – putting off until tomorrow what you should do today. If you’ve recognized any of these reasons as being significant to you not hitting targets don’t put changing your methods off until tomorrow – when you’ll probably forget. Instead, sit down today for thirty minutes and work out a way to improve your sales strategy. You will reap the benefits when it comes round to meeting your next sales quota.
Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.