December 15, 2022

3 ways to avoid missed sales targets

6 min read

Missing your sales quota is something that all sales professionals will experience, whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out in the industry. While missing your target isn’t great, it’s certainly not an unusual thing either. What is important is knowing how you can turn a bad month around, learn from the missed opportunities, and bounce back to Target Town again.

There are a number of reasons why you or your team might have missed quota; this can often be because of a lack of business development, poor general communication, failure to ask the important questions, or misunderstanding your prospect's sale process. However, December (and a recession) bring their own added challenges to the mix.

The good news is, there are plenty of things you can be doing to turn your stats around and recover any lost ground. For every failed deal, there is a learning opportunity that will help you identify a weakness in your process and will enable you to up your game next time around.

Here are three easy steps you can follow to help avoid unnecessary rejection, ensure your pitch is at its most valuable, and help you close more deals:

1. Post-mortem your failed deals

Although rejection is a horrible part of the job, it’s also just the way things go sometimes. However, every ‘no’ can gift you some great insights that can help you improve your techniques and style. Don’t be afraid to grab a few minutes to sit down with your manager and talk these through. If you can identify what turned your prospect off, then it can be an easy fix.  

Remember, sometimes ‘no’ just means ‘not now’. It may seem to go against the grain, but it’s worth keeping in touch with some of your prospects who have turned you down. By keeping in touch with these clients, perhaps sending them the odd relevant link or lead you think they’ll be interested in, you can stay on their sweet side. The business world is an ever-changing beast, and a new quarter can bring new challenges, new targets, new budget, and fresh perspectives. By keeping that door ajar, it allows you an easier approach next time to check in with them and see if anything has changed in your favour.  

2. Personalise your pitch

It’s all well and good to have your pitch memorised and optimised so you can show off all your product’s qualities in as tight a timeframe as possible. Sadly, these days that just won’t be enough though. You need to recognise that your pitch isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ and you will need to tweak it, changing your tone or focus to match who you’re talking to.

Your focus will have to shift so that you are displaying the value the product will have for that specific prospect. Every time you run a demo or make a call, you need to think: ‘how does my product save this person/company? What value will it have for them?’ Then tailor your pitch around those points.

Using sales event triggers is a great way to personalise your pitch for calls at any stage of the sales process. Whether it’s an initial outreach call, or final stages with all stakeholders, you need to prove that you can offer value at every step. These market triggers can help support your own credibility as well as offer insights to your clients. Track events that will be of benefit and sprinkle them throughout your pitch. Your depth of knowledge, range of interest and intelligence, and market awareness will make you stand out as an expert your contacts will want on their side.  

3. Recognise what you can control

It’s easy to take rejection personally and to become despondent following a missed target, but it’s also a good opportunity to take a moment and take stock of your limitations. You can’t control everything, and so sometimes a failed deal or missed target is outside of your control. That’s not to say you can avoid all responsibility but understanding what you can (and can’t) control can help you learn and move on.

Organisation is key to keeping your head in the game when you’re spinning more plates than ever. At this time of year, business development is so important, so you can’t afford to leave it as an afterthought. Investing in software that allows you to manage your pipeline will benefit your whole team as it will keep things structured and in a position of forward momentum. All notes, conversations and details can be collated in one place, so you never have to lose a detail again.

It’s okay to recognise in advance that November and December can be a slog with a huge amount of effort and little in the way of signed contracts to show for it. This is where being organised, self-disciplined and motivated will all pay off. Make sure you’re structuring your day with a focus on business development. If you haven’t done enough earlier in the year, you may well be struggling now, and that could be part of the reason for a recently missed target. Use these quieter days at the tail end of the year to get your diary full for the new year. Keep chasing prospects all the way through these quieter months as it means you will be able to hit the ground running in January.  

Don’t forget

There are many ways you can improve your general work practices that will help you avoid missing targets. A lot of the time, this can boil down to self-recognition and motivation. If you can see in yourself and your own work that you’ve missed opportunities to build relationships, book demos, or have dropped the ball at a crucial point in the process, then you can look to improve in these areas.  

Keeping organised will mean that you work to a structure that allows you time to work on your personal networking, keep momentum with existing deals, and build in time for sufficient business development to keep you going throughout the year.  

Identifying problems in your own workflow can be uncomfortable but is essential to allow you to move forward more productively. Take time to assess where and how things have gone wrong in the past and make action points to address these areas differently in the future.  

Rejection isn’t personal but buying and selling is. Avoid the ‘one size fits all’ mentality and treat each new prospect with the approach that they are unique. Do your homework on their company, learn their processes, meet all relevant stakeholders. Then make sure you tailor your pitch to suit them individually. Offer value throughout by using sales event triggers that each contact will benefit from and ensure they’re confident in knowing what you can deliver.

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