The Think Selling Blog Are your KPI’s providing an accurate picture of sales success? (Part One)
The Think Selling Blog
The top three reasons why salespeople fail to reach their sales targets
I have been asked by many of my subscribers to write something about this subject a number of times in the last few weeks and it’s a subject that I get asked about hundreds of times every year, what are the most common reasons why salespeople fail to reach their target?
Over the course of my career so far spanning well over 20 years as a sales leader and trainer I’ve been fortunate enough to have encountered and spoken at great length to thousands of salespeople about this topic and these experiences aligned with extensive research of over 5000 sales professionals has given me a very clear picture of what causes salespeople to fail to hit their target.

Some of my contributors sited factors such as lack of motivation and just not trying to reach their target and whilst yes I agree these are certain factors that that will certainly contribute to an individual not hitting their target these are also factors that will be clear indicators that these individuals are not a good fit for that sales environment or dare  I say not a good fit for sales in general, after all, sales is a hugely rewarding career but also a hugely challenging one and without that inner drive and willingness to succeed these individuals will indeed find it difficult to succeed.

I intend to cover motivation and focus within a later article but for the purposes of this article I want to focus on the factors that stop your focused, driven and relatively consistent salespeople. 

#1 Not having enough qualified leads in their pipeline

It seems an obvious one but one of the key reasons salespeople fail is their level of honesty and self-awareness with themselves when it comes to this area of sales the main two factors are usually quality and quantity.

Firstly let’s look at quality how well qualified are the opportunities in the pipeline, is there a real opportunity there will it be able to be closed within your forecasted timeframe has the budget been agreed/signed off?

Secondly, quantity, are there enough quality opportunities in the pipeline to ensure you can hit or exceed your target.    

#2 Not being close enough to these opportunities to understand how the decisions are made

This is closely linked to reason one but is also one of the main causes of reason one, I have found this with many sales teams I have worked with over the years, salespeople just aren’t close enough to the sales opportunities they have and find themselves working on the outer working of the sale or worse still on the periphery of the sale and as a result have no real understanding of the sale and so can’t accurately forecast as the information they are working from is incomplete or inaccurate.

Salespeople who hit their targets understand this and ensure that they focus on the inner elements of the sale and as a result are that much closer to the crucial inner mechanics of the sale.

This was one of the main reasons for me to create the 360 selling model to provide the sales teams we train with a robust tool to be able to access the inner elements of the sale and to be able to have more insight and control.     

#3 Not understanding the journey the prospect has been on and the path they will be following to complete the sale

Before the internet became an everyday part of our lives salespeople had more involvement in the entire buying cycle of a prospect, but with the introduction of the internet, salespeople have found themselves being involved later and later in the process and being excluded far more.

This is a challenge that truly separates the great from the average, whilst many salespeople will accept this situation and work as best they can with this lack of involvement, successful salespeople will use this situation as their opportunity to explore the journey the prospect has travelled along to get to that point and plot and map the key steps along the way and continue this exploration to plot the next steps on the journey through to completion allowing them not only greater insight but also greater control over the later stages of the process.  
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About the author

Paul Routley is an award-winning trainer and one of the country's leading authorities on modern sales techniques.

With over twenty years experience in sales and sales management, starting out in sales at the age of 17 and working his way up from trainee sales person to sales director, working for some of the worlds largest and most well-known companies along the way.

Paul has held a number of sales manager roles throughout his career and spent over 10 years as a sales director.

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