Why Do So Many Salespeople Fail to Make Quota?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 @ 09:04 AM

quotaThe statistics are staggering.  In some sectors, fewer than 25% of all salespeople will make quota in 2012. Even best-in-class companies are lucky when fewer than 80% of their salespeople make quota.  Are you OK with it when your own salespeople fail to make quota?  There are a number of possible reasons for this widespread mediocrity and failure and, depending on the company, some or all of them may apply.

Sales Management is a common reason and it transcends industries and sizes.  Jonathan Farrington, CEO of TopSalesWorld.com, completed a terrific interview with me for TopSalesManagementWorld.com and the resulting 10-minute audio clip does a great job explaining sales management's role in quota-failure.  

Salespeople just aren't very good!  Objective Management Group's statistics show that 74% of all salespeople suck.  Whether it's a result of poor selection, lack of training, ineffective coaching or lack of practice, the causes vary by company and salesperson.  This article by Jason Schwartz provides a great example of one of the many things that salespeople do wrong.

The Quotas themselves are often unrealistic and based not on a salesperson's capabilities, but rather on how much a territory or vertical should grow in the next 12 months, or on what a company needs from each salesperson.  

Sales Strategies can play a role in salespeople failing to make quota.  Positioning a company as a low-cost leader doesn't work if they don't have the best prices every single time.  And, positioning it as a value-added company can be a disaster if its salespeople aren't extremely skilled at selling value via a consultative sale.

For most companies, Sales Models, Methodologies and Processes are outdated and ineffective, causing salespeople to be inefficient and waste tremendous amounts of time with prospects who, in the end, don't buy, and with sales cycles that take much longer than they should.

We can add conditions like complacency, turnover, morale, compensation, product quality, support, reputation and more to the list, but we're out of space and time.  We can even add a reluctance to invest in outside resources like assessments, training, consulting and coaching.

I'll be helping sales leaders with most of the issues discussed in this article and much more at next month's Sales Leadership Intensive in Boston.  Email me if you are interested in attending.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales leadership, sales strategies, training, sales quotas, jonathan farrington

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Dave Kurlan's Blog has earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award three years running and this year this article earned Gold. Read more about Dave.

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