Quota is hard enough to make as it is. It takes hard work, focus, and commitment to honing your skills.
Only 52% of sales people make quota. The reasons why vary, but I can tell you this. Doing these things will make for sure you don’t make quota.
If you are dong these things, STOP! They just make things harder.
- Not work super hard claiming the economy is still slow
Worrying about things you can’t control just wastes time. Whatever the external force is, accept it, adjust for it and keep going.
- Blame the products for not having enough features
It’s easy to blame the product. They never have enough features. The competition has more features. It’s too expensive, etc. If you are waiting for the perfect product, keep waiting. Just don’t expect to make any sales.
Get behind a good product and go sell it. There are no “perfect” products.
- Say your product is too expensive
There is always a cheaper product. The product isn’t too expensive. You haven’t provided enough value.
- Bitch you have a shitty territory
Some territories are better than others. But like most things, there is almost always a diamond in the rough. Rather than bitch your territory isn’t as good as Mary’s or Fred’s, figure out a way to get more out of it. Increase your average revenue per deal. Look for hidden opportunities.
What ever you do stop bitching.
- Not make enough cold calls
Make more calls. What else is there to say?
- Not do enough prospecting
The amount of business you close can never be bigger than the amount of prospecting you do. So you better prospect more.
- Avoid starting a blog
Blogging is prospecting. Prospects want content. A blog is content. Creating a place where you can be found and prospects you reach out to you is just smart.
Start blogging, really!
- Skip key networking events because you never meet anyone anyway
How do you now you’re not going to meet anyone? If you are that good at prognosticating, you’d make your number every year and then some. You’d know whom to call. When to call them and what their pain was. But, alas you’re not. Get out there meet people. Offline networking isn’t dead.
- Not join Twitter because you don’t care what someone had for lunch
Your clients and prospects are on Twitter, so you should care about what they had for lunch, and their last press release, and the success of their new product, and that a customer isn’t happy with them and anything else you can learn or they want share, if even if it is what they had for lunch.
No info is stupid info when it comes to your client base. Get on Twitter. — Yesterday!
- Not read book a month because you are too busy
You must be Mensa then. Nobody’s too smart to learn. Nobody knows everything. Read a book a month. You’ll be amazed at the impact it will have on your numbers.
- Fail to build a sales plan. They are just a waste of time
People don’t plan because they don’t have a plan. “How” is the key to success. Plans document the how. Figure out HOW you are going to make your number. Write it down, and put dates to it.The probability of making quota goes up 50% the minute you finish.
- Claim your boss plays favorites
The only time you need to worry about your “boss” is if your numbers aren’t there. If you’re worried your boss plays favorites, you are already in the hole. Mom’s, Dad’s, friends, everyone has favorites, this shouldn’t surprise you.
Sally’s getting the better leads? That’s OK. Maybe your boss is giving her the better leads because she knows you don’t need them. Either way, focus on your number!
- Blame marketing for shitty leads
Ahhh, here is that blame thing again. If the leads really are shitty, do something about it. Take marketing on a ride-a-long. Let them see what their leads look like in the field. Spend more time with marketing letting them know what a “good” lead looks like.
If non of that works, stop relying on marketing for your leads. Get your own. See #6 (prospect more)
- Give the competition more credit than it deserves
Yes, you have competition!
They are going to be a pain in your ass. They are going to attempt to steal deals, cut you out and take your clients. That doesn’t mean they are better than you. Don’t give your competition more credit than they deserve. If they are truly that much better, then go work for them. Otherwise, give them a healthy respect and focus on what’s important.
Don’t let the competition distract you.
- Believe you know it all already
If you are good, you probably know a lot, but you don’t know it all. Don’t turn your back on reading, blogs, trade-shows, webinars, etc. Don’t think there is nothing you can learn. There is, there always is!
- Lose the competitive edge
Keep that fire in your belly.
- Not give ENOUGH credit to the competition
You don’t want to give the competition more credit than they deserve. Don’t have a healthy respect for your competition and you’ll wake up and find them in your back yard.
Have a healthy respect for your competition.
- Play angry birds
There are a million distractions in a day. Don’t get caught in time sucks.
- Ignore your pipeline
The pipeline is your lifeline. A good one keeps you in the money. Be sure to work all the stages consistently. Don’t get caught in the prospect, close, prospect, close, prospect cycle. Be doing both, that way there is always a steady flow of deals to close. The pipeline will tell you a lot. If you let it. Don’t ignore your pipeline.
- Lose a big deal
You’re going to lose a big deal. So what! Move on. Just don’t lose the next one.
- Be too nice to your customers
Customers are like kids. It’s our job to teach them, not be their friend. Take control of the sales environment. Don’t let you customers control you. Like kids, our clients want to be told what to do. They just have to trust you know what you’re talking about and that your credible.
Don’t be nice to your customers. Make their business better.
- Think you know your industry
Like #15, you don’t know it all. Immerse yourself in your industry. Don’t just be a subject matter expert. Be an industry expert.
- Ignore the CRM
Your CRM should be your faithful companion. Don’t do anything without putting it in your CRM. Track everything. Then create reports on your activity. After 6 months you’ll know everything you need to about how YOU sell.
Put it in there!
- Be a slave to email
Yes email matters, but don’t use it as a task list. Carve time out in your day to look and respond to email. Don’t check it every 20 minutes. Don’t let it take over your day. You’ve got bigger things to worry about.
- Play not to lose, not play to win
Play to win!
When you play not to lose you, you can only avoid losing. You can’t win! Stop playing NOT to lose. You’ll never win!
Play to win. You’ll lose sometimes, but you’ll win a lot more.
- Lack creativity
Doing what you’ve always done, will get you what you’ve always gotten.
Think outside of the box. Take in new information and be creative in how you solve your sales problems. Creativity is what separates the selling crowd.
Do something different!
- Not find a mentor
There is always someone better than you. Find them and ask them to be you mentor. Having an honest, open, third party that can help you along is huge. A good mentor tells it to you straight. They impart their experience and wisdom on you. They are killer sounding boards. They are fantastic coaches.
Get a mentor; they’ll make you better.
- Not learn how to leverage the power of Linkedin
LinkedIn is a substantial tool for creating leads, connecting with buyers and industry leaders. Linkedin should be a key part of your selling motion. Linkedin is more than a job search tool.
- Talk too much about your product
We sell to make our prospects and customers business better. Spend too much time talking about your product and you’re not spending enough time talking about their business.
Can you sell without ever talking about your product?
- Not know your customers key goals and how he/she is bonused
Motivation is at the core of everything. Knowing what is motivating people is how you make the sale. Our customers have goals. It’s what motivates them. If you don’t know what their goals are, you don’t know what is motivating them. If you don’t know what is motivating them, you can’t sell them.
- Not push your customers
You are the expert, at least you should be. You know how your products and services can affect your customers business. The customer wants you to push them. They are looking for you to get them out of their comfort zone.
Get comfortable, making your customers uncomfortable.
- Do what you’ve always done
If you haven’t changed your approach. If you have a “system” you swear by. If you aren’t embracing change, your selling is tired. Embrace the changes in today’s sales world. Be adding something new to your “quiver” every year.
Liesure suits are tired, your selling shouldn’t be.
- Rely on luck
Yup, you’ll get a “blue bird.” You’ll close a few deals you weren’t expecting. You’ll also lose a few deals that were “slam-dunks.” Luck has no place in sales. Do your job and leave luck out of it.
- Say you’re not a “sales person.”
Be proud of the fact you can sell. Don’t be Judas. Don’t deny the fact that you sell for a living. Most people would give their right arm to do what you do if they could. Selling is a noble, fun, value based career. Sales people keep companies out of trouble. They make companies successful.
If you can’t say you’re proud to be a sales person, you are in the wrong business. It’s time to go.
- You’re too busy doing busy work
Email, the CRM, proposals, client follow-up, reporting, and more fill up our days. But what is really important? What activities actually turn the sales crank? Spending too much time doing busy work is the death of a sales person. It keeps us from doing what is most important. Prioritize your schedule. Knowing what works is most important to making your number. Do that works first. Everything else can wait.
- Talk too much
You’re talking too much. Stop talking! Talk just enough to get everyone else talking. Listening first is what makes the sale. Talking slows it down or stops it.
- Whining you don’t have the right tools and collateral
You probably don’t. Yup, there are better tools out there you don’t have. Yup, the collateral sucks. Yup, you could have better sales support. And yes, the organization could provide better sales enablement. You are right! And . . .? Whining over what you can’t control doesn’t close deals. Share your concerns and ideas with Sales Operations and move on.
Stop whining, no one likes a whiner.
What are you waiting for? No one is coming. There isn’t going to be a better time to cold call. There isn’t going to be a better time to follow-up. There isn’t going to be a better time to start a blog. There isn’t going to be a better time to read that 10k. There isn’t going to be a better time to meet with engineering. There isn’t going to be a better time to input your stuff into the CRM. There isn’t going to be a better time.
- Shoot for 100% of quota
100% attainment is what’s expected. It’s the price to play. Why shoot for what is expected? Why shoot for mediocrity? Why set the bar low? Shooting for 100% quota attainment is shooting to be average.
Don’t set out to be average. Shoot for 150% of quota. Who wants to be average?
- Worry about what everyone else is doing
Learning form others is one thing. Worrying about what everyone else is doing is a waste of time. Pay no mind to others. What their doing, how many leads they have, how big their pipeline is, their territory, the leads they get from marketing etc. should be no consequence of yours.
Stop worry about what everyone else is doing. Focus on yourself.
- Hope your deals come in
Hope is not a strategy.The only one who is going to close deals is you.
Don’t hope, do!
- Fight change
Change is inevitable. Things are not static. Just because something has always worked doesn’t mean it will continue to work. In sales, doing what you’ve always done, won’t get you won’t get you what you’ve always gotten. You’ll eventually get less.
Don’t fight change.
- Not think
Sales is a thinking persons game. There is no autopilot. Don’t turn it off. Don’t put on cruise control.
- Ignore the rest of the of the organization
The days of the Rainmaker are over. Pursuit selling is here to stay. Sales is dependent on the entire organization.
Don’t ignore marketing, finance, H.R., sales operations, IT, product marketing, product development, etc. You are going to need them.
Ignore them and they will ignore you. If that happens your screwed. Show some love!
- Not have a smart phone
If you still have a flip phone see #42. We are smack in the middle of the information sale. Information is critical to successful sales. If you don’t have a smartphone you’re tethered to your computer or laptop. That means no access unless you’re sitting at your desk. You can’t get email. You won’t see the latest press release from your largest client via Twitter. You won’t be able to access your CRM. You can’t read the latest industry news via an app. You can’t get on LinkedIn. You can’t do anything until you get to the office or home. If you don’t have a smart phone, you are at least 1 business day behind everyone else who does.
How’s that working for you?
- Expect everyone else to create your collateral
Yup, collateral is sales ops job.See #38. If you need collateral, if you need selling materials that you’re not getting. Do it yourself. Be a doer!
- Not build a governance plan
If you manage an account and you don’t have standing, prescheduled meetings for the year with all of your contacts, at every level, you are leaving the door open for you competition. Get commitment from the CEO all the way down to your day to day contact on when you are going to meet, how often you are going to meet and who is going to meet. Then schedule it. A good governance plan ensures you are ALWAYS in your customers face.
- Lack confidence
Customer’s can sniff out sales people who lack confidence. And like desperate single people, no one wants to date someone who isn’t sure of themselves. Without confidence, execution becomes almost impossible. You can’t succeed if you don’t believe in yourself. Have confidence in yourself, your products and your company. Without it, you’re dead!
- You’re married to the CRM
Yes, use the CRM. But, don’t get married to it. The CRM is a tool to help you sell, not prevent you from selling. If you spend more time using the CRM than you do making cold calls, seeing customers, and visiting prospects, you’re priorities are out of whack.
If can’t live without your CRM, it’s time to consider a divorce. CRM is your buddy, not your spouse!
- You’re not agile/nimble
Stick and move, be quick on your feet. Be prepared to shift gears quickly. Be ready to change strategy on a dime. Expect to throw everything away and start over in a second. Sales change quickly, things transform from one thing to the next in minutes. Months of work can unravel in a blink of an eye. Have the ability to respond as quickly as things change.Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, . . . or else not make quota and earn jack sh*t!
- You have too many “great” ideas
Great ideas are awesome. The best and most successful sales people execute on creative, unique, great ideas. You can have one, maybe two great ideas. But too many doesn’t do anything but slow you down. You can only execute on a couple of really good ideas at at time. Get too many and you don’t execute on any well.
Don’t be a Costco of ideas. Pick one! (OK maybe two)
- Don’t believe in your company
If you don’t believe in your company, express yourself and look to make change. If you don’t believe in your company and change won’t or isn’t happening, leave! You won’t be successful if you stay.
- Focus on the product
It’s not the product your customers wants. It’s what your product does that prospects and customers are enticed by. Don’t focus on your product, focus on what it does.
To get real good, focus on what it does specifically for your prospects and customers. They will thank you for it.
- Ignore the business
Just as you can’t focus on the product, you can’t ignore the business. What business is your customers and prospects in. Ignore the business and you might as well not have a product.
- Be afraid
Fear is good if you’re in the jungle. Fear is good if you’re thinking about cutting a rope while skiing. Fear is good when you’re looking at 20-foot swells the first time you go surfing. Fear is good when you’re life or the life of loved ones is in jeopardy.
Fear has its place. It just has no place in sales.
- You won’t ask for help
You need help to scale. See #55. What are you afraid of? Ask for help. You don’t know it all. You haven’t seen it all. You don’t have all the answers. You aren’t as good if you do it alone. Show a little humility. Ask for help.
- Not Fail
If you aren’t failing, you aren’t learning. If you aren’t failing, you aren’t pushing yourself. If you don’t fail, you aren’t being creative. If you aren’t failing, you are not doing things different. If you aren’t failing, you aren’t succeeding.
To succeed, you need to fail.
You haven’t lost until you quit. Don’t quit!
I know! It’s not your fault. But really, it is! Take accountability for your failures. Own your mistakes. Blaming is a cop out.
- Not have an online presence
If you can’t be found online, do you really exist? More and more people; customers, prospects, recruiters, hiring managers, etc. look online to learn more about who they are working with. An online presence allows people to find you and your company. It allows people to engage with you before they need what you sell, so when they do need what you sell, they know to call you first.
Not having an online presence will soon be the equivalent of having been in the 70’s or 80’s and not having a phone number or address on your business. Create a presence. Believe it or not, people want to know who you are.
- Ignore the signs
Don’t put your head in the sand. Your customers, the market, the competition, the industry will give you signs. You will get information throughout the year telling you what is going on, here things are good and where things aren’t so good. Don’t ignore the signs. They are trying to tell you something.
- Ignore this list
Go on, ignore it. See what happens.
The year is yours, what are you going to do?