Guest Post – Paul Routley – Think Selling Sales Training 

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. Whilst I agree that yes, these are certain factors that will unquestionably 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 it, 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 be successful.

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 the target can be hit or exceeded.

#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, plotting and mapping the key steps along the way.  They will 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.

About Think Selling

Think Selling has been established for 14 years, however, the knowledge behind us and creation of our courses have been developing for significantly longer.  In fact 25 years, as all our trainers are commercially experienced sales professionals holding positions as sales managers and sales directors working for some of the UK’s largest household names.  We don’t stop there!  Our trainers are still sales people within our company and sell on a daily basis, so fully understand the conditions facing your sales team today.

Find out more here … Think Selling Sales Training