Some industries are more suited to a steady stream of sales than others. While some businesses are seasonal, others are evergreen. Those that cannot rely on a constant flow of customers 12 months of the year are forced to get creative when figuring out how to hit sales goals when customer numbers change.

Changing how we work

The problem is; the standardised way we work out how to set sales targets and quotas can cease to be fit for purpose from month to month. Compare December to January, for example. One is slow due to holiday festivities while another represents a new year and new goals. Yet they are only a month apart. Previous targets and KPIs may be unrealistic, if not completely unachievable, so penalising our salesforce is never the answer.

We may not be able to control the shifting sands of time, but we can influence buying habits through marketing, and we can control what we do as a business. It’s important to keep in mind that this is the industry we choose, and such seasonal occurrences should always have been factored into our strategy.

What businesses can do

Every industry needs to prepare for a ‘sales boom’ as well as potentially quieter times. People go through boom and bust as well as businesses, and those living frugally are going to be keen to make up for the lost time when they can. We need to be ready when they do!

One method is to refocus on our salesforce. This is a great opportunity to provide training. Feedback and coaching are essential aspects of performance sales management. Do you do this enough? Your salesforce is the lifeblood of your business, so take this time to sharpen their skills and knowledge of your industry. Up-skill where you can and dig into each sales person’s strengths and limitations.

Finally, always maintain consistent but sensible levels of marketing. While it’s tempting to cut budgets during off-peak times, this risks becoming irrelevant. Customers need to know we still exist. They need to miss you, to know that you’re still open for business. Be seen and continue your marketing efforts as usual, particularly around your social channels. If you don’t, your competitors will, and they’ll also reap the rewards.

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You can benefit from a free trial with a demonstration on how to improve your sales performance management. With a host of powerful features, like sales territory management, sales quota management, and sales objective management, you’ll soon find yourself wondering how you ever managed with a simple spreadsheet.

Meeting targets either on-time or before a deadline can be really exhilarating while missing targets can destroy morale.

Morale can also be destroyed if you’re not progressing as much as you ought to be. For instance, if you’ve made seven sales in six months but your target for the year is 24, then you’re massively behind the target.

This isn’t too hard to imagine. Sales Hacker estimates that 90% of salespeople are making the majority of their sales in the last week of the month, or the last month of the year. However, doing this is often the result of harder work and more hours. It doesn’t have to be that way.

So, what can you do to get back on track if you’re not meeting your sales targets? Here are some suggestions to help you meet set sales goals this year :

1. Know when you’re behind

Everyone should be regularly checking their progress towards set sales goals. By using sales performance management tools, you can continuously monitor your progress. Doing so will alert you if you’re not meeting sales targets and give you plenty of time to put plans in place to catch up. 

Sales performance management tools can also help you identify where the issue might be. Is the close rate too low or are you not prospecting enough? By finding out where the obstacles in your sales process are, you can make relevant changes that improve results, which avoids wasting time on endeavours that make no difference.

2. Check-in with old prospects

Sometimes you might not meet targets because you’ve not gone back to prospects who’ve said no in the past. However, just because they said no the first time, doesn’t mean they’ll say no the second time. If you go back to some of the old prospects you’ve not spoken to in a while, you might find that some are now ready to buy.

Old prospects are better than new prospects because they’ve already built up a relationship with you, so a lot of the hard groundwork has been done already. This significantly lowers lead times.

3. Remain in control

Emotion is an important aspect of selling. If you demonstrate that you’re passionate about the product or service you’re selling, you’re going to get better results. But you’ve also got to remember that you can’t seem desperate.

A desperate salesman makes fewer sales than one in complete control. So it is important to control any concerns you have about not meeting current sales targets and convert that worry into a positive emotion that will demonstrate how confident you are in the product.