Closing The Gap–Achieving Our Goals!


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We’re well into the second half now.  The first half is behind us, many are breathing a sigh of relief.

Did you make your numbers?  Did you hit your targets?  Have you achieved your Year To Date Quota?

“What are you talking about Dave?”  Some of you might be wondering, what point I’m trying to make.

My point is top performers always focus on making the numbers–that is they want to make their goals this month, this quarter, and for the year.  Every once in a while, even top performers might miss a monthly goal.  As they move forward, they not only focus on making the next month’s goal, but they know they are obligated to make up the difference–they have to close the gap in Year To Date attainment.

Too many sales people don’t think of this.  “Last month was last month, we need to focus on this month and the future!”  But with that approach, we never make our goals.  The first month we miss, sets our fates for the year.  If we don’t close the gap in performance, we won’t make our numbers (that’s kind of the way math works).

So how do we do this?  Closing the gap doesn’t happen through wishful thinking or luck.   We have to have a plan to make up the shortfall in performance.

We know the normal work we have to do to make our numbers every month—we know what we have to have in our funnels/pipelines.  We know the number of deals we need to be working, we know the number of prospecting calls we have to make.  To close the gap, we have to up those numbers.  We have to figure out the increment we have to add—what do our ideal pipeline numbers need to look like to make up for what we missed?  How many more deals do we need to be working?  How much more prospecting do we have to do?

There’s another thing that’s important in making our numbers and closing the gap.  It’s planning for more than our monthly quota or goals.  We need to focus on overachieving them.

Top performers do this naturally, their personal goals are always higher than quota–they want to perform at the highest levels, so quota is something they pass on the way to achieving their goals.  That’s why they are rarely behind plan.  They have a built in buffer to their plan.  Things happen, every once in a while a deal we expected to close by a certain date, gets pushed out.  A deal we hoped to win, falls through.  But having the buffer means that top performers rarely fall below their plan.

Too many sales people look at the plan or quota as their target.  So when something doesn’t happen as expected, we are immediately put behind.  We are immediately in the situation where we have to play catch up.

Setting our goals at just making the number is a bad strategy.  If anything unexpected happens, we are immediately behind.

Hopefully, you are well on the way for making your numbers in the second half.  If you are at or over Year To Date plan, congratulations–but keep it up, keep ahead of the game for the rest of the year.  If you are behind plan, you still have a lot of runway to make things up.  Make sure you have a plan in place to achieve it.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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