Why They Aren't Making Their Number

In 2019 less than 50% of frontline sales professionals made their quota or “number.” There are no indications the number was any better in 2020. The big takeaway here is hitting sales goals and making quotas are more important now than ever!

It is easy to explain away not making quota in 2020. The whole world was and still is facing a raging pandemic. Everything changed overnight. For everybody. But what about before that? Pre pandemic, only 43% of B2B sales professionals hit their number, which’s down from 56% in 2015. So, no, it’s not just a pandemic. There was a problem long before that.

There are many reasons targets, and quotas aren’t met. Here is a shortlist of reasons: wrong person in the role, inaccurate forecasting, chasing bad deals, inconsistent prospecting efforts, lack of sales skills, ineffective marketing programs, no defined sales process, incomplete sales enablement tools, and so many more. While all of the reasons I listed play a factor, the real reason is far more alarming.

The Cause

The #1 reason sales professionals aren’t hitting quota is inadequate sales leadership. A recent survey of over 1500 SMB CEOs reported less than 7% of sales managers (all titles) have the requisite recourses, skills, experience, and expertise to develop, grow, scale and lead their sales team to meet its potential. While this may be a hard pill to swallow, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, where do most sales managers come from? The answer is, of course, the sales team. We take our best sellers and put them into an entirely new role, with altogether different responsibilities, requiring different skill sets, and typically don’t offer them much in the way of leadership training or recourses. Then, we wonder why no one is hitting their number. Ironically, this is the root cause, and the other reasons previously mentioned are symptoms. After all, the other reasons I described for not making quota are directly tied to inadequate sales management.

The Cure 

With so many things in life, the best way to fix something is usually the most challenging way to fix something; this is certainly true of sales performance. The first place to start is not by looking at your salespeople but by looking at the person who “owns” sales. Is this the right person? Do they have the right skills, experience, and expertise? Have they got access to the right tools and resources to do all of the job requirements? If the answer to any of these things is no, you’ll have an excellent place to start. 

For a no-cost or obligation sales leadership assessment, contact me via email at:

Les@ LesLent.com and put ‘sales leader’ in the subject line.

Or you can text or call (855) 392-3533