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New Year’s Resolutions and Tips On Meeting Your Sales Objectives


I love the New Year. It’s a time of hope and ambition. There is positive energy everywhere. Gym memberships are purchased, the new diet is set, cigarette sales plummet, “I promise to be nicer to my mother in law” means something and sales and marketing (smarketing) is ready to work together to produce the biggest numbers ever. It’s a big love fest folks. Fast forward 3 months and you realize that the gym is a terrible place, chips beat apples every time, “I quit smoking” related stress is killing you and your mother in law is an old wind bag. This seeps into your business life as smarketing falls back into the usual routine of pointing fingers and blaming each other for not hitting the goals set in the yearly planning sessions.

I can’t help you with the personal resolutions, but here are a couple of ways to stay on track this year and actually hit the goals you set in a more optimistic time.

First, set your goals together. I know sales VPs that come out with insanely high revenue projections with no real plan from marketing to help to those numbers. Sometimes the plan is we’re going to “knock on more doors”. Conversely, while a Sales VP may set the bar too high, some marketing VP’s don’t even set a bar. Look at last year’s revenue number, correct the things that could have been done better and institute some new actions that will increase revenue. Then set the number together. In addition to revenue numbers, there needs to be other benchmarks set to predict the future. For example, at the end of Q1, did marketing complete the webinar, tradeshow and white paper series that it had set out to run? If so, did sales call on the MQL’s that came from said activities? These are the kind of things you need to check on a monthly basis to avoid the OH CRAP moment at the end of Q2 when you realize you are way off the number and can’t make it up.

These check points should be official and calendared at the beginning of the year. I recommend doing this monthly and even semimonthly if possible. This forces smarketing to set numerous short term goals that lead to the desired end result. The alternative, and what many companies do, is set quarterly or even semiannual check in meetings where by the time you have a chance to meet, you have a problem that is not easily correctable because it has been allowed to grow for months rather than weeks. A particular sales rep not calling leads is a minor issue if you catch it and address it in two weeks. It could mean millions of dollars if you wait until the end of June. The hardest part of these frequent meetings is making sure they happen. You have to make this a priority. Set the meeting on a day and time that both the sales and marketing teams can make it. NOTHING comes in front of this meeting short of the birth of a child, the loss of a limb or tickets to cirque du soleil.

Lastly, smarketing needs to set up a feedback process so that the people in the field can communicate with the team providing the leads. The caveat to this, both groups also have to use the information to help each other. Sales should be reporting back to marketing and letting them know what they have in the early stages of their forecast, how leads from a particular trade show were, what qualifications they could use more of, etc…. Marketing shouldn’t be forced to work in the dark with no idea of the quality of their output only to be blamed in Q3 for poor leads. Poor leads should be addressed in Q1, not Q3. On the other hand, marketing has to actually take the information and use it to make corrections. “You know how sales people are”, is a fairly common quote from a lot of marketing executives. I don’t have the exact interpretation but I assume they mean that sales is helpful, intelligent and enthusiastic. Don’t discount feedback. Marketing can’t expect sales to constantly give feedback and then change nothing to improve quality. There should be a feedback process in place and then a constant improvement process on the other end.

I hope this helps. Remember to exercise, eat right, avoid smoking and your mother in law means well. If none of those pan out, you should at least hit your numbers this year!


Well stated, Mr. Lang. 
In the planning stages for a coming sales year, both sales and marketing must have their "fingerprints on the gun". 
Planning should be a HIGH priority, granular and iterative process with both sides signing off at intervals. 
If sales has a say in the marketing planning process...or at least some sign off authority...then they have skin in the game and are much more invested in the team's (i.e, smarketing's) success. 
In other words, sales has less reason to point fingers at marketing when goals aren't met...and vice-versa.
Posted @ Friday, January 07, 2024 8:04 AM by Thomas Hardey
Thanks for the comment Tom, I couldn't agree with you more. Like you said, if someone doesn't have any skin in the game, then they won't put forth as much effort. Especially if it is a sales person. Now the easy answer is to say, "well sales benefits from marketing's efforts so they should care", but in my experience it doesn't work quite like that. You're more likely to hear, "I have no idea what marketing is doing, I just want some leads so I can close business".
Posted @ Friday, January 07, 2024 12:58 PM by Chris Lang
You know how it is. Salespeople don't care about anyone but themselves...except for maybe their bookie. ;)
Posted @ Friday, January 07, 2024 1:55 PM by Tom Hardey
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