Blending the right strategies with effective tactics to hit the quarterly and annual number.

Right now, sales executives are in the midst of planning for next year while still figuring out how to make this year’s revenue goal. Your planning efforts include top down, bottoms up efforts, and the number given to you by the CEO for 2018 will likely be bigger than you expect.  Take a few minutes to assess your probability of making your number next year with SBI’s How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook.


When you land on your final number, it will be more challenging, and a bit more daunting than the number you first proposed. If you look at the calendar for 2018 and feel anxiety, then panic early and act before the year begins. So, where do you start?


First let’s understand that hope is not a strategy. Your number is now the number.  You’re committed. Start by looking at these 5 areas:


  1. Win/Loss
  2. Current clients
  3. Talent
  4. Partners – marketing, product
  5. Message 


Win/Loss Analysis 


Conducting a win-loss analysis is an emerging best practice used by leading sales executives.  Review a sample of lost deals over the past 12 months and look at the following: 


  1. Primary reason for losing the opportunity
  2. Sales cycle time from creation of opportunity to final disposition
  3. Specific sales stages that show increases or decreases in cycle time (are deals getting hung up in one phase more than another?)
  4. Any trends that can be identified regarding average sales price (i.e., higher ASP, longer cycle time) 


Knowing why you lost is equally, if not more important than understanding why you won a deal.  Best in class B2B companies can have win rates between 25 – 40%.  That means that more than half of all the opportunities your team creates will be lost.  Once you’ve established why you’re losing, you can begin to develop a strategy that addresses these loss drivers. 


Current Clients 


Your company’s current clients may in fact be your best path to success in making your number in 2017.  Top Sales leaders get to know their clients personally. This level of engagement will give you critical insights into why you’re winning and losing. These client interactions will also draw you closer to becoming a trusted adviser rather than a simple vendor. To get started you’ll need to: 


  1. Create a list of your top 25 clients.
  2. Make a personal call to set up a time to meet in person.
  3. Ask each client what their top 3 objectives are for 2017.
  4. What big problems are they trying to solve?
  5. What do they see as their biggest risks, as well as, opportunities? 




Sales leaders at the top performing companies pay close attention to their talent. These leaders know that to hit their number consistently at least 70% of their sales reps must be at their number every quarter.  Building a team of consistent performers requires a thoughtful and deliberate approach. When assessing your talent, look at the following: 


  1. Number of reps who made their number in 2016
  2. Stack ranking of reps for this year and past 3 years
  3. List of reps that deliver the highest revenue growth year-over-year
  4. Revisit the core competencies of the job to determine what changes are needed to make the new number 


Business Partners 


Your colleagues across other functional areas of the business have likely seen an increase in expectations for 2017 as well.  More sales means more work for Marketing, Operations, Finance, IT, Service, and Legal. Connect with your colleagues to understand what their 2017 objectives look like and find out: 


  1. The three things they are focusing on to achieve their objective
  2. What three risks are they most concerned about happening that could prevent them from achieving their objectives
  3. How you (Sales) can help? 


It’s important to acknowledge that not every customer is created equal. Sell the right customer and everything moves smoothly.  Sell the wrong customer and the internal workings of the company become stressed and break down. Work together with your colleagues to create your ideal customer profile. Think of it as putting the right fuel in the car.  If the car requires premium unleaded but you fill up with regular the car will shake, knock, and stutter as it moves forward. Over time using the wrong fuel will cause your engine will break down, leaving you stranded at the worst possible moment. Business is quite similar.  Bring in the right customers (fuel) and the business runs like a well-oiled machine.  Bring in the wrong customers and the business will stumble, struggle, and fall, trying to serve a customer it hasn’t been designed to serve properly. 




The market is changing and your message may possibly need to change with it.  Do some research on your product and your customers.  Sure, you can say this is Marketing’s responsibility and it very well may be, but your number is YOUR number.  You own it. Invest some time to educate yourself and your team on what’s happening in your world – your market. 


The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and getting the same result.  Even if you hit your number in 2016 you can’t approach 2017 the same way.  The same words, same message, some value proposition may not be enough to get the job done next year. How can you determine what will resonate with your clients in 2017?  Ask the following questions: 


  1. Is your industry growing or constricting?
  2. What changes have taken place with your competitors? Who’s risen, who’s fallen?
  3. What message is your top competitor communicating?
  4. Who are the competitors everyone is watching and why? 


To capture your buyer’s attention in 2017 you will need a strong story. Stories that lead with emotion and include supporting facts will engage your buyers by creating a differentiating buyer experience. 


Making your number in 2018 will present challenges, but also will provide great opportunities for growth. Blending the right strategies with effective tactics will increase the probability of making your number. Let us know if you need a hand.


Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you can make your number? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test to rate yourself against SBI’s sales and marketing strategy to find out if:


  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job


Sales Revenue Growth