top of page

Missing the Mark: Why do sales people miss quotas?

It can be very frustrating to take time projecting your sales and setting quotas, only to have your sales people consistently miss them. But, perhaps it isn’t your sales person’s fault…or at least not completely.

Typically there are some reasons why a quota is missed, and often the cause is rooted in one of three areas:

  1. Undefined process - If you do not have estimated timeframes for how long a prospect should be in each stage of your sales process, then you may not know until the end of the month that a sales person hasn’t moved a prospect far enough along to meet quota. By nature, sales people tend to fly by the seat of their pants. This can result in missed targets, if not missed sales altogether so you need to have a weekly pulse on the process.

  2. Accountable sales culture – Have you ever thought about how your accounting department runs and the way frequent reviews of reports and financials is standard operating procedure? The sales team can take a page from this play book by creating a sales culture that frequently reviews, tracks and measures progress as well as closings. This close oversight on sales allows you to see around the corner on the likelihood of deals closing to meet your targets.

  3. Unrealistic sales quotas – The last thing to look at – and I truly mean the last thing – is the quota itself. You don’t want unmotivated sales people because the number is way beyond reach. The sales quota should change for different sales people, depending on how long they have been with you, how big their territory is, etc. It should also be heavily tied to their compensation. If they don’t hit quota and it doesn’t affect their income, then it is time to change your compensation plan, not your quota.

One of the hardest parts of the sales process can be orchestrating your quotas to meet sales projections. Following a defined sales process, making your sales team accountable to timeframes as well as numbers, and setting realistic targets can greatly increase your chances of hitting the mark.

Interested in learning more? Check out our podcast episode on sales strategy that instills growth. Click the image below!


As CEO of Acuity Systems, Inc., Tom Niesen blends his own experiences with nationally proven training and evaluation tools from The Sandler Sales Institute, Objective Management Group, and Extended DISC, to teach a unique brand of sales training and personal development. Before starting Acuity Systems, Inc. in 1995, Niesen spent 14 years in upper sales management and marketing positions with Polaroid and Fuji Film. There he built sales teams and began to understand the importance of having the right people, processes, and culture.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page