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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Managing a Salesperson Who Consistently Misses Their Goals

Managing a Salesperson Who Consistently Misses Their Goals

Managing a sales team can be challenging, especially when salespeople consistently miss their budget or sales targets.

While it's natural for sales professionals to have their ups and downs, it's essential to address performance issues promptly and effectively to ensure the overall success of your team and organization.

In this blog, we'll explore strategies and tips for managing salespeople who miss their budget, helping you turn underperformance into improved results.

1. Understand the Reasons

Before taking any corrective action, it's crucial to understand the reasons behind a salesperson missing their goals.

Sales performance can be influenced by various factors, including market conditions, personal challenges, or even management issues. Take the time to have open and honest conversations with your salespeople to identify the underlying causes. Then, put a plan in place to help them get back on track.

2. Set Clear Expectations

One of the primary responsibilities of a sales manager is to set clear and achievable sales targets and expectations. Make sure that your salespeople understand what is expected of them, both in terms of revenue goals and the sales process itself. When expectations are crystal clear, salespeople are more likely to stay on track and strive for success.

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3. Provide Ongoing Training and Support

Sales is an ever-evolving field, and your salespeople need to stay up to date with product knowledge and industry trends. Invest in ongoing training and development programs to help your team improve their skills and confidence. This will not only boost their performance but also enhance their job satisfaction.

4. Regularly Review Goals

While setting annual or quarterly sales goals is essential, it's equally crucial to review and monitor their pacing toward goals. If market conditions change or other unforeseen factors come into play, be flexible in your approach and consider pivoting on how they can reach the annual goal. This demonstrates that you're responsive to the real-world challenges your sales team faces.

5. Offer Constructive Feedback - Often

When a salesperson consistently misses their budget, it's essential to provide constructive feedback rather than punitive measures. Focus on their specific strengths and discuss ways they can work around their weaknesses.

Offer guidance on how they can improve their performance. Encourage a growth mindset and create a supportive atmosphere where your salespeople feel comfortable seeking help and learning from their mistakes. You want to consistently offer coaching prior to punitive measures.

6. Monitor and Analyze Performance Data

Leverage data and analytics to track and analyze your sales team's performance. By regularly reviewing key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the number of weekly appointments, conversion rates, average deal size, and sales cycle length, you can identify areas where individual salespeople may need improvement. Data-driven insights can also help you make informed decisions about resource allocation and strategy adjustments.

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7. Implement Incentives and Recognition Programs

Motivation plays a significant role in sales success. Consider implementing incentive programs and recognition initiatives to reward high-performing salespeople and encourage healthy competition within the team. Incentives can be financial, such as bonuses or commissions, or non-monetary, such as public recognition. Find out what motivates each individual, and as much as you can, lean into their motivation.

8. Foster a Collaborative Team Environment

A sales team that works together and supports one another is more likely to succeed collectively. Encourage collaboration by creating a positive team environment where knowledge-sharing and camaraderie thrive. Salespeople can learn from each other's successes and challenges, which can lead to improved overall performance.

9. Give Salespeople Autonomy

While it's essential to set clear expectations and provide support, salespeople often perform best when they have some degree of autonomy. Allow them to use their creativity and judgment to adapt their sales approach to individual customer needs. Empowering your sales team can lead to more effective problem-solving and innovative sales strategies.

10. Consider Performance Improvement Plans

In some cases, persistent underperformance may require a formal performance improvement plan (PIP). A PIP outlines specific goals, timelines, and actions that the salesperson needs to take to meet their targets. It also serves as a basis for continued monitoring and evaluation.

Be sure to communicate the plan clearly and involve the salesperson and HR in its development to ensure commitment and accountability. Some view a PIP as a correct way to “let someone go.” In an ideal situation, a PIP can turn a non-performer around. Do all you can to support their efforts; then, the results are in their hands.


Managing salespeople who miss their budget is a delicate balance of support, feedback, and accountability. By understanding the reasons behind their underperformance and implementing the strategies mentioned above, you can create an environment where your sales team can thrive.

Remember that improvement takes time, and a patient and constructive approach will yield the best results in the long run. Ultimately, your goal should be to help your salespeople reach their full potential and contribute to the overall success of your organization.

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Topics: sales performance sales leadership