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“Who Cares How We Hit the Numbers?”

There are a couple of SellingBrew Playbook subscribers who really seem to enjoy getting me riled up. We’ve worked together in previous lives, so they’ve learned how to push my buttons. And they never miss an opportunity to ask a loaded question, knowing that it will set me off on a rant.

It’s all in good fun, so I won’t name names (Dave and Tom). And besides, on extremely rare occasions they get extraordinarily lucky and one of their smarty-pants questions actually has some instructive value!

Take this one, for example:

“Who cares how we hit the numbers, as long as we hit them?”

Of course, these guys know better and are just trying to get me going. Regardless, it’s a question that many Sales Ops people will have to deal with at some point in their careers. So let’s address it…

Just hitting the revenue targets is a near-term, tactical objective. Hitting those numbers in the right ways, however, is a longer-term, strategic objective.

For example, there’s a massive difference between hitting the numbers by selling large volumes of product to gray-market brokers at steep discounts, and hitting those very same numbers by selling to high-LTV customers in strategic segments at great margins. Achieving the former won’t do much at all for your company in the quarters to come, and may actually harm your future business prospects. In sharp contrast, achieving the latter would lay the foundations for solid business growth and stellar financial performance for decades to come.

Yes, individual salespeople are generally charged with hitting a short-term revenue target. That’s their job. But it’s everyone else’s job to think about the longer term.

If you’re anyone other than an individual salesperson, it’s a big mistake to think that just hitting a revenue target, any which way you can, is all that matters. After all, there are plenty of sales and marketing leaders who’ve exited their companies “for personal reasons” even though they hit their revenue goals each and every quarter like clockwork. Why?

Because they didn’t pay enough attention to the quality of the revenue they were driving. In the interest of hitting a revenue target at all costs, they sold the wrong offerings, to the wrong types of customers, at the wrong margins, etc.

So, don’t kid yourself. It may take a while, but eventually the CEO, the COO, the CFO, the entire Board of Directors, and every major shareholder, will all care very, very deeply about “how” you hit the numbers.

Dave/Tom: Keep ’em coming, boys…I can do this all day long 🙂

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