Part II MANAGING TO GOAL Building a Best-in-Class Organization for Solution and Value Added Providers

Howard Highsmith, CMC is the Founder of B2B Institute.  A Certified Management Consultant; Howard helps organizations operating in complex sales environments achieve their revenue goals.

Note:  This post is the second in a three-part series about three principles that areimperatives to organizations’ becoming Best-in-Class.  The first post was Organizational Excellence and the critical role that business acumen plays through individual sales initiatives and accountability leading to goal attainment.
Governance, published in February will be the last in this seriesabouta time-driven process for proving the model and being held accountable for results.

PROFIT FROM SALES has been…is now…and always will be…the critical successfactor for a business, regardless of size.  This imperative is absolute whether you own a company or sell for a company.

Authors note:  goal attainment is a very important subject on many levels.  Please see the end of this post to receive a freeeBrief entitled: Doing Business On Demand.

This post focuses on the big picture issues that impact Managing To Goal, a discipline developedby B2B Institute forfrontline sales professionals as it relates to achieving personal goals and earnings and revenue goal attainment on the part of a corporation.  A new buzzword for the managing to goal discipline is shared goalsreplace the word ‘quota’.This single change in thinking puts pressure on individuals to invest time to learn and improve their business acumen and skills as sales professionals.  The benefits to the individual and their organizations are huge!Outside of obvious earnings and revenue generated, individuals and organizations that consistently attain their revenue goals will also discover the illusive secret to success; gaining ADVANTAGEin a marketplace.

Let’s set the scene — since 2003 we have been operating in a business environment or ‘Era’ thathas been called by most industry pundits,the ‘New Normal’.  During this period much fanfare hasbeen given by pundits that the New Normal Era was a great environment in which to do business.  Much of the fanfare wastrue.  So, before we move on, the following question must be asked:

“Since the economic crisis that started in mid-late 2007, EXACTLY what has been normal relative to the economy and business and sales practices?”

Today the reality is this… we are operating in a significantly more aggressive era called ‘On Demand’.  It is also important to recognize that much of the impact of this new era have been significantly clouded by the economic crisis that continues to plague business.When this era is fully realized,it will have served to effectively changed the way business is done by B2B organizations using a solution or value add sales approachin complex sales environments.In an On Demand Era business environment, advantageis a clear differentiator between best-in-class, industry average and laggard organizations.  �
Here is important information about performance issues that impact revenue generation and goal attainment.  According to Stephen R. Covey of FranklinCovey Company and their work with thousands of organizations:
1. People and teams don’t know the goals.  Either there are too many goals or the goals aren’t clear.
2. People and teams don’t know what to do to achieve the goals.  The goals are not translated into day-to-day activities.
3. People and teams don’t keep score.  Few can tell at any moment if they are on track to achieve the organization’s critical goals.
4. People and teams are not held accountable.  For results, employees need relevant and timely feedback and regular accountability.
Source: FranklinCovey Company – Salt Lake City, Utah
The 4 Disciplines of Execution®

An obvious question to ask here is… how do you stand regarding these four statements?ManagingTo Goal addresses all four of the performance issues stated by Covey.
Marketplace Consolidation
Here’s why you should pay close attention – A marketplaceconsolidation has been quietly occurring for the past several years as we are moving from the ‘New Normal’ to ‘On Demand.’In brief; the outcome of this marketplace consolidation is a direct result of increased expectation by clients and customers who are demanding ‘Excellence’ or ‘Best-in-Class’ at all levels from their providers.  This expectation will significantly impact the revenue generation efforts of all three classes of organizations; ‘Best in Class’, ‘Industry Average’ and ‘Laggards.’�
Contributing reasons for consolidation are:

  • The use of technology and wide product/service distribution has leveled the playing field resulting in significantly increased competition.
  • Increased competition has also clouded the decision process.
    We are operating in an expanding global marketplace.
  • Poorly devised/executed marketing and sales strategies.
  • Increasing pressures on gross margins and pre-tax profits.
  • Answers to Covey’s findings demonstrate clear differences between Best-in-Class and Industry Average and Laggard organizations.
  • Difficulties in recruiting and retaining top frontline sales professionals.
  • Wide distribution of intellectual property (IP) through a directsales
    organization and/or a channel/network of authorized resellers.
  • The commoditization of both products and services at virtually
    every sophistication level in an effort by buyers to move price near
    the top of a requirements list for creating a short list or making final
    vendor selections.
    And, more…

In all my years of experience working with and for sales organizations the single, critical factor that obstructs goal attainment is not having enough qualified sales opportunities in the pipeline.  In this context it is vital that you determine what your pipeline ratio is.  This ratio serves as a benchmark for predicting near term revenue.  A pipeline ratio compares the total revenue value of allqualified sales opportunitiesin the pipeline divided by the monthly revenue goal.  Many think this ratio only has to be 2-3 times greater than the monthly goal.  The concept behind this thinking is you typically ‘close’ one out of every two (or three) deals.  Based on my experience, this math (ratio) simply doesn’t work.  If you were in a business to consumer (B2C) marketplace, a 2-3:1 ratio ‘might’ work.  In a business to business (B2B) marketplace, the ratio will be considerably higher.  Why?  Request and read my eBrief on Doing Business On Demand.

Lastly, I believe the endgame for both individuals and organizations is this business environment is establishing a ‘Best-in-Class’ status.  Among other things; best-in-class embodies goal attainment as one of its operating tenets and will serve individuals and corporations well in an On Demand Era environment.  Anything less will come with a price that most don’t want to pay.
Good Luck and Good Selling.

Howard Highsmith, CMC
B2B Institute

P.S. Send your v-card to me ( and I will send you an eBrief entitled: Doing Business On Demand that covers Managing To goal and more in greater detail.  The value of this eBrief is $129 and is provided at nocostorobligation.  Note:  all v-card information must be complete to qualify.


Ok, you have regained control of pipeline management and working to improve the accuracy of your forecast reporting about near term revenue.  Governance is a six month program to ensure the transition from no or poor management of the process to quality reporting results in a model for sustained goal attainment.