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With the year quickly winding down, many Sales professionals, Marketing executives, and business owners are scrambling right now to make their organizations year-end goals. While some of them are killing themselves to make quota and quell investor drama, others have already accepted defeat and are looking back wondering what went wrong.

If you would like to avoid either of these situations in the coming years, reduce the amount of stress in your life, and exceed your organizations sales goals, here is a great goal-setting technique that has worked for Ascend and our clients consistently for the last 20+ years. Enjoy!

Eleven (11) Months

So how many months are in a year? 12? No. 11+1.

Whether you are leading a team (especially a sales force) or yourself in a territory, you should take your annual goal(s) and break them down over an 11 month cycle. Why? Because everyone knows that year-end can be a crap-shoot in Sales. While some industries historically thrive, others suffer. Moreover, despite what industry you are in, anything can happen. You should always be prepared for the worst even if December is typically good. You see, people (customers and employees) get Holiday-itis and lose focus, drive, and their competitive edge easily at year-end.

Don’t put your success in the hands of chance and emotion. Take control by planning on hitting your goals by Thanksgiving. Then you and your team can really enjoy the holidays because any other sales that come in are simply icing on the proverbial cake.

How it Works

Whether you run a small business, manage your own territory for a Fortune 500 company, or lead a multi-billion dollar empire, here’s how Ascend’s 11-month goal setting technique works:

  1. Simple Math. Take this years goal and divide by 11, not 12. For illustration sake, we’ll use the annual goal of $20,000,000$20M divided by 11 months = $1,818,182.00/month sales goal.
  2. Layout the Plan. Next, layout the annual Sales calendar in one (1) of the following ways:
  • Method 1: Proportionate. This method works great for businesses that sales performance relies primarily on the assertiveness of the reps, does not have a distinct sales cycle, or does not have historic and reliable sales data to go by. Simply put, your goal calendar would look something like this:
  • Please Note: Option 1 highlights my preferred method. Notice December. While the company goal is $20M, we add in an additional month publicly and set a HUGE bonus and incentive for the team to hit this stretch goal. If they do GREAT! Everyone wins and are handsomely rewarded. If they don’t hit this stretch goal, no problem! They are still way ahead of pace to hit the original company goal of $20M, you have far less stress in your life worrying about year-end. Plus, you are not likely to fall short because the teams focus and attention has been so high all year. By putting the $21.8 M goal in front of your team publicly, a well led group will see this goal everyday as the ‘standard’ and not even consider accepting or trying to achieve anything less; this is the number that is drilled in their heads and they will be determined to achieve. If for some reason the team doesn’t hit the stretch goal that year, but hits the original company goal of $20M, the team should still be lavishly praised and rewarded. Celebrate for a little while together and then start working on next years goals!
  • Method 2: HistoricUsing the Historic method is slightly more complicated, but still easy. This method is best for organizations that have distinct sales cycles, seasons, and historical sales data on hand (5 years + preferably to see consistent patterns). What you do with this method is take your historic sales data and look for sales cycles and patterns. Once you see a consistent cycle, set your monthly goals accordingly. Again, the final year-end number/goal should come out to the same as method 1, but the distribution will vary per month based on history and sales cycles in your industry. For example, using the Historic method your goal calendar might look something like this:
  1. Make it Public & Stay Consistent! Once your goals are established, rolling this program out to the team is key. At first you may get some push back, but soon the dust will settle, 90% of your team will rise, and the other 10% will be revealed as those needing a new career. Just make sure that after you roll this type of sales plan you post a goal achievement chart it in front of everyone in a public place so they can be reminded of the goal often. However, focus them in on daily, weekly, and monthly performance through key metrics that will help them achieve their part of the annual goal without being overwhelmed. Remember, while there are thousands of points to measure, only focus in on 10-12 areas that truly equate to performance and your organizations bottom-line. Don’t micromanage people. That’s just pointless and demotivating. Hire the right people, train them well, give them the tools they need to succeed, and then get out of the way. Your team will perform for you!

By using this 11+1 method for sales success, You will accomplish several things. Just some of which are:

  • You set the bar high. Right off the bat in January, you send a clear message to your organization that this year is going to be serious and hard work, but well worth it, and with great reward!
  • You unite the team. By establishing and sharing a clear vision/goal for your team upfront, laying out an aggressive but achievable plan, and giving them the tools and resources to achieve it, you will inspire your team to greatness. You are almost ensuring victory from day one- literally, January 1. The variables now are leadership, encouragement, and consistency. Remember, your team/territory can only rise as high as You.
  • You reveal the winners. At first, it is not uncommon for many to be uncomfortable with this type of goal. However, with a clear vision & plan, consistent and positive measurement of key metrics, and sincere encouragement from leadership that the team can and will achieve their goal, your people will rise to the occasion and make you proud. Take care of them, they will take care of you.
  • You give yourself some breathing room. Let’s say that come November, you are slightly behind on your stretch goal. Before that would have meant you in panic mode, chaos would arise among the troops, and long hours during the holidays would be inevitable. Now, no problem! With the 11+1 sales cycle you now have the cushion you need to still finish on top, but with a healthy pressure to succeed, not a deteriorating stress. People will work hard and focus on hitting that stretch goal, but now it is for emotional reasons, not necessity.

Hope this article helps you to tremendously exceed your teams sales goals next year. While this really is a simple concept, it can be tricky to roll out. So if you need some clarity or help, feel free to give us a call. We’d love to help you and your team be more successful this year- and beyond!

Also, if you would, share the love by sending this article on to others we’d really appreciate it. Whether you forward a link, re-post it to social media sites, Like it/ Thumbs Up it, or join our weekly mailing list, we truly thank you for your help in sharing these practical business and life tips with your family, friends, and professional colleagues.

At Ascend, our goal is to train as many people as possible to grow more than they ever thought possible. Without your help spreading the word though, that goal becomes far more difficult. So thank you ahead of time for your help! 🙂

Have a great weekend, God bless, and I look forward to hearing your success story soon!


David Pasqualone

Scripture to Consider:

  • Proverbs 29:18
  • I Corinthians 14:40