Why Most CEOs Don't Fulfill Their B2B Sales Goals

12 min read
Feb 4, 2022

The power of goal setting isn't a revolutionary idea anymore.  Yet, most CEOs and salespeople consistently fail to achieve their B2B sales and business goals!

What's going on here?  If goal setting is so powerful, then why do most people consistently fail to do what they set out to do?

The hard truth of the matter is that, while most business owners and sales reps believe in the power of setting sales goals, they consistently fail to achieve them for 5 key reasons, which we are sharing here!

If you feel like you’re pounding the pavement everyday only to not reach your goals, then you’ve come to the right place.  By the end of this, you will:

  1. Understand why you're not accomplishing your sales goals
  2. Know what you need to do to start achieving your goals
  3. Have a renewed perspective on goals and goal setting

If every B2B salesperson who set goals accomplished them, there would be many more happy sales representatives out there today...

Set yourself apart from the pack, achieve your sales goals, and create the business results of your dreams, starting here!


B2B sales success


The Importance of Sales In B2B Business


It doesn't matter what kind of business you run, whether you run a large or small business, or how much sales experience you have... At the end of the day, sales is the heart of business.

You can have the best product or service on earth, but it doesn't matter unless you can sell it to people!  More importantly than that, if you don't sell your deliverable, then you don't have a channel to make the kind of impact on the world that you want to make!

Therefore, if sales isn't part of your central business focus, then you need to refocus yourself.  Because, once sales slip, the rest of your business starts to slip.  On the other hand, if sales is thriving, then the overall business thrives.

Business and sales are one, not two separate things.  There is no business without any sales, so make sales one of your top priorities!


1. Overestimating the Importance of Goals


Despite the hype that goal setting gets, it really isn't the most important piece of your sales success puzzle.


Yes... setting sales goals is very important, but it certainly isn't the most important part of the business and sales puzzle!

There are three key parts to the business and sales success puzzle, including the:

  1. Conclusion (vision)
  2. Strategy
  3. Goals

First off, the absolute most important piece of the puzzle is your conclusion.  Also known as your vision, it's the thing that you dream about at night.  It's the world that you're trying to create through your business!  More than that, it’s the reason you started a business in the first place.

Every entrepreneur starts a business with the intention of shaping the world in a certain way.  The way that they intend to shape the world is defined in their conclusion.

Secondly and the second most important piece of the puzzle is your strategy.  The strategy is the outline of the plans you have to bring that vision to life by selling your specific product of service.  Think of it like your master plan, which includes your B2B sales process and strategy.

Lastly, goals are the small boxes that you check on a regular basis to fulfill your strategy.  For example, developing an amazing marketing strategy and sales funnel are both great goals in which, when achieved, accumulate to fulfill the overall strategy.

From now on, think of goals as sales tools.  They're the things that you accomplish to put the pieces of your strategy together, which ultimately brings your grand conclusion to life.


The Most Important Thing Is Your Vision


Believing that your goals are the most important thing to B2B sales success sets you up for failure.


Because, when the majority of your focus goes into checking boxes, you don't take the opportunity to step back and look at the big picture, AKA your conclusion.  And when you aren't focused on the big picture, your perspective narrows.  

With a small perspective, you're more likely to make the wrong moves on the path to fulfilling your conclusion.

Think of your conclusion, strategy, and goals like a funnel that is widest at the top and narrowest at the bottom... You should always start at the widest part of the funnel and then work downwards!

Bottom line: The clarity of your vision, or conclusion, is the single-most important factor to sales and overall business success.  Accomplished goals accumulate to manifest the vision, but still the vision itself is the most important business success factor.


Goals Are the Means to the End


Many people assume that realizing their conclusion itself is a goal.  However, that isn't the right way to think about conclusions and goals!

See, here's the thing... A conclusion is not a finite thing.  The vision that you're working to manifest will always be changing and evolving to become even greater overtime.

For example, many years ago, Jeff Bezos had a vision to create the e-commerce website, Amazon, that centered around a flawless online customer experience.  Overtime as the conclusion began to manifest, it evolved into something even greater than just e-commerce, and will likely continue to grow into an even bigger vision in the future!

On the other hand, a goal is a finite thing.  It's a box you check that you can conclusively say you've finished!

Had Jeff Bezos thought of the e-commerce book-selling vision of Amazon as the ultimate goal, then the company wouldn't have ever evolved into the beast it is today.

Never forget the goals are simply the means to the end and the building blocks of visions!  They're not the end.  Rather, they're boxes to check.


2. Underestimating the Energy It Takes to Accomplish Goals


How many times has this happened to you before: You wake up on the first day of the month ready to tackle your monthly goals.  You set a goal to make a specific number of deals before the month ends.  Then, you wake up on the final day of the month feeling absolutely exhausted and extremely frustrated that you didn't reach your quota!  And the worst part is that you did absolutely everything in your power to take your B2B leads through the end of the sales funnel.  What gives?

If this situation sounds familiar to you, odds are that you underestimate the amount of energy it takes to achieve your goals!  If this specific example sounds even more familiar to you, then you're likely underestimating the amount of energy it takes to close deals. 

It's not that you aren't doing a good job or working hard enough, it's just that you don't have a good understanding of how much energy it takes to fulfill your goals!

That being said, before you set a goal, you need to take the time to estimate how much energy it will take you to accomplish it.  By energy, we mean the resources and information you'll need to accomplish it.

Stop setting goals based on what you hope you'll get done in a specific amount of time.  Instead, set goals that realistically reflect the amount of energy they require, so that you don’t end up feeling burnt out and disappointed!


Create Your Goals Based on Energy Input


Achieving business-to-business sales goals often takes more work than we initially think they take.  Hence, why we don't accomplish them, even after putting countless hours of work in!

From now on, whenever you create a goal, estimate the amount of energy it'll take to complete it.

For example, if your goal is to increase your week-to-week sales by 10% in one month, think about what resources you'll need to make that happen.  Also, consider what smaller sub-goals you can break the single goal down into, and how much energy it'll take to accomplish those sub-goals.  Ultimately after assessing the goal, ask yourself if you realistically have the bandwidth to complete it in the amount of time that you’ve specified.

At the end of the day, it's better to set realistic goals and smash them than it is to create overzealous goals that look and sound impressive only to fall through on them.


B2B sales goals


3. Basing Their Goals on Complex B2B Sales Strategies


Remember how B2B sales works: You've got your grand business conclusion, a business and sales strategy to make it come to life, and goals to complete the pieces of the strategy.

However, one major, major mistake that many business owners and sales professionals make is developing extremely over-complicated strategies.  More specifically, they develop unnecessarily complicated B2B sales cycles.

To put it simply: Unnecessarily complex sales cycles (also known as sales pipelines or sales processes) lay the groundwork for unnecessarily complex goals.  And, whenever a goal is more complex than it needs to be, it becomes harder to accomplish.

Believe it or not, but most sales pros self-sabotage themself when it comes to their goals.  The reason... They believe that complexity will increase their odds of sales success.

Doesn't make sense... Does it?  While it definitely doesn't make sense, most of us unconsciously default to complexity without even realizing it.

The reason?

We’ve been conditioned to believe that if something is complex it is more effective. However, that couldn't be further from the truth!

Complex strategies might be impressive to look at, but they're ultimately damaging because they lay the foundation for complex goals that are extremely difficult to fulfill.


Complexity Is the Root of B2B Sales Downfall


There's no way to beat around the bush: Complexity is the root of sales and business downfall.  The easiest and most common way to shoot yourself in the foot is to develop unnecessarily complex strategies because they lead to the development of complex goals. 

Don't believe us?

Consider this: Imagine that you are a skier at the top of a mountain and you have a vision of yourself flawlessly skiing down the hill with the wind blowing in your hair and the sun on your face.  There are two different runs you can choose to go down... The first one is on an extremely steep hill with multiple jumps and sharp turns, while the second one is on a mild incline with no jumps and is pretty much a straight shot down the hill.  In order to make your vision come to life, which run would you choose to go down?  Of course, you would choose the second one, because it is less complex!

If you think of the vision of flawlessly getting down the mountain as your business conclusion and the two runs as different strategies, you would of course choose the second strategy because it is more straightforward with fewer places for things to go wrong.

However, in reality, most business owners choose the more complex of the two strategies, even though there are many more opportunities for things to go wrong!  Again, the most likely reason being that they have been conditioned to believe that complexity = success.

Don't be like most sales pros and shoot yourself in the foot by opting for complexity.  Instead, opt for simplicity to significantly increase the odds of fulfilling your conclusion.


Complex Strategies = Complex Processes = Complex Goals


A sales strategy is the foundational blueprint for all of business and sales.  It sets the stage for the selling process, which then lays the foundation for the goals you must accomplish.

That being said, if you develop a complex strategy, you'll get a longer sales cycle with more hoops to jump through.  As a result, you'll need to develop more complex goals.

The more complex your goals, the more opportunities there are for things to go wrong.

Bottom line:  Just keep things simple.  If you feel like you're jumping through hoops and going crazy with different sales techniques, then you're doing something majorly wrong.

Success can be found in simplicity.  Simple strategy = simple processes = simple goals = winning.


4. Not Understanding Their B2B Buyer’s Goals


What is sales, and really business, all about?

It's about bringing a vision to life through serving people (AKA your potential customers).  It's about two B2B companies coming together to fulfill one another's wishes.

On your end, by selling your deliverable, you get to bring your vision to life!  And on your B2B customer's end, they get their pain point solved, and therefore get closer to bringing their own vision to life.

In short: Business is about equal relationships!  In the B2B world, it's about two B2B companies coming together to serve one another's needs for the ultimate purpose of bringing their visions to life.

Therefore, unless you consider your potential B2B customers and their goals, then you're forgetting what business is about and making it harder to achieve your own goals.

Think of it like this: If achieving your goals comes at the expense of your customers and their buying process, then you're ultimately just shooting yourself in the foot!

On the other hand, if you make your customer's needs central to your own goals, then you will give them what they really need, and in turn they'll give you what you really need!

There is no such thing as something for nothing.  In order to achieve your goals, you must focus on fulfilling your customer's goals.


B2B Selling Is About Relationships


From now on, think of your business relationships just like you do the other relationships in your life, such as your friendships.

And, what factors make for a successful friendship?

Perhaps the most important factor to make a friendship work is understanding what the other party wants and needs.  When you understand the other party's wants and needs, you know exactly what you need to deliver and how you need to deliver it to satisfy them.

That being said, until you understand your customer's wants and needs, you will never satisfy your own goals.

From now on, the central goal of you and your sales team should be to uncover the desires of your potential customers.  Until you understand not just what they want but how they want it, it'll be impossible for you to achieve your own goals and manifest the conclusion.


Get Down on the Level of the Decision-Makers


Unlike in business-to-consumer sales in which the sales cycle is usually very short and you don't spend much time with the person making the buying decision, things are completely different in B2B sales.

In business-to-business sales, the time you invest into understanding your qualified leads is crucial to success.

And, the most important people you need to understand are the top stakeholders at the B2B company.  The stakeholders are the individuals who hold the decision-making authority in the company.

The more you understand the decision-makers and what their own goals are, the sooner you will close the deal on them and fulfill your own goals.

If you're coming from a B2C sales background, make it a point to shift your entire sales approach!  You can't just spend a minute or two working with the individual consumer making the purchasing decision. Instead, you need to invest your time to understand the decision-makers and what their ultimate conclusions are.

The more you understand the decision-makers, the closer you are to fulfilling your own goals.


5. Thinking That Fulfilling Goals Will Satisfy Them


Wherever you find fulfillment in life is where your attention goes.  Wherever your attention goes is where your energy flows.  Whatever gets your energy the most grows the most.  Therefore, you should base fulfillment on only the most important things in life…

When it comes to business, the most important thing you can base your fulfillment on is your ultimate conclusion!  Because, when you find fulfillment in your conclusion, it will certainly grow.

More specifically, you shouldn't just find fulfillment in your conclusion… But, the process of bringing it to life!

Unfortunately, many business owners and sales pros look for fulfillment in their goals.  As a result, their energy goes towards their goals, when it should be going to the bigger picture conclusion.  In the end, putting their energy in the wrong outlet leads to disaster.

Find your fulfillment in your conclusion, not your goals!  Because, again... Whatever you base your fulfillment on is where your attention goes and ultimately energy flows.  At the end of the day, the most important thing to put your energy towards is your conclusion.

Remember, goals are not the end but the means to the end.  Therefore, if you're solely focused on the means to the end, you're not going to focus on the big picture.  And as you already know, not looking at the big business and sales picture leads to disaster.

You only have so much time and energy to give.  Therefore, only give it to the most important things in life!


Achieving a Goal Lasts for a Brief Second


When you really think about it, basing all of your fulfillment on whether or not you achieve your sales goals is extremely silly.

Because, it often takes days, weeks, months, or even years to complete goals.  Yet, achieving a goal literally lasts for a brief second in time.

How silly would it be to base all of your fulfillment on a single second in time?

In short: It's extremely silly!  And, not just silly, but down-right depressing!

We're not saying that you shouldn't be happy when you achieve goals.  But, we are saying that you shouldn't base all of your life's fulfillment on whether or not you achieve them.

There are 86,400 seconds in a day, 604,800 seconds in a week, and more than 31 million seconds in a year... Are you really going to dictate your fulfillment based on a brief second in time that you check your goal box?  Hopefully not.


Why is B2B sales so hard?


Final Thoughts on Why CEOs Don’t Achieve Their Sales Goals


You can be the most hard-working and intelligent business owner on earth and still not achieve your B2B sales goals.

That being said, now that you know why most CEOs and salespeople don't achieve their goals, you have no excuse to not accomplish yours.  And, more importantly than that, you know what it takes to manifest your highest business visions through accomplishing sales goals.

What are you waiting for?  Set and smash your goals to create the business you want to have and the life you want to live.


Get more prospects, more sales, and higher-paying clients fast, so you can take your business to the next level.

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