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What Can A Playstation Game Teach Us About Sales Targets?

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Posted on May 15, 2017

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Here's a little question to chew over in your head: 

"Are you ahead or behind of where you need to be to hit your sales quota for the period?"

If you continue selling at your current rate, will you hit your sales quota for the period you're tracking? 

If your boss sat you down tomorrow and asked that question, would you have the data-backed insights to confidently say yes/no, or would you be stuck there umming and ahhing and trying to sound like you know what's happening?

What Playstation Taught Me About Sales Target Tracking

As a kid I used to love playing a game on Playstation called Gran Turismo. It is a racing car game, and you might have even heard of or played it yourself.

Gran Turismo had this game mode where you could race against yourself, instead of other computer-controlled cars. 

How it worked was that you would set out on your first lap and get a time. As soon as you crossed the line to start another lap, a "ghost car" would appear on the track and perfectly mimic how you drove the last lap. 

Basically, this ghost car provided a target that you could easily compare against at any point in time. If the ghost car was in your rear-view mirror, then you were ahead of where you needed to be at that point in time to beat your target (smashing the previous lap record). If the ghost car was in front, then you had catching up to do! 

Here's a picture of the ghost car in action from a later installment in the series: 

Gran Turismo Ghost Car

Compounding this was how far through the lap you had progressed. If you fell behind significantly at the start of the lap, then you might still have time to catch up by taking the right actions and driving well. However, if you got behind the ghost car towards the end of the lap, then it became virtually impossible to catch up.

The Gran Turismo approach to target tracking can also be applied to sales. Think about it this way: 

  • Your car - represents you moving through the sales period
  • The ghost car - represents your sales target/quota
  • The track/lap - represents your sales period 

The further behind the target you fall as the period progresses, the harder it is to catch up. Making up a 50% miss against target with one week to go is like trying to come back from 30 seconds behind the ghost car with 1/4 of a lap left ... no matter how well you sell (or drive) you probably aren't going to make it! 

Conversely, the further ahead you can get, the more breathing space you have and the more likely you are to succeed. I can remember racing laps in Gran Turismo where I would get to the final corner and then do something dumb and spin out. However, because I had put so much distance between myself and the ghost car, I still emerged victorious. 

There are parallels to this in sales. If you can track ahead of where you need to be and open up a good lead over your target, then you have more ability to weather downturns - deals that don't go through, contracts that get cancelled etc. 

Look Forwards Not Backwards

Tracking performance sales targets has tended to be a "backwards-looking" task for many reps. You get to the end of the month/quarter/year, look back, then realize you've either hit your quota or not. 

If you made quota, then good work (and hopefully a nice commission check would work its way to your desk). If you didn't get there, then it was back to the drawing board to do better next time. 

In all the hustle and bustle of selling it is easy to lose sight of where you are at on the path to making quota/target.

At Numerik, we believe that one of the keys to selling successfully and hitting quotas is looking forward. 

If you can say with a good degree of confidence whether you are ahead or behind of where you need to be at any given time, then you can react accordingly. 

Constantly track your performance against the target, just like the ghost car does in Gran Turismo. This will help you to get into a position where you are ahead, and then able to stay there. And if you're behind, then you'll know well in advance and be able to take corrective action. 

Long story short? You should be using a sales tracking system that not only allows you to look back, but also identify whether you are ahead or behind of where you need to be at any given time AND project this performance to see where you are projected to finish at the end of the period. 

How Numerik Can Help

One of Numerik's standout features is the ability to see your sales performance against where you need to be - with no fluff or nonsense, meaning instant knowledge of where you're at and greater accountability for results. 

You can then determine if you're ahead - and keep doing what you're doing to open up a bigger lead - or if you're behind then you can revisit your strategy and take more action. Just like that Gran Turismo ghost car! 

Numerik Early Access is coming soon. Send a message to sam.frost@numerik.ly and find out more about how you can get access. 

Article by Sam Frost, Marketing Manager for Numerik.  Connect today to keep updated on Numerik product progress. 

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