The Right Target

Premiership managers are often heard talking about how they must first reach 40 points. It is at such a mark that they feel they preserve their prized status for another year. Gain 40 points, so the theory goes, and after all 38 games are done and dusted, you won’t be relegated.

Yet I heard a fascinating insight from a former Charlton player and S African international, Shaun Bartlett. During Alan Curbishley’s (widely considered successful) reign, he felt that they had the 40-pt mantra drummed into them so much, that when they reached the threshold (often laughably early, even during Feb) then the players, however unknowingly, relaxed. Every year they seemed to fall off a cliff and win no more points.

He firmly felt that this was an under-achievement, and one that could have been prevented.

The same holds true for sales performance on so many levels. The obvious pair of approaches are to break-down the target into smaller chunks and have target-steps.

In the context of football, this would mean earning points over different segments of the season. Ideally, the target would be more than you actually need (say 12 points from each 9 season-quarter games). Also, targeting a mini-league of games (where you pace yourself against your most vulnerable opponents) could also be a different, and more effective, way forward.

Such thinking when applied to solution sales can encompass your own seasonality, type of client or competitor and provide the kind of over-achievement clearly lacking from Charlton.

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