Do You Set Goals or Give Commitments?

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It occurred to me while reading The Corner Office column in the business section of the New York Times on August 12, 2013 that I have been setting goals for years without really understanding that I was focusing on the wrong thing.  I should have been focusing on commitments.

During the interview that Adam Bryant of the New York Times conducted with Hugh Martin, the CEO of Sensity Systems, Mr. Martin explained that when people say, “Well, the goal is…”, he replies, “I don’t care about what the goal is.  I want a commitment.”

Mr. Martin went on to say that if he does not tell his board or Wall Street that “My goal is to earn 23 cents per share in profits.”  Rather, he says he has to commit and that by committing, “the shareholders believe that I’m going to do what I say I’m going to do.”

This thought process  made it easier for me to grasp the wisdom of giving commitments, not setting goals.  After all a goal is defined as the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.  Goals are a target, objective, or an intention.

I no longer want sales representatives who try to develop thermoforming sales to tell me their goal is to achieve a certain number of sales over a period of time.  I now want them to give me a commitment that they will attain a certain level of sales.  If they can’t commit, they cannot achieve.

 A commitment is a pledge or promise; an obligation.  On a personal level, when we marry we offer a commitment, not a goal.  We do not state, ‘my goal is to love and cherish you till death do us part.”  We state, “I promise to love and cherish you till death do us part.”

If we all approached the success we desire as a commitment it would follow that the probability of success would be greatly increased.  

You can read the complete interview with Mr. Martin by clicking on the Corner Office link at the beginning of this article.



Thermoforming Sales Success… And Now a Word About Sales in 2020

Filed in Business | Manufacturing | Manufacturing Sales | Sales | Thermoforming Leave a comment


Today’s “new normal” sales landscape has sales leaders scratching their heads, wondering about the best way to structure their sales organizations. Should they keep their expensive sales duo: inside sales AND field sales? Or just go with inside sales? Good question. Step into my time machine. When you step out in the year 2020, and the landscape may look quite different.

Ten Reasons Why Field Sales Teams Are Becoming Obsolete

The following trends indicate that field sales teams are becoming extinct. Here’s why:

  1. Inside sales teams continue to grow at 15% each year. The hybrid salesperson will emerge, and they will be technically, culturally, socially, and skillfully diverse and astute.
  2. The average cost of an outside B2B sales call is $215-$400 per call. An inside call, on the other hand, averages only $25-$75.
  3. It is expected that 85% of buyer-seller interactions will happen online through social media and video. Customers will not need a field salesperson to come on-site for a long lunch followed by a golf game.
  4. Today, we have 20 million salespeople. But that number is predicted to be reduced to 8 million by the year 2020. Why? Mainly because the customer won’t need to engage early in the sales cycle: 57% of the buying process is completed before connecting with a salesperson.
  5. Structuring a global workforce and creating geographic territories will be a thing of the past because today’s salespeople work virtually, socially, and inter-culturally. The increased sophistication of translation software will enable computers to quickly translate languages, reducing the need to hire reps who speak the native language.
  6. Virtual interactions will replace face-to-face field visits. Right now, Skype, web conferencing, and video are quickly catching on over face-to-face visits and traditional meetings. Some futurists predict the emergence of reality technology — we can watch 3-D holographic images of one another while simultaneously viewing documents on our desktops and laptops (or whatever replaces them!).
  7. Scheduling an on-site meeting with the committee of decision-makers will be almost impossible — especially because the committee of decision-makers now has up to 21 people in it, and most of them telecommute. As many as 100 million people are expected to telecommute to work by the year 2013. They will be calling from home or another wired office.
  8. A whopping 40% of the companies that were at the top of the Fortune 500 list in 2000 were no longer even on that list as of 2010. The first areas to go are field sales teams.
  9. Today’s automated/voice recognition technology will increase the verbal commands and recognition that will replace the human voice.
  10. Your most important customers (you know — the named accounts that the field usually manages?) won’t be so important in 2020. If your US business isn’t clued into the needs of emerging markets, China (not the US) will be the largest economy.

Posted on socialmediatoday on July 20, 2012 by Josiane Feigon

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