Revenue Targets Are Arbitrary and Absurd

Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end. – Bob Marley

You know that feeling when you repeat a word so many times it became absurd and seemingly lost its meaning? Apparently it’s called Semantic Satiation.

I recently observed something similar at work: business growth target numbers are arbitrary and absurd.

The past 4 years I’ve worked most closely with Sales function at work, so I am very much aware and am invested in how much impact my team has on the revenue, conversion rate, and pipeline health. The company itself is also very open with the finances so a large part of the organisation has a good commercial awareness. Even though the team were not measured by any Sales metrics, I appreciate how everyone always shows up 100% and goes above and beyond to ensure Sales team can reliably book good projects.

As the organisation evolved, the past two months my team has been involved in more Sales team meetings. We are now exposed to more different numbers being discussed, beyond the usual booking sizes, average deal value, and conversion rate. We also changed the metrics and KPIs for the team. Basically the team has a quota to fulfill now and will start being measured by different indicators tied to revenue.

I would’ve thought that seeing these revenue targets more closely and formally getting that baked into the incentives would make me take them more seriously or feel the pressure even more. But instead they became silly.

Such an arbitrary number. Why are we chasing these random numbers? Grow grow grow.

I would’ve thought getting immersed in the thick of things and details would cause you to eventually forget that you’re just playing a game and only by stepping back you see the grand scheme of thing that it’s just a “game”.

But this time the more I see, the less daunting and less “real” it feels. The best I can describe it is like seeing a large shadow shrinks as your flashlight gets closer to the object.

Have you ever experienced this?

Also published on Medium.

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