Wells Fargo: What Happens When You Set Targets Based on Rhyme Not Reason

I’m not ready to stop sharing the Wells Fargo fiasco and what it means for us as professional sellers. Today, we are hearing about sales targets.

The average American has 3 accounts at their bank. Wells Fargo decided to set 8 accounts per person as their target.

Why 8?

Before I answer that, let’s take a step back to understand how sales targets are set at other (successful) companies. When a company sets sales targets they look at last year’s results, the size of the market, and the market capacity. They assess their client’s needs, the size of each seller’s territory and set a target at an amount that the market will bear.

Not Wells Fargo.

They set their target at 8 accounts per person because “8 rhymes with great”. This is a quote from their 2010 Annual Report.

When targets are set unreasonably high, have no bearing on what is realistic, and especially when they don’t reflect typical buying behavior, you create an environment ripe for abuse. This is exactly what Wells Fargo did. They created an environment where the only way for their employees to win was to cheat.

These executives need to be held accountable. Now.