Research from Harvard University found that students who set specific goals increased their academic achievement by 30 percent. But can goal setting will have the same effect on the individuals in your sales team? Absolutely.
As a successful sales manager, the key to achieving sales goals is to commit regular segments of time to set the goals and monitor progress. You should also have a specific meeting for setting sales goals with your team, where you can explain what you’ll measure, how you’ll measure it and what it means for them.
Why you should set sales goals
Consider which of these statements makes you feel more motivated:
- You can do it! Just get out there and sell. I have every confidence in you.
- Your goal is to complete three sales by the end of the quarter.
The first statement probably makes you feel good, but it doesn’t provide any motivation. There is no direction, just a vague order to sell. The second statement, on the other hand, lets you know there is a specific number of sales you need to reach by a deadline. You have a specific goal to reach and a reason to get moving.
What counts as a sales goal?
A goal is a destination. It tells you where you want to go and how you know you have arrived. A goal has drivers:
- Defined time frame (year, quarter, month, week)
- Measurements and KPIs
- Strategies and tactics
Sales goals can include revenue, profit, market share or recognition. High-level goals can be broken down into smaller goals, such as contacting a set number of leads or closing deals at a higher velocity than last period.
A checklist for setting sales goals
A defined goal is more motivating and achievable than a general goal. Each goal you set should be relevant to your business or product, have an appropriate scope, and remain challenging but reasonable. Coordinate your goals to maximize benefits and avoid any conflicts that could diminish your end results. If two people have goals that are in conflict, you expend time and talent without accomplishing anything of value.
Note that goals are not the same as tasks. If a goal looks too small or simple, it may be a task and should be replaced with a larger goal. Submitting reports on time is not a goal; it is a task.
Too many goals have the effect of paralyzing productivity because each goal will receive too little effort to be effective. The number of goals may be different for each team member; there is no “right” number – it’s whatever is right for each person or position.
Prepping for your sales goals meeting
Some general guidelines for meeting preparation and planning:
- Keep the meeting time between 30 and 60 minutes.
- Hold the meetings regularly throughout the year.
- Plan and schedule the meetings in advance.
- Standardize goal performance reporting and documentation.
A goal setting meeting must be a solid commitment, never to be missed. Don’t skip or reschedule for minor reasons. For each meeting, create and distribute an agenda, so everyone knows what to expect. Keep the format of the meeting the same each time and for each team member.
What you should get from the sales goals meeting
Begin by quickly reviewing the agenda to focus the meeting. Anything other than reviewing and setting goals should be put aside for another time.
Next, discover whether previous goals were met. Review missed goals to determine why they were not met. Gain insight into each person’s methods of working and collaborate to find resolutions for problems that limit achievement.
As you wrap up the meeting, summarize the actions to take, including deadlines and reporting. Buy-in from both parties emphasizes the importance of following the plan and meeting that goal for the next session.
End the meeting with encouragement and confidence that the sales representative can succeed with the new set of goals.
Measurement and accountability around sales goals
Regular goal setting meetings impose accountability on each team member. Incomplete goals will require documentation to show why they were not accomplished.
Sales management tools allow you to track key performance indicators that help you and your team measure performance against benchmarks or other measurements.Without accountability, there is little motivation to meet the goals or improve performance. If you don’t measure, you will only be guessing if improvement has occurred.
Use goal setting meetings to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each of your team members. Meetings should follow the same structure each time so that everyone can prepare appropriately. Take the opportunity to collaborate on improvements for individual performance that will ensure the success of the team.
Nicole Letendre is the marketing coordinator for Bonafide, a digital marketing agency in Houston, Texas. She loves writing, social media and keeping up with the latest marketing trends.