The biggest mistake that sales managers make when setting goals is focusing entirely on numbers. Sure, the sales force is judged on its ability to increase revenue and foster financial growth—but you need a solid roadmap to get there. Here’s a quick guide on how to set measurable sales goals and objectives to give your team a roadmap for success.
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Break Up Annual Goals Into Monthly Goals
When setting targets and objectives for your team, it’s important to specify the big picture for the annual term, but it’s even more important to break that bigger picture into more actionable monthly or quarterly goals that can seem more manageable. Breaking down an intimidating figure into convenient installments can help alleviate stress for your team while helping to better ensure you are on track throughout the year.
You can calculate your monthly departmental goals by working back from the annual target set forth by your company. You can narrow these goals down even further by calculating how much your team and each individual rep needs to sell to meet that goal.
When setting these monthly goals, one important aspect is to factor in seasonal and staffing fluctuations. For instance, if you are planning to hire four new salespeople for your company in the last quarter, meeting an aggressive goal in Q4 may be unrealistic, as you will not have trained employees. One way to counter this is to ensure that you set a higher-than-average goal for the 3rd quarter (or for the first three quarters).
Set Specific Activity-Based Goals
A study by Harvard University found that setting specific targets can increase your performance by as much as 30%. But how can you do this as a sales manager? Let’s look at an example:
Assume one sales rep needs to close at least $5,000 worth of deals to meet your monthly target. Start by analyzing how the salesperson performs throughout the entire sales funnel (emails, calls, demos, meetings, etc.)
Assume that their history suggests they have to close at least 6 deals a month to hit their quota. If you know that only half of their product demos tend to convert into deals, then you know they need to make at least 12 demos this month.
Now take this a step further. If only 30% of the rep’s calls result in a demo, you can set the very specific KPI that they need to call at least 40 prospects this month, or roughly 10 per week. This way, you can specify the rep’s goals down to each activity while helping to make their work appear a lot more manageable in the short-run.
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Give Incentives For Smaller Goals
While meeting annual quotas is often rewarded with several incentives, salespeople often disregard smaller goals, because there is little motivation beyond the big picture incentive.
For this, sales managers need to know what motivates their reps. This can be a financial incentive, such as a cash bonus, or a simple reward like a round of golf at their favorite course. It doesn’t matter if you have budgetary constraints either—even the promise of additional vacation time or a recognition program can help to motivate your sales reps to meet all their short- and long-term goals.
Prioritize What You Want Accomplished First
Salespeople need to juggle many tasks, which is why sales managers need to ensure they clearly define which tasks are of higher priority. Determine the most important goals for your organization and make sure they are presented to your team in a way that clearly defines priority.
The sequencing of goals can differ from sales rep to sales rep as well. For example, a closing sales rep must be tasked with prioritizing the number of deals they convert, whereas sales development roles should work to improve their prospecting. A logical goal for the former would be to increase their outreach calls by 20% whereas senior employees must prioritize their revenue figures.
In an ideal world, every organizational goal and objective would be met—but this is not always the case. Prioritizing goals strategically can help to improve performance and reinforce the right behaviors while helping to improve your chances of meeting those goals that matter most.
Plan For Impending Failure
While no sales manager plans to fail, they must accept the reality that unforeseen circumstances are an unavoidable part of business. There is no such thing as a sound organizational strategy that does not take skill gaps, market barriers, and other obstacles into account.
Part of setting sales goals includes having a backup strategy to troubleshoot potential problems as they arise so you can get back to your normal efficiency as quickly as possible.
You can start off by identifying potential hurdles that can stop you from achieving your goals and take steps to position yourself to avoid these. Lastly, you should plan ahead to establish a strategy that can help you tackle these issues in the event that they do arise.
A great way to identify and resolve potential roadblocks before they impact your sales performance is to conduct a thorough evaluation of your sales people, process, tools, and systems. This process will provide valuable insights to align you goals and capabilities to drive performance. Learn more about evaluating your sales force here.
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