How to set challenging but achievable goals for your sales teams

For a sales manager, setting the right goals for their personnel can feel tricky. After all, you want to set goals at just the right height: one that will spur your team to success without despondency set in one time too many. For this reason, the ‘SMART’ goal framework can really resonate.

However, SMART – which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound – can only tell you so much about setting the right goals. You need to go further – and here’s how...

Chop up dauntingly large goals into smaller chunks

If you set just one goal – that of meeting a single quota – for a particular sales representative, it could be a while before they achieve that goal. They would therefore also have to wait for the appreciable confidence boost that would come with achieving this goal.

HubSpot explains that setting smaller goals would enable your staff to build their confidence in increments while helping you to track each rep's progress – and so detect it if they struggle.

Prioritise your goals

Which goals bring especially high value when your reps meet them? You should help your staff to work towards those first. However, all the same, you should be careful as to which responsibilities you assign to which reps.

For example, do you know a particular rep who tends to struggle with prospecting? If so, you could task them with increasing their outreach calls by 10% each week. When you sequence goals in this way, you can be confident that they will help not only your bottom line but also your staff's professional growth.

What goals mean the most to which employees?

It makes sense to carefully tailor each goal to the sales rep who will take it on. Still, you shouldn't just take account of that rep's practical ability to hit the target. You should also consider what goals would be meaningful to them; they won't meet those goals otherwise, warns Entrepreneur.

This ‘meaningful’ goes beyond the mere quota. It could be a longer term goal, such as securing a promotion or picking up a qualification that would ease such a promotion.

Set activity goals rather than revenue goals

You might know how much revenue you would like a member of your team to generate in a given month. However, what exactly should the person do to reach this goal? Here, you should think about how many calls, emails and meetings have been necessary for that salesperson to meet the goal before.

If you know that four deals would hit the quota and half of demos should result in deals, you could have the rep demo to eight prospects. Now, how many calls might the rep need to make to this end?

Encourage changes in habits

As your sales workers shed more of their bad habits and replace them with more productive ones, you can expect your firm's bottom line to flourish. You should, therefore, encourage your team to cut out time-sapping habits like excessively checking emails and mindlessly surfing the web.

You could also invest in sales training to help them to hone more business-friendly habits.

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