Setting Sales Goals, Ideals, And The Power Of Make-Believe
Success begins with setting goals. Without goals, your team lacks the key elements it needs to win — a direction to follow and the encouragement to stay motivated in Sales.
When it comes to goal setting in selling, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.
Setting goals that are actually achievable and measurable is vital, not only to our success but to our confidence. And it all starts with what we base our goals on.
Moreover, goals lend clarity and purpose to your organization. They enable your team to track collective and individual performance. Goals also help assess the efficiency of tools and methods, and formulate strategies for improvement or growth.
Ideals guide us but aren’t achievable.
For many technoprenuers, coming up with big ideas is our bread and butter. In our imaginations, the sky’s the limit, and we can envision a future that might seem impossible in the present.
Having big dreams is part of what’s made you as successful as you are. While others might dismiss big dreams as “make-believe,” for you, it’s what keeps you fascinated and motivated and always growing. Having ideals helps you to envision your bigger future. But when you’re goal setting, it’s important to be able to distinguish make-believe from reality.
Our ideals are crucial. They help us look ahead and keep us inspired. Goal setting, however, requires that we extract achievable, measurable goals out of the abstract ideal. Ideals themselves are not achievable. But concrete goals are.
Measurement vs. make-believe.
The goals we set, based on our ideal vision of the breakthrough we want to achieve, must be measurable. They must be based on a specific number or specific event. An example of a measurable goal is “multiplying my revenue by 10x over the next five years” or “winning 15 new accounts by Q2.”
If your goal is too abstract (“improve my business,” “increase revenue”), it exists only in the realm of the ideal and will remain forever out of reach. When setting goals, remember—if it’s not measurable, it’s make-believe. Setting a non-specific goal means that you’ll never know for sure whether you’ve achieved it. If it’s too general, you’ll have no way of determining if you’re there yet or how far you have left to go.
Setting specific goals and executing detailed strategies for achieving them resulted to an average academic performance improvement of 30%.
Setting Needle-Moving Targets in Selling
While many technoprenuers perform customer engagement, administrative, HR, and other tasks, their core function is to develop sales (revenue) strategies.
Here are a few steps your sales organisation should take to set revenue goals in your company.
1) Align sales goals with the overall strategy of the company
Before formalising periodic game-plays for the sales team, revisit the company’s overall strategy and align your sales goals with that.
Sales forecasting and planning should begin with data on current performance. Audit your:
- Training currently available
- Resource allocations (including budget)
- Incentives (compensation, commission, benefits)
Evaluate your addressable market and how the sales team can optimise their prospecting efforts.
While you need to focus on revenue generation, you should also include plans to improve selling productivity.
2) Create specific, targeted goals for the team
Your plan won’t fly if the goal sounds too general.
Only specific, goal-oriented plans that establish individual accountability can drive and motivate people to succeed.
- Map overall team goals to individual activity and sales performance goals. Activity goals help individuals focus on performing tasks that really matter in the long run.
- Integrate small goals (such as activity targets) that help build confidence, blaze a trail of incremental wins, and lead the entire team towards achieving bigger goals.
- Break annual goals into shorter periods and assign daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly targets to each member of the team.
- Include skills training goals for individuals, which correlate with and help improve overall performance.
3) Be ambitious but reasonable when setting team and individual sales quotas
The trick is to find the sweet spot between the company’s aspirations and the sales force’s current capabilities
Here are some tips to consider:
- Adopt a consistent and transparent method for establishing periodic quotas. Set these quotas as a team to reinforce accountability.
- Use data in setting and assigning quotas. Strike a balance between realism and ambition.
- Drive motivation and increase the impact of your incentives program by implementing the right mix of base compensation, commission, and rewards.
4) Integrate sales coaching, personal development, and sales training into your team goals
The level of revenue you generate greatly depends on the competency and skill of your sales team.
Hence, guiding everyone on the team on a continuing journey of learning and self-improvement should be integral to your sales goals.
- Checking individual performance metrics hold the key to understanding how to set goals for individual sellers.
- Activities that correlate with productivity include those on lead generation, qualification, and sales velocity. Meanwhile, close rates and average deal size directly impact revenues.
- Goals for learning new skills can be incorporated to every individual.
5) Monitor progress and give feedback
Schedule regular reviews to verify whether current efforts align with and are in pace with quarterly or annual targets. Take prompt remedial actions when necessary.
Conduct periodic performance assessments and accurate and honest feedback to each member of the team.
Incentivise outstanding performance and schedule coaching or training time for skills, competencies, and other areas that need improving. Common areas that need re-training include rapport building, product knowledge, presentation skills, negotiation and closing skills.
The Right Sales Goals Go Beyond Topline Figures
Whether in sales, business, and personal lives, setting the right goals takes us closer to the outcomes we want.
For sales managers, goal setting makes it possible to drive and motivate their team in performing the tasks and activities that affect revenue.
But the right sales goals go beyond top line figures. When set the right way, sales goals also help develop focus, build skills, shape personality, and reward committed effort. Goals not only help leaders engineer great outcomes for the company, they also transform people into better sellers and human beings.
Be conscious and deliberate about always measuring your progress and achievements backward against your starting point in order to stay in The Positive Zone where even your wildest imaginations can be transformed into achievable goals.