The Complete Guide to Setting & Hitting Sales Goals

By asktobie

September 18, 2020

Business, Goals, Sales, Team

Have you ever noticed the one thing that every successful business does?

This is irrespective of what industry they’re in, who their target audience is or what service they provide.

Well, let me tell you. They set goals.

Now, these goals may be overarching goals for the whole company, or they could be specific to each department. Nevertheless, without goals, you cannot expect your employees to be able to ascertain their purpose and know what is expected of them.

Goals provide a sense of direction; they allow employees to have a target to aim for so that they stay on-task and are motivated to drive toward an end result. Goals also ensure that your business is continuously striving to grow, they help to maximize efficiency, allow you to refine what you offer, and of course, most significantly: boost revenue.

Now, all goals, however big or small, play a key part in the success of your business. However, there is one particular department where having concise, clear goals is absolutely necessary for your company to succeed. The sales department.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what types of goals should be used in sales, and why it’s so critical for your business. We will also look at the various ways in which you can actually implement them; We want to make sure you have all the insights you need to create goals that your team understands, and ultimately, that your team can (and will!) achieve.

Achieving Sales Goals

As I have already mentioned, sales goals are so important to your business’s success, and by creating them, you will have so much more clarity about what path you’ll need to take to accomplish them.

They provide a focal point for your sales representatives which enables them to see the direct correlation between their own personal achievements and the impact on the business. This creates a sense of purpose and drives them to achieve more. Having staff who are driven to achieve is invaluable.

Here are just a few more ways that setting sales goals for your business, will help you achieve your company targets: 

Create benchmarks for your team.

Having goals allow you to create achievable benchmarks for what constitutes as success on your team.

For example, if all of your sales representatives successfully achieve their goals before a deadline you set, you will then have a benchmark in place for what should be easily accomplished again in the future.

Evaluate individual and team-wide success.

Goals also give you the opportunity to evaluate the success of not only your sales representatives as a collective team but also on an individual basis.

By understanding which of your employees are hitting their goals consistently, you’ll be able to decide whether or not you might need to make some key changes and adjustments.

This could perhaps mean adapting your goals; you might want to make them more or less aggressive, you might want to implement them using a different approach, or you may even want to set different types of goals.

There are many different types of sales goals that you can have, so let’s take a closer look at what they are so that you can distinguish which of them would be best for you to use on your team.

When choosing which of the following sales goals are best for you, take into consideration what industry you’re in, your company’s ethos and who is on your sales team. An example is included for each to hopefully allow you to have a greater understanding of who they would be most appropriate for.

1. Monthly Sales Goals

Simply put, monthly sales goals are targets that are to be achieved by the end of each and every month. This particular type of goal is good when you want to focus on improving or refining any task or job function. This could be anything from prospecting, sequencing, or closing deals.

Monthly goals are a great way to be able to monitor the success of a sales representative as it is a good amount of time to give a thorough overview of what their performance is. Weekly check-ins are too frequent to give an overall perspective and annual reviews would be too infrequent (it wouldn’t allow the employee to make improvements).

Monthly Sales Goal Example

Set a monthly sales goal to increase your revenue. If you have an overall business goal of achieving £10,000 more in sales over the next year, then break it down into a monthly goal for your sales team, so they know that have to bring in £833 more in sales each month.

2. Activity Sales Goals

The clue here is in the name: Activity goals refer to the action that is taken, and it is more about what you are doing than what you are achieving in terms of revenue. An activity goal can be set for any period of time in order to improve the functionality and efficiency of the team, by ensuring that tasks are being completed on schedule.

These goals are a great way to improve certain job processes or functions, such as increasing the number of face-to-face interactions a representative might have with prospective customers each week.

Activity Sales Goal Example

Set an activity goal for the number of leads that are contacted by representatives each week. Having this as an activity goal will allow them to know what to aim for in terms of their potential reach.

3. Waterfall Sales Goals

Waterfall goals start at the top and work their way down to the bottom in their structure, and much like the name suggests creates a certain type of flow in your business that stops staff from becoming complacent. A waterfall goal includes what is expected from each member of the team from the most experienced sales representatives down to the least experienced team members.

Waterfall goals allow the employees to constantly be growing as they become more adept and experienced in what they do. They allow the team to grow as the goal post is always moving.

Waterfall Goal Example

Set a goal for your newest members of the team; if they currently are able to send out 50 emails a week to prospective leads, then double this to 100 emails. Do this by increasing your goal number of emails sent by 10 each week, so that after 5 weeks the target of 100 has been reached.

4. Sequence Sales Goals

Sequence goals allow you to figure out what the most important goals are for your company so that your representatives can focus on the most valuable ones first. Too often, companies do not look at what needs to be done as a matter of priority.

Even if all of the goals that you set out to achieve aren’t reached, at least the ones that add the most value to your company are focused on.

Sequence Goal Example

If you have business development representatives starting at your company, set the goal for them to create more leads through prospecting, before getting them to focus on other tasks you have for them. Make the goal clear by deciding what you want the percentage increase to be for the outreach efforts each week- for example, 5%.

5. Win Rate Sales Goals

This type of sales goal is about the conversion rate of prospective customers to sales, and how many deals are closed in a particular time frame. This allows for some friendly competition amongst employees and enables you to draw comparisons between staff to see who is performing best.

Win Rate Goal Example

Set a win rate goal by choosing a percentage of what you’d like the conversion rate of prospects to sales to be. For example, if you are currently achieving on average 25%, set the goal higher to 30% so that your staff all have something to strive for.

6. Incentivised Sales Goals

This type of goal is about rewarding your employees when they achieve a certain target. This is a great way to motivate and drive a team and can bring a bit of healthy competition to the department. The incentives can be whatever you choose them to be and can be both tangible or intangible rewards.

Incentivized Goal Example

Motivate your team by setting a goal for them to increase their monthly sales by 10%. If this is achieved, you could offer them a bonus, an extra holiday day, a prize, or employee recognition throughout the company.

7. Unit Sales Goals

The word unit refers to the product that is being sold- this can be both something physical or a service that you provide. You can set daily goals for the number of units you’d like to sell, and you can also have similar goals for each month, quarter, year, and so forth.

This is a great, clear way to get your employees to know what is expected of them in a particular time frame.

Unit Goal Example

If your company is a car dealership, you could set a goal for each member of the sales team to sell one unit each day.

8. Mentor Sales Goals

Mentor goals are between a sales representative and someone else more experienced on the team. This is a great way to iron out any difficulties members of staff are having by outsourcing the development of processes to more senior team members that can help improve their skills.

Mentor Goal Example

If a member of the sales team is having difficulty in understanding how to sequence their sales calls, partner them with someone who is adept at making calls. They can then develop a process by noticing what in particular is successful about the call, and then that framework can be used to improve the representative’s approach going forward.

9. Stretch Sales Goals

Stretch goals are exactly that- a stretch to accomplish. It’s about constantly moving the goal post and pushing your team to go just that bit further in what they can achieve. They are again a great way to motivate and drive a team as you are looking at not only their current capabilities but their future potential.

Stretch Goal Example

Using the example from earlier, if you had a goal to increase your sales by £10000 in a year (£833 a month), then you could stretch the goal to increase it by £20000 over the next business year.

Now that you have some understanding of the different types of sales goals that you can set, let’s look a bit closer at how to set them. You will be able to apply these targets to any company that you work for.

1. Choose which type of goals you’ll set.

As we previously outlined, there are nine different types of sales goals and it’s just a case of choosing the right ones for your particular business.

When you are in the process of deciding which to use, ask yourself the following questions. This will enable you to really tailor the goals you choose to your company’s specific needs and employees.

What are you selling? What resources do you have? (This could include the number of staff) Who are you selling to? (Your target audience) Are the goals realistic? (Whilst we might want to challenge our team we don’t want to make a goal unattainable) What are the company’s overall goals? Do the sales goals align with your bigger picture?

2. Make your goals SMART.

The next thing to do would be to ask yourself if the goals are SMART- this means that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Doing this will ensure that your goals are tailor-made, concise, and clear for your business.

Taking the example from the activity goal from earlier, this would be how to apply the SMART format:

Goal: Increase the total number of leads that are contacted by representatives each week by phone.

Specific: Look at ways that you as a leader can help with efficiency by ensuring that your staff has all the tools they need at their disposal for this to be possible. By doing this, your staff will feel happier, more motivated, and supported to be able to achieve it.

Measurable: Increase the total number of leads that are contacted by representatives by 2 each week.

Attainable: Look at what happened the previous month. Did your sales team manage to increase the number of leads contacted by 1? If so, you will know that 2 is achievable this month.

Relevant: The more people that are contacted, the more conversion to sales you will have, thus boosting the revenue of your business.

Time-bound: This goal is to be achieved by the last working day of the month.

By following these steps, you will then have a SMART Goal, and you should then see an increase in the number of deals closed.

3. Share and implement your sales goals.

After you have figured out what your goals are and have made them SMART, it is then time to share the goals with your team.

Your representatives need to have a good understanding of the goals they are working to reach, why they are aiming for these particular targets, and what the time frame is that they are expected to achieve it in. Without this, they are unlikely to feel any motivation at all.

Here are just a few effective ways to share your goals with your representatives:

  • Use a Presentation
  • Use a Knowledge base (An online resource storing information about your company)
  • Web page (with information about the product’s features, etc.)
  • Host a Meeting (include other departments with the sales team, especially those that can help the sales team reach their targets such as the product or marketing teams)

Once you have clarified all of your goals, it is then time to implement them. Again, make it clear what the expected time frame is for your representatives to achieve it by.

4. Monitor your goal progression.

Once you have set a goal, you don’t just want to keep it as a fixed target without reviewing where you are at with it. Make sure that you continuously monitor the Sale Goal’s progression.

For example, when you have established daily goals, make it a habit to check in with your sales team at the end of each day to check what has been accomplished.

If the goals you have set are for over a longer period of time, ensure that you monitor progression in that time frame, so you know whether or not the team is on the right track. This allows you to make necessary adjustments when needed (For example you might find it useful to implement a mentor goal if a representative is struggling in a certain area.)

5. Evaluate and adapt your goals over time.

Not only do you want to monitor the progression of the goals, you also want to be able to reflect on the outcome or success of your goals. You can evaluate the goals for both individual staff members and for the whole team.

The best way to evaluate the goal’s success is to ask yourself if they were realistic, motivational, and clear. This will help you to continually improve and set better goals in the future.

The evaluation part is also where you can share your insights with your team- it is good to not only look at ways to improve, but to celebrate wins as well. Make sure that you hold regular meetings so that you know that everyone is on the same page.

You can also include your representatives in evaluating the success of the goal by allowing them to be a part of the conversation and ask them questions such as:

Did you manage to accomplish all of your goals? If not, why?

Did you feel that the goal was too simple, or alternatively, too aggressive?

With the time frame you had, did you feel that it was possible to achieve? Why or why not?

Would you say the goal had a positive impact on the company?

You now have a good understanding of different sales goals and how to actually set them for your representatives.

Let’s now look at a few key tips so that you are able to really run with this, and set and manage your sales goals in an effective, efficient way for your staff.

Sales Goals Tips

It is good practice to think about the following tips while developing your goals to further ensure that they are not only realistic but beneficial and inspirational for your team.

1. Incorporate Data

Using real data in your sales goals helps you to continuously keep track of your targets. Not only that, data gives us the insight to be able to create new goals that are both accurate and attainable. Data provides a strong foundation for any goal, no matter what type of goal it is.

2. Don’t be afraid of small goals.

You’ve probably heard to not be afraid of big goals (which is completely valid), but do not be afraid of small ones either. Small goals can slot in with your major annual goals and help to keep your team motivated and focused. Accomplishing small goals over time not only helps your representatives to improve their skill set, but it also helps to keep team morale high when small wins are celebrated too.

3. Educate and empower your sales team.

Without education and empowerment, it would not be realistic to expect your team to achieve their targets. it doesn’t matter how long they have been with the company, continual training and improvements can always be made.

Make sure that your team has all of the necessary information they need to achieve their goals. This would include making sure that have an excellent knowledge of the products you are selling, as well as access to assistance from other departments for additional support.

4. Reward your reps when targets are reached

Make sure that you are always looking for ways to incentivize your staff. If they accomplish their targets, reward them. This will not only keep them driven towards their goals, it will also help to keep them excited about their jobs. The rewards could involve a monetary bonus, company-wide recognition, or extra holiday days.

Set Sales Goals to Grow Better

Remember that sales goals keep your team motivated, focused, and excited.

There are several different types of sales goals that you can personalise to your business to ensure that your team is always improving and ultimately impacting your business’s success.

Sales goals will help to increase conversions and revenue. Not only that, but they help to foster stable, professional, and lasting relationships between your representatives and your prospects.

So, whatever industry you’re in, determine which types of sales goals are suitable for you and begin to customise them today, so that you can enjoy years of success to come.

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