8 years ago
July 6, 2016

4 Strategic Tips for Setting Goals for Sales People

As sales manager, setting goals for sales people is one of your most important responsibilities. Learn how to do so effectively. Read on.

Rhys Metler

Setting goals for sales people isn’t easy, but it is extremely important. You need to be strategic in the process in order to set goals that are achievable, actionable, and aggressive enough to produce real growth. Setting goals for sales people is one of the most important responsibilities that a sales manager is faced with. This seemingly simple act of setting a goal can increase motivation and improve performance far better than any pep talk. In fact, a Harvard University study shows that people who stick to a specific plan and monitor goals outperform their counterparts by 30%. That’s a big improvement in sales performance that can give you an edge over your competitors.

Use these tips for setting goals for sales people.

1. Pick Your Goals

Effectively setting goals for sales people starts with deciding which goals you should set. The important thing to remember here is that every single one of your sales reps is different, with unique strengths and weaknesses. You should give out separate goals to each rep individually, rather than giving universal goals to the entire team as a whole.

One rep might need an activity-oriented goal that gets her calling more prospects. Another might not be a good closer, and should be given a goal of listening in on your top reps’ calls to see what he can do better. Yet another might struggle with product demonstration, and should be given the goal of practising a demonstration once a week to sharpen his skills, for example.

In addition, the goals you choose to set should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) and your expectations should be clear and reasonable. Create a healthy mix between professional goals and sales targets, so you can not only improve profits, but improve performance as well for long-term benefits. Furthermore, keep the number of goals you create for your sales people down to a manageable level—don’t overwhelm your reps or they won’t be committed to achieving the goals you’ve set.

2. Put Them in Writing

Your sales people might know what goals you’ve set for them, but they might not know how to attain them. So part of the process should be putting the goals in writing, including a list of steps needed to attain them and a list of potential obstacles and how to overcome them. Make a master plan for each goal. This will help your sales people keep their goals in sight and allow them to physically track their progress by checking off the steps as they go along.

3. Monitor Goals

Setting goals for sales people is all fine and dandy, but it won’t lead to professional growth if you don’t monitor the goals. You might want to touch base with your sales people at the end of each week, or ask for a progress report or weekly written recap to determine whether or not your reps are making good progress towards achieving their goals. Consistent follow-through can also help you catch and prevent problems early on, help your sales people learn from their mistakes, and get constructive feedback as well.

4. Arrange for Sales Training and Coaching

This isn’t a must, but it could help to ensure that your sales team has the necessary training required to achieve the goals you’ve set. Sales training and sales coaching can lead to success: it can equip your reps with the tools, techniques, and knowledge needed to meet your sales goals and improve their performance. After all, you should set your sales people up for success, so it’s a good recommendation to follow.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.