The pressure of an impending sales target can chill even the best salespeople to the bone. No one likes to miss a deadline or target, especially when it’s something that is directly tied to your job, or more accurately, a reward. Being intelligent with your target setting and the way you get the team to work towards a target or goal is as important for a business as the sales tools you make available. As such, we’ve put together a bit of a plan to help those sales people out there set better targets, and get better at hitting them every time.
Setting Sales Targets
The first step to absolutely nailing your sales targets is, obviously, setting good sales targets. Revolutionary concept, I know, but bear with me. Providing motivation to a sales team can be hugely important to their success, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to build out an effective and robust set of goals for your team to aim for, then incentivise actually hitting them. So what does a good sales target look like? Excellent question, have a gold star. Generally, good sales targets have the following characteristics;
1. They’re SMART
This isn’t just me saying that you should have smarter targets, I’m saying they should be S-M-A-R-T, or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Being specific means targeting a single, specific metric, it’s not just a general target. Being measurable means that success can be easily measured, it’s not some ethereal number like views on a billboard or TV ad. Attainability means that the target is based on real, past data - you’re not pulling a random number out of the air in the hope that it’s achievable. Relevance is whether or not the target is actively working towards your larger business targets… does meeting this target mean your business is improving? Timeliness simply means that the sales target has a specific timeframe… it can be failed. Open-ended targets lack urgency.
2. They’re relevant to you, your team and your business.
While having a stickybeak at what your competitors and other businesses are doing can help you ballpark, any and all targets you set up should really be totally original. Consider things like how your sales team sells (is it mostly over the phone, email or in person?), what sales resources your team has access to, how sales have gone in the past, etc.
3. They’re known and understood by everyone.
A secret target isn’t a target at all, it’s a test. Goals are useful because people work harder and faster in order to achieve them. As such, you should really tell the people working towards a target what the deal is. Include them as part of your company sales plan and sales training guides to keep everyone on the same page.
4. They’re monitored over time, not just reviewed after the fact.
Failing to manage your targets over time is basically the equivalent of when people in movies run in front of something rolling or falling towards them, instead of sideways out of the way. You’re basically choosing to fail, instead of taking corrective action. Monitoring how things are going and changing tact on the fly is essential to staying ahead of the game.
5. They're revised constantly.
As soon as the period that you’ve assigned a target to has finished, whether it was a success or a failure, you should be planning out the next target. Use what you learned from the last set of targets to make the new one more adventurous, or more attainable, and start the process anew. Don’t just copy and paste with a 20% bump, you’re robbing yourself of useful data. Actually, speaking of…
6. They’re based on real data.
Don’t just pull numbers out of their air, you’re not a magician or The Count from Sesame Street. Goals need to be Attainable (SMART, remember?) and this means they’re based on historical data. What Sales figures are you used to seeing? What did this period last year look like? How well has your team sold in the past? All of this is relevant to setting a new figure and smarter goal.
7. They’re paired with a reward for success.
As much as we’d like to believe our teams work purely for their love of their job, unless you’re NASA or a charity or something that’s probably not true. I bet even Google employees get tired of the free meals in their internal restaurant and only having beanbags to sit on eventually. As such, if you want your Sales team to truly give it their all, there has to be something in it for them. It doesn’t have to be monetary (though that’s obviously an easy win), perhaps they can be rewarded a different way. A dinner on you? Free coffees? Extra time off? A friendship bracelet you made yourself? You know your team better than I do - offer them something that is going to encourage them.
Put all those together and you’ve probably got yourself a killer sales target. What would that target look like? Probably something like;
20% increase in Opportunities (from 130 to 156), within the next 3 months. Hit the target and you’ll get a bonus personal day to use at your discretion.
The above target is specific (20%, or an increase of 26), measurable (Opportunities are easily measured via CRM data), attainable (last quarter saw an increase of 15, so increasing by another 11 is not outside the realm of possibility), relevant (this company is looking to push more people through the bottom of their funnel) and timely (3 months). All you need to do now is make it publicly known, monitor it and review after 3 months.
Pump out some sales targets and goals like that and you’ll be hitting them on the reg. To learn more sales techniques, tips and tricks, check out our complete guide to sales here.