The annual sales targets setting dance should have begun.
What, it’s not yet in your company, why not, get on with it! Honestly, sales targets setting is not something that can wait until January.
I’ve seen too many companies waste the first quarter of the year faffing around with an activity that should be almost put to bed now.
Act quickly because you still have the time to think it through and organise it well, communicate it effectively and set up the process on how you will report progress each month.
But don’t dictate.
Your Sales Professionals shouldn’t have their targets dictated to them; they should work with you to agree what are the most realistic and achievable they can make within the twelve month timeframe.
Target them on what they can control and make sure you have a reporting structure in place so that you all know how you are progressing towards your goals as the year goes on.
Always involve your staff in setting sales targets.
Whilst that might seem like a massive task, if you suddenly cascade these targets without any discussion, you might well not get the reaction you were hoping for.
I mean you know that dictating your ideas to your team never brings the best rewards, so why would it be a different outcome when your talking about sales targets.
A natural reaction from your sellers would be an immediate correlation to their bonus, their motivation and their effort.
Whilst being honest and transparent.
If you need to be open about the financial implications of any targets you set; if you are in a position where you need to increase your profits in order for the business to survive, let your staff know that.
You’ll be surprised how much harder people will work when they want to help you keep the business going, and when they feel like they are a valued part of that business rather than just an employee.
Get your staff invested in the company and the targets you set, and you’ll find everyone goes much further and probably much faster.
Own your role as it’s important in this process.
If your staff are uncomfortable with this process, it is your job as the leader to educate them as to why there needs to be sales targets.
If they’re uncomfortable with the level of the target, again it’s your job to explain why it is at that level or to work through to an achievable target.
Don’t lower your expectations; a collaborative process with good people will always result in realistic outcomes.
If you believe the sales targets are reasonable, be prepared to justify this to your team.
Listen to their concerns and it may well be that they can come up with a valid point which you had not considered – but on the whole, targets should be set to slightly stretch.
If your goal is not big and scary, is it worth hitting?
Also, if you set a goal really high and aim for that but fall short, you will still have done pretty well.
If you set it lower, and still fall short, you won’t have done very well and it won’t feel great.
Now keep the sales targets visible and measure progress.
Once sales targets are set, they should be displayed for all staff members to see, and for everyone to track progress.
Sales Professional love being top and are generally motivated if they are not if performance is visible.
Once your goals are set and agreed, it is important to be structured in your monthly reviews (MILO).
Don’t let anything distract you. In fact, now is the perfect time revisit the effectiveness of the structure you use and to set dates each month for review.
Setting targets for the year ahead is critically important and something that will help to push your business forward over the next twelve months – but it’s important to do it properly, and to make sure that your staff are with you.
But like I said at the beginning of this blog, you should be all over this by now – so don’t wait any longer to get started!
Sales Excellence Principle 2 – Growth Management provides you what you need to do to succeed in Target Setting, Incentive Management and Inclusive Organisations.
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Steve Knapp is the Founder and Owner of Steve Knapp Sales & Corporate Director in the Association of Professional Sales. With 30+ years of B2B successful sales, sales management and sales leadership experience. Steve created The 5 Principles of Sales Excellence & has used this to drive sustained sales performance in one of the most successful companies in the world. To discuss your sales requirements contact Steve on [email protected]