8 Steps to Setting Smarter Sales Goals
- Monthly sales goals
- Waterfall goals
- Sequence goals
- Activity goals
- Incentivized goals
- Goal progression
- Stretch goals
- Mentor goals
If your reps only have one goal — meeting their quota — they’re selling themselves short (literally). Hold your reps accountable to smaller weekly or monthly goals, and you’ll increase the likelihood they’ll meet their bigger number.
Smaller goals let your reps build confidence with incremental wins.
They also help track your rep’s progress toward larger goals, giving you more time to work with struggling reps.
A Harvard University study found setting specific goals increases motivation beyond simply telling yourself, “I’ll just do my best.”
The study ultimately reported students who stuck to a goal-oriented plan performed 30% better than those who didn’t. What would a 30% better performance from each of your reps look like for you?
Below, find out how to set sales goals on an individual and team level. It might seem like a lot of work, but the result is motivated salespeople who have the support they need to succeed.
How to Set Sales Goals
1. Calculate your monthly sales goal
If you’re setting personal or team goals, they should align with annual sales goals. Figure your monthly sales goal by working backward from your company’s annual revenue target. Once that target is defined, calculate how much your department, teams, and individual reps need to sell to meet that goal.
Be sure to take seasonal or staffing fluctuations into account. If you’re onboarding three new salespeople this fall, it may be hard to meet aggressive goals during Q4. However, because you’ve planned for this, you can adjust goals and push harder in Q3.
2. Set waterfall goals
Budget for ramp-up time when you’re implementing new goals and onboarding reps. If your reps are currently sending 50 emails a week and you want them to send 100, don’t immediately double their weekly email goal. Instead, raise their goal to 60 emails next week, 70 the following week, and so on.
This approach is better for morale, because missing goals can increase fear and squash motivation. The waterfall approach also produces higher quality work and better numbers. Your team won’t experience burnout from the increase in work, and you’ll give them time to ramp up quality.
3. Sequence goals
This is another way of saying “prioritize your goals.” Determine which goals bring the highest value when hit, and make sure your reps are meeting those first.
If you’re sequencing goals for a junior sales rep, set goals around where they can improve. If they need to get better at prospecting, make it a goal for them to increase outreach calls by 10% every week.
Sequencing means even if your reps don’t meet every goal, they’ll meet the ones that matter most to your company’s bottom line or their professional growth.
4. Set activity goals
If your rep needs to close $4,000 of business this month, convert that target into activity goals.
First, use your salesperson’s historical performance throughout the sales funnel to figure out how many emails, calls, and meetings they need.
Let’s say they have to close an average of four deals per month to hit quota. If 50% of their demos convert to deals, that means they must demo to eight prospects each month. If 30% of their calls lead to demos, they need to call roughly 27 people.
Working backward lets you turn a (potentially intimidating) revenue goal into manageable metrics.
5. Incentivize goals
The incentive for your reps to meet their quota? To receive their bonuses and/or variable compensation and keep their jobs. So what’s the incentive for meeting these smaller goals?
Consider what motivates your reps. Promise a cash bonus or a round of golf to reps who meet their weekly goals. Don’t have the budget to offer monetary incentive? No problem. Position company-wide recognition or extra vacation time as reward for goals met.
6. Monitor goal progression
Goals are of no use if they’re not being monitored. Track progress via a dashboard in your CRM, or have reps enter their weekly numbers the old-fashioned way, in an Excel spreadsheet. If someone on your team isn’t hitting their weekly numbers, talk to them before it becomes an impediment to meeting their monthly quota. Monitoring these small goals makes them worth the extra implementation time, so don’t skimp here — even if it’s tempting.
7. Set stretch goals
This isn’t right for everyone. If a rep is struggling to meet their quota every month, a stretch goal will only increase their anxiety. But if you have a high performer, set realistic stretch goals — perhaps 125% of goal — that will challenge and motivate them.
8. Suggest mentor goals
If a rep is having trouble ramping up or hits a rough patch (it happens to everyone), suggest they find a mentor or two. Provide a framework you’d like them to work through, or advise them to create one with their mentor. Having someone to confide in besides their manager can be just what they need to thrive.
Personal Sales Goals Examples
Now that we’ve talked about how to set goals, let’s take a look at some examples of goals setting for individual sales reps
- If a rep isn’t attending professional development events, set a goal of one per month to start.
- For a rep who struggles with product demonstrations, set a goal of giving a team member a demonstration once a day, then twice a week, to sharpen their skills.
- If a rep struggles to move discovery conversations to the next phase, make a goal for them to set up three demonstrations per week, then four, then one a day.
- Some sales reps struggle to stay in touch with new customers. Make it one of their goals to touch base with each of their new clients at least once a month, then once every two weeks, to keep relationships strong.
- Does your rep need to be more visible within your organization? Set a goal of having them share one article per week on your team Slack channel or internal communication portal. Or ask them to contribute one article per quarter to your company’s blog.
Team Sales Goals Examples
Once your individual performers have personalized goals in place, set team goals. Here are a few examples.
- Provide an incentive that’s only awarded when everyone meets the goal. Dangle a company-paid happy hour in front of your team and watch them work together to help each other succeed.
- Strike up friendly competition by challenging your reps to see who can book the most meetings or demos this week.
- Need your team to close more enterprise deals? Set a goal for each of your reps to schedule at least three demos with enterprise-level prospects this quarter.
- If your reps are easily closing new business, but that business churns three months in, that’s not good. Set goals that incentivize reps to close only quality leads that are a match for your business. For example, you might give a cash bonus to every rep hitting quota whose retention number is higher than a specific percentage.
As you’re setting new goals or revisiting old ones, check in with your reps and ask how they’re feeling. Make sure goals are remaining realistic, challenging, and attainable. That’s the recipe for happy, successful reps.