Setting Appropriate Sales Goals
Business owners and managers too often set sales goals that are out of reach. They think they are motivating their staff to stretch out, but there is evidence that asking for too much actually makes sales reps feel discouraged. Too-high goals can even inspire them to disengage and give up completely, hindering the performance and profitability of your company. Follow these tips to keep your targets motivating yet manageable and keep your sales staff happy.
Rein in Managerial Ambitions
Managers often set sales goals based on their own needs instead of the realities of the market. The result is a threat to your company’s future because salespeople sacrifice long-term performance in favor of immediate targets. Instead of taking this approach, set targets based on the market realities your reps will face and their past performance.
Sales goals often balloon after they pass through levels of oversight or administration. Managers and owners want to see year-over-year increases that show the business is growing, but the targets become out of reach by the time they go to the sales team. To avoid ballooning, seek consensus with your sales team and consider the context of the current market before setting final sales goals.
Avoid Across-the-Board Allocations
A companywide sales increase may seem reasonable, but it may get translated into unrealistic individual goals. New products, for example, may yield large sales increases, but staple products sold to long-term customers may never nudge sales volumes upward. Instead of expecting the same performance in every line, make sure your sales goals reflect individual situations.
Don’t Burden Superstars
It is unfair to task your top performers with providing the bulk of sales increases. Instead of rewarding good work, this approach allows weaker team members to slide by while putting too many demands on top performers. Instead of creating heavy burdens, design your goals so that all members of the sales team face the same degree of individual challenge.
Balance Different Factors
The key to setting appropriate sales goals is to balance the skills and abilities of your sales team with the challenges of their prospects, the power of the competition and the temperature of the overall market.
How do you set realistic sales goals? Have you observed the benefits of setting realistic targets in your own business? Share your best tips for achieving the fine balance between too little and too much with our readers in the comments section below!
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