Using Smart Sales Goals to Improve Sales Team Performance
Using smart sales goals (actually, “SMART sales goals”) is one of the most important things any sales organization can do to inspire sales team members and motivate better sales performance. With clear expectations, sales professionals not only know what success looks like and how it will be measured but they also have a fundamental road map toward a clear sales goal destination. So, let’s take a closer look at how you can use SMART sales goals to improve sales team performance:
Begin with the End in Mind
Improving sales begins with a clear vision of your destination. For sales success, specifically, you’ll need to first identify the revenue you want to attain. Don’t base your projected goal on hopes or feelings; nor on beliefs or intuition or a sense of what is possible. Instead, base your projections on facts and data. A good rule of thumb for effective sales planning is to set sales goals that are SMART!
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART goals are powerful things that help drive excellence and superior results. How do they do this? Because they are…
S = Specific: Goals should target specific areas for improvement and achievement. They should be clear and concise in describing what you want to achieve.
M = Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable and include performance metrics. After all, you must measure your goals if you want to be totally clear whether you have achieved them.
A = Attainable/Achievable: Goals should be ambitious but within reach. There’s no point setting goals which are out of a person’s or team’s control. Nor is there any point “shooting for the stars” if there’s absolutely no chance of reaching that aspiration.
R = Realistic/Relevant: Goals should state what results can realistically be achieved utilizing available resources. Consider this: Does the goal mean something to the group or support a larger, primary goal? If it doesn’t fit with the bigger picture, don’t create it.
T = Timely: Goals should include measurement periods and specify when results can and should be achieved. If there is no time frame for achieving the goal, it might become one of those tasks that constantly gets delayed.
Keep this in mind, too: To set SMART goals, you’ll also need to understand your market, the economic environment in which you operate, the capabilities of your internal and external resources, and other relevant components.
Involving Your Team in Smarter Goal Setting
When utilizing SMART sales goals, it is important to involve your team. For sales performers to truly “buy in” to the goals set for them, they should be able to give input. But be careful: employee input should go hand-in-hand with a clear understanding of risks, rewards and consequences.
Certainly, employee involvement in smarter goal setting lays the foundation for the commitment to meeting those goals. Another benefit of involving your sales team members in setting SMART sales goals is that this practice eliminates surprises when evaluating performance measures. When an employee participates in smarter goal setting and clearly understands the goals, there should be no surprises when goals are met – or when they are not met.
Goal setting and attainment can and should motivate and influence excellent sales performance. When expectations are being met, those successful efforts should be recognized and rewarded. When goals are not being met, however, sales team members who fall short should be held accountable, and you should take advantage of the opportunity to coach and improve performance through corrective action.
In other words, sales team members who have input into establishing sales goals should clearly understand the risks of setting unreachable goals, the rewards possible for achieving attainable ones, and the consequences for falling short.
A SMART Goals Framework
Obviously, the SMART goals approach is a framework for success on its own. Beyond setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely, however, here are a few other key aspects to consider as part of a framework for smarter goal setting:
Vision – Make sure everyone is on the same page, marching toward the same destination, with a clear understanding of individual sales roles and how they impact big picture sales success.
Measures – Make sure sales metrics are meaningful and relevant. Emphasize leading indicators that enable sales forecasting so corrective actions can be made in a timely manner. Use your CRM to track pipeline progress and results.
Methodology – Make sure clear and actionable sales processes are available to your team to provide leverage toward goal achievement.
Accountability – Make sure sales team members understand their roles in attaining individual and group goals. Establish clear rewards for goal attainment, and consequences for failing to meet reasonable and timely goals.
Management – Use the SMART sales goals system as a foundation for sales management, focusing on areas where sales coaching and sales team leadership are vital.
Much is expected of sales team members, and rightly so. After all, their success is critical to the overall success of the organization. But they can’t achieve sales success on their own; sales managers and sales department leaders must work with these sales professionals to establish and manage SMART sales goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. What’s more, they must function within a SMART goals framework designed to support the salesperson and make goal attainment possible, with a clear understanding of risks, rewards and consequences. Ultimately, SMART goals are the foundation for better sales team performance!
At Sales Xceleration, our licensed Advisors – who specialize in outsourced sales management consulting – understand the vital role of SMART sales goals in helping businesses achieve significant and sustainable sales success. To find a Sales Xceleration Advisor in your area, click here, or simply contact us today at 844.874.7253.
Want to learn more about sales consulting and sales strategy? Read about various sales topics in our sales consulting blog.
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