If you want to know how to improve sales by strengthening your sales team performance, it pays to understand the importance of individual salesperson goals. Simply put, properly established individual salesperson goals can and should make it easier for the entire sales team to attain overall measures of sales success. Unfortunately, without strategic planning, individual salesperson goals sometimes end up at odds with sales team goals, making it difficult to increase sales and maintain a positive sales team culture.
Let’s look at how to improve sales by making sure individual salesperson goals benefit the sales team and the entire corporate organization:
No “I” in Team?
It might be correct – at least in terms of spelling and philosophic altruism – that there is no “I” in team, but the achievement of personal goals and team goals should not be mutually exclusive.
Think of it from a sports perspective, football, for example. If a defensive line player has a personal goal to register eight quarterback sacks over the course of a season, then attaining that goal should, logically, put the team in a better position, right? One sack at a time, the player helps keep the opposing team from advancing on that play, from scoring on that drive, and from winning that game! Better yet, it puts the player’s team in a better position to take possession of the ball, and be more likely to score and win. The player’s individual goal, therefore, aligns nicely with a team goal of winning!
What does this have to do with how to improve sales team performance? It’s all about moving toward success, as a team, one piece at a time by meeting individual goals, salesperson by salesperson.
Make Individual Salesperson Goals Personal
To be meaningful, individual salesperson goals should be truly personalized. Goals can focus on areas of needed personal improvement, for example. They can also take advantage of key skills unique to the salesperson. Better yet, the salesperson’s goals should mix both types, so they give the salesperson the opportunity to enhance areas where they are already great and improve areas where they can become great.
Personalized goals encourage individual initiative. Of course, because aggressive goals seek to stretch the salesperson to achieve more than they’ve accomplished before, they also bring the risk of failure. Nonetheless, finding limits and pushing past them allow the organization and the individual to establish new performance and success benchmarks.
Make Them Align
Achieving success by attaining individual goals is certainly personally gratifying. But to truly reach a synergy of personal and team success, the salesleader setting individual and team goals – typically the Sales Manager, VP of Sales, or even the business owner – should make sure the goals align. Individual goals should “roll up” to sales team goals; and sales team goals should roll up to corporate goals.
This is important for two big reasons: relatability and accountability. For the individual salesperson to take added measures of pride and ownership in the success of the company, the relationship of their personal goals to team and corporate performance objectives should be clear. If not, personal buy-in will be more difficult. Likewise, relatability to larger goals makes personal accountability easier to communicate and measure.
One caution: Make sure that individual sales success goals don’t directly pit your sales team members against one another in anything beyond normal healthy team competitiveness. Don’t sacrifice long-term team cohesion and camaraderie for short term gains in sales.
Make Them SMART
As well known as the SMART acronym is, it’s surprising how many goals fall short of these common-sense criteria. As a reminder, when setting goals at all levels, make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Anything less leads to confusion, lack of motivation, and even dissent.
Make Them Rewarding
Success via goal attainment naturally matters to the company. After all, if the goals (individual and team) are truly success-oriented, results will improve the bottom line. But for goals to be meaningful to each salesperson, achievement of those goals need to be rewarded.
Certainly, a job well done is its own reward, but continuing performance improvement is best motivated by making sure goal attainment is recognized and rewarded in the sales compensation plan. Effective sales compensation plan design can be complex, but the reward concept is simple: Meet or exceed your goals – as an individual performer and as a team – and some manner of compensation goes up accordingly.
Properly defined, established and managed individual sales goals can indeed be a crucial factor in how to improve sales. When designed to be personal, meaningful, rewarding, AND in alignment with bigger-picture goals, they can benefit the salesperson, the sales team and the entire organization.
Just as a football player’s on-field achievements make it easier for the team to succeed, so is the case for the sales team and its individual salespeople. Misalignment of personal, team and corporate goals, however, can create confusion, cripple commitment, and even create a toxic sales team environment. Our licensed Advisors at Sales Xceleration have years of experience creating sales team unity and opportunities for sales success through proper goal setting. To learn more, click here to connect with a Sales Xceleration Advisor in your area, or contact us today at 1.844.874.7253.