How to Set Sales Goals: 7 Best Practices to Improve Sales Performance

As a sales manager, one way you can help your busy sales team be more productive and improve sales performance is to give them a set of best practices on how to set sales goals.

Personally, I know that every time I set and review goals on a scheduled basis, all sorts of good things happen.

When setting goals in our CFS Sales Playbook, I use this approach:

  1. Make goals hierarchical in the PlayBook
  2. Create recurring goals in the PlayBook
  3. Integrate goal execution with the CRM
  4. Integrate goal execution with my calendar
  5. Categorize my goals
  6. Conduct my goal rituals
  7. Intend on accomplishing my goals!

How to Set Sales Goals: 7 Best Practices

  1. Make goals hierarchical

I start with the overarching goals—let’s say annual. Each goal has a subset of levels—i.e. quarterly, monthly, and then weekly. Here is an example:

  • The first level goal is “Hired a great Sales Trainer by March 31, 2016.”

This month’s related subset goal:

  • “The hiring team has reviewed and agreed on the job description for the Sales Trainer.”

The weekly goal:

  • “CFS has met with 3 qualified Sales Trainer candidates and at least 1 has made it to the next round of interviews.”

The above are obviously management related.

For one of our salespeople, their goals might relate to having won opportunities of a certain type, size and dollar amount.

  1. Create recurring goals

Rather than recreate the same goals every week, I create a list of goals that I want to accomplish on a recurring basis. This might be the number of new leads created, the number of new opportunities, and the dollar amounts to have closed/won.

  1. Integrate goals with the CRM

At CFS we use Salesforce.com. When it comes to execution, we use Salesforce plus the CFS Sales Playbook to drive progress. The Sales PlayBook, provides me with reminders and suggestions on how to deal with every aspect of selling. For instance, if I am working an opportunity, besides entering what stage it is in in my CRM, I link back to the Sales PlayBook for ideas on what to do in any given situation related to that opportunity. Example: if we have been “put on hold” on a particular deal, then I’ll post an update related to my opportunity, which is a link to the corresponding web page in the Sales PlayBook on “how to deal with being put on hold.”

  1. Integrate goal execution with my calendar

To make my goals actionable, I create events in my calendar to execute my goals. Sometimes it’s one task, sometimes its multiple tasks that are scheduled over several days.

Example:

  • “The hiring team has reviewed and agreed on the job description for the Sales Trainer.”

This goal for the week drives me to block out time in my Outlook calendar on Tuesday at 4pm to “have drafted the Sales Trainer job description.” And on Thursday at 7am to “have completed the Sales Trainer job description.” Incidentally, I would then create a task in our shared file management system for my hiring team to have reviewed and added comments or changes to this job description within a week. They will likely block time in their calendars for this activity.

  1. Categorize my goals

I like to group my goals into categories:

Marketing, Sales, Clients, Operations, and Personal

This makes it easier for me to set goals and also to execute them. This way, I can manage my time more effectively. For instance, I might schedule personal goals to be accomplished during non-selling time, like lunchtime, or before, or after regular hours.

  1. Conduct my goal rituals

At the beginning of each day and at the end, before leaving the office, I like to review my goals in the Sales PlayBook. Because our PlayBook is cloud-based, I can review and manage them from any device, anywhere, anytime. I often work my goals on my smartphone in between meetings, while on the road.

  1. Intend on accomplishing my goals!

Language is important. How you write your goal matters. You may have noticed that the goal examples I have written are written in the past tense. This is a subtle, yet powerful point. I believe that there are forces at work that help you achieve your goals when you declare them as though they already happened. It reinforces your intention also.

Hope this helps on your journey to being the greatest sales manager you can be! Learning how to set sales goals is no easy feat—knowing is the first step, implementation is the next. Happy selling!
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By | 2016-10-17T16:32:06+00:00 December 15th, 2015|Sales Leaders, Sales Success|0 Comments

About the Author:

Charles Bernard is the CEO at Criteria for Success. He writes about sales, sales leadership, social selling best practices, time management, and anything related to helping others make sales success a habit.

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