sales team

One of the most challenging areas for an employer, especially in sales, is managing your people effectively. It’s not just about how well they do their jobs, it’s about making sure their roles support where you want your business to go. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to bring everything together and get your people working towards the right sales goals and objectives.

  • Establish what you want your business to achieve in the near- and mid-future.
  • Prioritize what you want to do.
  • Turn these goals into overall business objectives.
  • Give a subset of the sales objectives to your managers.
  • Give a subset of the manager’s objectives to your staff, aligned with their job roles.
  • Track progress towards the objectives on a regular basis.
  • Reward staff who meet or exceed their sales objectives.

This process for setting sales goals and objectives does need some time and effort to put in place, but it can make some big differences to your sales business. When you get all of your employees moving in the same direction, you’ll give everyone a common sense of purpose and increase your turnover and profits.

Establish what you want your business to achieve in the near- and mid-future.

The whole process for setting sales objectives starts by you deciding what you want your business to achieve in the next one to three years. Go through each aspect of your business, look at historic results, and think about realistic sales goals that you want to achieve.

Although you’ll be using your one year sales goals to set sales objectives for your people, you should do this with a longer-term view in mind. Think about where you see your business in three years and start putting things in place now to get there. Areas of your business you will want to think about when setting sales goals and objectives include:

  • Increasing sales, turnover and profit.
  • Increasing the number of customers.
  • Developing or distributing new products and services.
  • Reducing your costs.
  • Enhancing your marketing.
  • Improving your hiring and HR processes.
  • Managing the administration and finances.
  • Projects like building a new website, moving to new premises, or getting a better computer system in place.

When setting sales goals and objectives, go through every area of your business and think about the specific improvements you want to see and write down everything you want to achieve. Create an exhaustive list – It’s fine if it has 20 or more items on it.

Prioritizing what you want to do

By the time you’re finished with step one, you’ll have a long list. The next step is to prioritize your overall goals so you can focus your people on the most important areas. Go through every goal and decide:

  • How urgent is it? – How soon does this need to be done? Does it need to happen this year, or can it wait?
  • How important is it? – What is the impact of this on the business? Is it vital to your overall success?
  • For each area that is very urgent, score it as a “1,” if it’s quite urgent, score it as a “2,” otherwise score it as a “3.”
  • For each area that is very important, score it as a “1,” if it’s quite important, score it as a “2,” otherwise score it as a “3.”
  • Add together the scores for each area.

Sort your overall sales goals by score. Any goal that has an overall score of “2” or “3” should be your top priority. Anything with a score of “4” is next in line, with “5” or “6” not being critical.

Look carefully though all of your sales goals, using the scores to guide what you want to accomplish in the next year. Create a shortlist of what you want to get done.

Turn the goals into business objectives

Now you’ve prioritized everything, it’s time to turn your goals into business objectives. This means putting some targets around each one. Go through your top priority sales goals and put in solid figures and timescales. For example:

  • Increase repeat customer base by 10% in the next year.
  • Add two new products to our range in the next six months.
  • Take on an external agency to help us hire new people in the next year.
  • Increase our marketing spend and return on investment by 20% in the next year.

The more specific you can be, the better. You’ll be using these sales goals to set objectives for your people.  Next, you’ll begin the process of handing out the objectives.

Give a subset of the objectives to your managers

You’re going to be using the solid objectives you created in the last step to set objectives for your managers and senior staff.

  1. Review the job descriptions, key responsibilities, and roles of your senior staff members.
  2. Go through each of your business objectives and assign them to one or more of your staff members. (For example, a goal to increase your turnover might go to both your sales manager and marketing expert.)
  3. Turn the high-level sales objective into something that’s relevant to the person you’re assigning it to. Ideally, objectives should be SMART <link to previous article> – (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)ctionable, (R)elevant, and (T)imely.
  4. Discuss the sales objectives with each of your senior staff members to make sure they understand what they need to do.
  5. Ask your senior staff members to give a subset of their objectives to the people who work under them.

Get your managers to give a subset of their objectives to their staff

Your managers are going to use the same approach as you did in the last step to set sales objectives for their staff. They’ll need to review job roles and decide which of their objectives are most suitable. They can then use SMART principles to create relevant objectives for their people.

This should continue through your organization until everyone has objectives that support and align with their immediate manager’s. The idea is that every objective, from the bottom to the top, aligns completely with your goals for your business. It means everyone knows how they contribute to your overall success.

Track progress towards objectives on a regular basis

It’s a good idea set sales objectives in place at the beginning of the year and track progress against them for the next twelve months. Ideally, employees should have an informal meeting with their boss on a monthly basis to give them a chance to share their successes, concerns, and issues. This can be followed up with a more formal meeting every quarter to review objectives and check staff are making progress towards them.

If they’re not, the manager can provide appropriate coaching and support to get the employee back on track.

Reward staff who meet or exceed their objectives

Sales objectives are most powerful when they’re used to set expectations and incentivize your staff. You can make sales goals part of a bonus structure or pair them with other non-financial incentives for your employees. The important thing is that they know how what they are doing directly affects both business and personal performance, as that will encourage them to do their best.

Everyone’s moving in the same direction

The main advantages of setting objectives like this is that it lets you set the overall direction of your business. You then translate that into goals and objectives you want your people to meet. As you cascade them down through the organization, everyone will understand how they’re driving your business in the right direction.