How do you set demanding sales goals that push sales reps to go beyond their comfort zone but aren’t set so high that they’re unattainable to reach? Goals that are stretched too much leads to impossible demands and counterproductive results. If salespeople find the goals unachievable, they disengage and the sales results droop even lower than they would have been if the goals were set at achievable levels.
Having lofty goals – and high expectations – for your sales outcomes is part of the game. In some ways, they can be helpful. But in others, having unrealistic expectations can lead to missing the mark, something that hurts the business and weakens morale.
The importance of achievable goal setting.
This study from Harvard University shares two main components of successful goal setting: motivation and achievement.
The authors of the study explain how setting very targeted goals increases motivation far more than a basic pep talk ever could. The second component of the goal setting formula is achievement. In the experiment, a group of college students were put through a goal-setting study. The inferences of the study were those who stuck to a targeted goal and monitored their goals ultimately had a 30% better outcome than those who did not.
Did you catch that? That’s a thirty percent improvement.
Imagine the impact of goal setting on your weakest performing sales reps if they had a 30% improvement month over month in reaching their sales quota. You’d have a team of star performers in no time.
Ambiguity in expectations and disparity between speech and actions of the management may have a detrimental effect on the performance of the sales team. In contrast, consistently setting realistic goals and meeting them, quarter after quarter, builds a solid foundation for trust and progress. It also shows the investors steady growth, increasing their confidence in the business.
Communicating clear, attainable sales expectations to your sales team members may not be as easy as you’d like, but it’s a necessary part of establishing trust, maintaining that trust, and positioning your organization for continued success. To do so, you should:
Share clear expectations that are specific to the individual you are speaking with.
A company-wide message is, by its nature, too vague. It’s also easy for team members to read a company-wide message and brush it off as not being specific or applicable to them. So make sure the communication is tailored to each member of the sales team.
Give actionable steps and techniques for meeting those goals.
Providing an outline of clear expectations is good, but providing a clear way to meet those expectations is far better. This not only demonstrates you are supportive but helps the salespeople to attain the goals within the desired time frame.
Provide a timeframe for meeting the expectations you set
…and outline any other key performance metrics that are important. Perhaps a dollar amount isn’t the best measurement of progress; be clear regarding what success looks like.
Ensure you have been heard and understood
… and answer any questions or concerns that come up. You can do this by having your sales team member provide a summary of what they understand to be their next steps.
Setting appropriate expectations for your sales goals – and incorporating smart sales strategies to help meet them – can bring clarity to your organization and team. Goals that are too low don’t tap into your team’s potential, but goals that are too high mean missed benchmarks and discouragement. By having attainable, inspiring benchmarks for success for each individual, you’ll empower your team to achieve the results needed with better performance, more sales, and higher revenue.