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Sales - Setting Targets

Are your salespeople included in setting targets?   Very few are.  Sales targets are based on previous individual performance, sales division performance and budget requirements.   In some companies everybody gets the same target, regardless of abilities or previous successes, while in others it is an enormously complex beast with all sorts of criteria used.

While the business requirements have to be met, it is important to discuss and collaborate with the salespeople themselves.

Sales is a game, and each time you play a game, you should want to do better.   If you are not competitive by nature, sales can be a very tough career.  It is, anyway.

More and more, sales management is about coaching, not managing, so it really important for sales managers to understand how coaching works.  There are great courses out there which guide sales managers through the coaching methodology.
A simple, but structured approach to target setting with lots of communication is best practice, but, like budgets, it is often a top / down approach which impacts commitment to the numbers:

First, sales managers need to buy into, and be able to share the model clearly and simply.
  1. Meet the team, and share the model
  2. Discuss the issues and challenges as a group
  3. Discuss which campaigns and strategies worked in the previous year, and any new ones already on the table
  4. Set aside time to meet with each salesperson individually
People need to own their goals and targets, so sales managers should have a genuine conversation with salespeople pre the finalisation of targets.
  1. How did you achieve your targets last year?  or
  2. Why didn't you achieve your targets last year?
  3. Do you believe this years' suggested targets are achievable?
  4. Why?
  5. Are there problems in the business that are stopping you from selling?
  6. If you believe the targets are not achievable, what can I, as your sales manager, do to help you bring the deals in?
  7. How should I be managing you?  (When you are achieving and when you are not.)
  8. If they have set their own goals (and they should) discuss the goals and ways to incorporate success into the departmental model.
  9. Discuss motivation and demotivation - so often these conversations only happen once the stable door is already shut
    • Do they feel the company is behind them?
    • Do they feel recognised for their successes?
  10. Ideally, a discussion about short and long term objectives should take place ie not all salespeople receive orders monthly, they might work on a deal for two or three years, or two or three weeks.  Keeping morale high is a challenge in long term business.
  11. Create an action plan together that facilitates the management process because it gives the manager something to measure and the salesperson a very clear guideline
  12. Set up a regular meeting schedule
When people are aware that there are regular meetings, that their manager is measuring them against clear objectives in addition to targets, behaviour starts to change.   Salespeople, like most of us, do what managers measure.   It is part of a good coaching technique to clearly identify the measurements.

It also helps to define an acceptable degree of variation.   When everybody knows what is significant, it is much easier for the conversations around performance to be objective.

Sales today is more of a challenge than ever, coaching, clear goals and celebration of every success can make a difference.


Links, References and Notes

Accsys
Stratham Bryce Sales Training

Note


Thank you for reading Teryl@Work.   Should you wish to use any of the material, please acknowledge this blog as the source

email:      tschroenn@accsys.co.za

twitter:   @TerylSchroenn

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