When was the last time you really examined your goals? As salespeople, we’re used to creating goals on a quarterly and annual basis. But the magic happens when we evaluate our goals and turn them into a plan.
Here’s the good news—creating goals is actually pretty easy.
There are three basic steps to achieving sales goals:
- Know the numbers.
- Look to the past.
- Plan for the future.
Unfortunately, implementing a plan that will help you achieve that goal can be a little more painful. You need to have an honest talk with yourself—how are you going to take your sales goals and turn them into a realistic sales plan?
1. Know the numbers
Most often, the way we approach sales goals is to reverse engineer annual revenue quota or annual income goals into quarterly and monthly goals.
From these quotas, we can then figure out the numbers to hit for various sales activities. For example, this could include monthly numbers for:
- How many leads you need
- How many client appointments you need to set
- How many proposal meetings you need to lead
Easy! You’ve got a clear idea of what you need to do to meet your annual goal. But you’re not done! Now you have the numbers, you need a plan—and you need to ask yourself a few questions.
2. Look To the Past
The first question you need to ask is, “How do these activity numbers compare to what I’ve done in the past?”
If your new sales goal is to set one appointment a day, and you’ve never set more than one appointment a week—you’re giving yourself a hard row to hoe! I admire your optimism, but you’re not setting yourself up for success.
If your goal requires one appointment a week and you’ve already been averaging four a week, you can feel confident your goal is achievable.
This is why we ask ourselves how our new goals stack up with what we’ve done in the past. You need to have that heartfelt conversation with yourself to figure out if your goals are really doable.
Hopefully, you can tell yourself, “Awesome! I can totally do this!” But if you’re looking at your new numbers and saying, “Oh… crap,” what do you do? Either way, you need a plan—which leads us to the next question.
3. Plan For The Future
The second question you need to ask yourself is, “What’s my plan to hit these numbers?”
You know what you’ve done in the past, and what you need to do in the future—so how do you get there from here? If your new numbers are daunting, what can you do to make them achievable?
Incorporate Upward Trends Into Your Plan
So you’ve calculated that you need to make one appointment a day, but you’ve only been making one a week. Trying to immediately start setting five appointments every week is almost sure to fail. But you can break your goal up into smaller ones, and ramp up over time:
- In Q1, try for three a week.
- In Q2, try to hit four.
- In Q3, go for five.
- In Q4, be meeting (and exceeding) your goal.
It’s impossible to jump from the first floor of a house to the second floor in a single leap—but with a staircase, it’s easy. You can reach your goals if you take them step by step.
This is the same strategy we use when looking at annual sales goals: If your goal for this year is $6M in sales, and next year it’s $12M, you can’t expect to simply go from $500K a month this December to $1M a month in January! By the end of this year, you need to already be trending toward the following year’s quota.
Build Strategies To Support Your Numbers
If you have to set one appointment a day, yet you only have enough leads in your pipeline to support one a week, what’s your plan to get more prospects in your sales funnel? When, and how, are you going to frontload your sales funnel with enough leads to set yourself up for success?
If your sales funnel can’t supply enough fresh prospects, you’ll end up recycling leads to try to make your five-a-week appointment goal—and call reluctance will set in. You’ll give up on your new plan and just settle for doing what you’ve always done.
So many factors can affect your goals. It’s important to identify what needs to be corrected and stay on top of it. That’s why the final step of victorious goal setting is “Review & Revise.” Even the best sales plans need adjusting as the year goes on.
Go for it!
Ready to go after those sales goals? I coach sales professionals on the sales techniques, attitude, and time-management skills they need to crush their goals and get more out of their careers. I also consult business owners, sales managers, and executives to help their sales operations with goal setting, strategic planning, and more.
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Until next time—go sell some stuff!