How to set SMART Goals for your Sales Team

Posted by Rakesh Sharma on March 19th, 2020

There are two basic sources of motivation – internal and external. Internal motivation is another name for self-motivation. External motivation comes from external resources – based on tasks given by someone or based on competition.

In Sales, while setting goals, the biggest mistake made is focusing solely on numbers. When you focus solely on the numbers without any specific plan of action, you are actually taking a shot in the dark.

Motivation is important and encourages people to give their best performance and helps individuals in achieving their goals or propels an enterprise to reach their business objectives. 

 “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... These are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence” … Confucius.

Salespeople go through lots of ups and downs daily. On an average, every salesperson gets rejected nine times before he gets a sale. It means that they must ensure that their motivation is at a very high level until the sale gets closed and the order is bagged. It is inevitably important to have competent Sales Growth Strategies.

It has been proven that setting specific goals increases both motivation and productivity of an individual by 40% in comparison to the “I’ll just do my best” approach. Imagine what a 40% better performance from each Rep would look like for the company?

Getting an order closed is the outcome of lots of consistent efforts. Sometimes a sale takes months and, in some cases, even years. A salesperson must be continuously in the highest motivation level to keep following and chasing the order. Personal rejection is a very common phenomenon a salesperson has to experience again and again. 

To maintain consistency of follow-up and rigor one needs to be highly motivated and purpose oriented. Therefore, one of the key challenges in front of all the sales managers and Sales Trainers is to keep their team members motivated apart from keeping on building their skills and providing them support in the field. 

What are the key strategies to set competent goals…? This is a question which brothers most of the sales managers. Given below are the time-tested strategies that will keep up the salespeople on their toes and propel them to deliver the best performance.

Set Challenging but Achievable Goals:  The salespeople are businesspeople. Most of the time they think like an entrepreneur. Achieving goals motivates them. Every closed sales order makes them feel thrilled. Therefore, the sales managers must ensure to give them challenging goals. The goals should scare them a little but motivate them to achieve it. After comparing the innovative and time-proven strategies of some leading Sales Training Companies, SMART goal-setting has emerged as the leading strategy.

One can use the SMART format for setting the goals.  S stands for specific, for example, we will sell 20 sets of O ring boxes this month. M stands for measurable. 20 sets make it measurable. A stands for achievable. The team has been selling 18 sets on an average per month. Selling twenty sets shall be a bit stretch but still achievable. R stands for being relevant. For a sales team that is selling this product, the goal is relevant to their job responsibility. T stands for time-bound. When we set a goal for selling 20 sets of O Rings this month i.e. March 2020, the goal becomes time-bound. Time-bound goals have a high tendency of creating enough pressure and urgency on the team members. This goal is time-bound. So, this goal meets all the characteristics of being SMART. A SMART goal has high chances of being achieved. A SMART goal definitely motivates to take action for its fulfillment. 

As advocated by various top Sales and Business Coach, setting annual sales goals is a simple but systematic activity. I would like to explain the goal setting in three steps. 

  • Analyze your sales trend for the last 3 years. Analyze how you have been growing during the last three years. Add a growth percentage for this year’s growth. You can add the organic growth factor into your trend. This will give you a fair idea about future goals. This type of goal setting is called Retro Goal Setting. 
  • Besides looking at the past growth trend you can look at the market situation and opportunities. If the market is offering a growth opportunity, the economic conditions of the country are favorable, you can add some percentage of growth to the past trends and stretch your Retro goal a little. This type of goal setting is called Opportunity Goal Setting
  • Besides the above two factors, you must consider what is your growth ambition. The most important is your growth ambition. Your growth ambition will decide what kind of plans you want to create for achieving your goals. What kind of investment you want to make in your business? What kind of future plans you have? What kind of markets you are adding or what kind of products you are adding? What is your growth ambition? You should add a factor of growth to the opportunity goals and then set your goals. This goal-setting step is called Growth Goals. Growth goals are most important for taking the business to the next level.

Sales goals should never be based on past trend looking solely. There has to be very clear planning around the goals. The most important is that the sales team must be able to see the goals as achievable. 

A stretched but achievable goal definitely motivates the sales team. As I mentioned above if you are able to show that the goal is achievable then the team runs to achieve those goals. Achieving any goals brings up the adrenaline levels in the bloodstream of every team member. Setting goals and pushing for those goals is one of the biggest motivations for any salesperson. Goal achievement is in the DNA of a salesperson. 

While setting goals make sure that you are not forcing the goals on the team members from the top. Let the goals be set in consultation with the team members. The empowered team should be allowed to set it’s own goals. Nothing can be a better motivator if you are able to create an environment where sales team members are setting their own goals and planning the strategy for achievement. 


Rakesh Sharma--- Founder of Prime Performance Solutions.

He is the founder of Prime Performance Solutions. He is among the Best Business Coach and Sales Trainer and Motivational Speaker in India. Many have recommended him as the best business coach in India.

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Rakesh Sharma

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Rakesh Sharma
Joined: February 11th, 2020
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