Smarter Sales Goals: 3 Steps to Get You Started

BY Jessica Helinski
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Setting sales goals is important. But why not take it a step further and set smarter sales goals? Often, salespeople can get in the habit of setting the same goals, never really getting outside of their comfort zone. HubSpot's Meg Prater encourages reps to analyze how they set goals and to consider slight adjustments to make them even better–and more attainable.

Smarter sales goals

Prater shares nine tips that help reps improve their goals, ranging from the length of goals to monitoring progression. While her article is directed at managers, reps can still glean value from her suggestions. And these shifts can be implemented smoothly in any process.

Below are three  highlights:

  • Set waterfall goals
  • Sequence your goals
  • Monitor goal progressions

Set waterfall goals

Setting smarter sales goals will involve change. This first suggestion from Prater requires reps to approach goal setting from a different perspective. Rather than focusing on singular standalone goals, create smaller goals that grow over time. Want to commit to doubling your sent emails? Rather than immediately trying to double them, start smaller and set a 25% increase by a week. This small step toward a larger goal is much more attainable and will help you build to your ultimate desired effort.

While it may seem counterproductive to not immediately dive right in, this is a smarter sales goal because it’s realistic. Going all in on a big goal right away may not be sustainable, which can lead to early stumbles and frustration. Easing yourself into the goal is a smarter approach.  “[It’s] better for morale because missing goals can increase fear and squash motivation,” Prater explains. “The waterfall approach also produces higher quality work and better numbers.” Plus, you’ll lessen your chance of burnout.

Sequence your goals

One way to craft smarter sales goals is to take time to prioritize them; not every goal should be tackled at once. “Determine which goals bring the highest value when hit,” she writes. Then, set them accordingly. This ensures that even if you don’t hit every single one, you’ve at least reached the ones that matter most.

Note quite sure how to effectively prioritize? It can be difficult because every goal seems important. But there are ways to thoughtfully analyze goals to determine which ones take precedence over others. Check out this article from Amy Franko in which she outlines specific questions to ask yourself when determining goal priority.

Monitor goal progressions

Setting smarter sales goals requires accountability. It’s vital that you track progress so that you can adjust parts of your process as needed to ensure you hit your goal on time. Otherwise, how else do you know how you’re progressing? As Prater points out, “Monitoring these small goals makes them worth the extra implementation time, so don’t skimp here — even if it’s tempting.”

So, take the time to monitor your progress, however you choose to do so, whether it’s a CRM or a simple Excel spreadsheet. And consider creating a vision board, as Rachel Cagle suggested in a SalesFuel article. “If your goals aren’t visible, they can sometimes seem out of reach, even if they’re not. That’s why creating a physical or digital vision board can be a great way to keep your spirits up. You can actually see your sales goals and the progress you’re making toward them.”

Smarter goals lead to more successes

Being goal directed is important in sales. But attaining what you want requires evolving. This year, make it a priority to break out of your typical goal-​setting process and implement Prater’s advice for creating smarter sales goals. She even includes a list of actions sales reps can take that align with her suggestions; her examples can help you acclimate your process to these smarter goals. By having the mindset to accept change and adopt more effective methods, you set yourself up for new levels of success.

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