Why Setting Sales Goals by Semester is a Great Idea

BY Jessica Helinski
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For sellers, managing time and setting sales goals are often based on daily, weekly and monthly schedules. But there are other professionals out there who swear by a quarterly schedule – or even one that is based on seasons. 

Switching your cadence to a more long-​term focus may actually be more effective. “Our organization of time and work is malleable, in other words, and we shouldn't be boxed in by traditional boundaries like days or quarters,” Jessica Stillman writes for Inc. She points to the approach suggested by journalist Allie Volpe that divides your work life into semesters.

Setting sales goals by semester

Traditionally, students’ time is broken down into semesters, so even as an adult, you may find some familiarity in this approach. As Volpe suggests to Vox, “Take a page from the educational system and divide the future into ‘semesters’ — traditionally 15 to 17 weeks long at American colleges — in which to implement mini goals to help get you where you want to go.”

To begin, select a small goal that you want to work toward accomplishing, such as hosting a specific number of webinars or earning more referrals. Make sure that these are actionable goals that aren’t too big and can be accomplished within the “semester” time frame.

The perfect amount of time

Stillman agrees with Volpe that targeting goals for a semester are much less intimidating than, say, a yearly quota. But it’s also the right length to schedule a longer-​term plan than one that is daily or weekly.

Big goals and distant objectives can be intimidating,” Stillman explains. “We don't know where to start and feel overwhelmed, [and] the 15 to 17 weeks of a traditional academic semester is long enough to make real, satisfying progress but not so long as to lose motivation part-​way through.”

Also, setting sales goals for a semester-​length of time can cut down on stress. As SalesFuel reports, 63% of sales professionals struggle with mental health. To help ease stress and pressure, professionals recommend breaking down tasks and goals when creating schedules. 

How to craft your own semester-​long goals

Like with any other type of goal-​setting, there are certain things to keep in mind to boost chances of success. Volpe points out that specificity is an important element, writing, “goals are more likely to be achieved if they’re specific. This specificity is where people become unique in their pursuits. You should aim to be as precise as possible when it comes to your semester-​long missions.”

Schedule and perform check-​ins periodically throughout the semester to see your progress and determine if any shifts are needed. Hold yourself accountable, and don’t be afraid to modify your goal and adjust your plan of action. 

Finally, once your semester comes to an end, self-​evaluate. Did you reach your mini goal? If so, what's next? If not, do you want to try again or adjust your focus?

This reflection is crucial,” according to Volpe. “At the end of the semester, you can determine whether the mini goal is moving you toward your larger ambitions or if you’d rather focus on something else entirely.”

And keep in mind that with setting sales goals of any kind, the first step and continued commitment is essential. Remind yourself that the semester isn’t long, and find ways to keep yourself motivated, whether it’s a routine check-​in with a teammate, creating a vision board or engaging in positive self-talk. 

For even more tips on how to create and achieve sales goals, check out SalesFuel’s professional advice.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov