Goals give you something to shoot for in sales. But they come with a caveat! You need to plot your way down the field first with a series of goal-setting activities.
Why? It’s simply more productive (and likely to bring more success) if you carefully manage activity “goals” along the way rather than focus purely on results-oriented end goals. Quantitative results are final, bare and unforgiving (“close 7 sales”). Interim qualitative results during the sales process are, on the other hand, enabling (“make Discovery calls to your week’s qualified leads”).
It makes sense. Whereas overall results are important for tracking your business success, they are following indicators of what has already happened. Shorter-term, goal-setting activities are leading indicators while also providing motivation that can eliminate possible despair and disengagement when problems arise during the sales process.
And there are problems! According to Forbes: “Time spent with customers (34% of rep time) and quota attainment (42% of all reps) – have not moved materially over the last few decades.”
So – the more you set realistic and smart day-to-day activities, the easier it becomes to achieve those final sales goals.
Let’s look more closely at what these goal-setting activities are and why they’re important.
What are Goal-Setting Activities?
Goal setting activities are tasks and practices you implement on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis in order to reach your goals.
If goals are a roadmap, then goal-setting activities are a pathway to help you get to the destination successfully, minimizing any risks that may come along the way. The path down the field that we mentioned up top also has to be optimized to your Ideal Customer Profile so that the efforts of your sales team are efficient (i.e. focused on your best opportunities)!
Why Are Goal-Setting Activities Important?
In a nutshell, these immediate activities take your focus off the result so you can enjoy the process and art of doing effective work. Stress negatively affects creativity, so avoid it.
There are three good reasons for these activities.
1 They’re a source of motivation to your team
Do you traditionally use bonuses, incentives, commission, and vacations, etc. to motivate your team? The problem is, these methods focus on final results and can lead to your sales reps developing unproductive whirlwind activities in an effort to reach that goal.
Setting interim activity goals for your team, however, motivates them intrinsically to develop new work habits. It also brings them the inherent satisfaction of being productive.
For example, a presentation that brings a request for a further meeting is a success to clock up. Whether it results in a closed sale later is beside the point. Your rep is motivated to work hard on the next task.
2 They help your team to work smarter and realistically
It’s easy to initially set unrealistic goals that are super hard to achieve – or at least appear that way to your team members. This leaves them floundering if not de-motivated!
So – it’s important not to fall into the trap of only setting sales goals that focus on numbers.
Instead, focus on goal-setting activities, embedded in your sales strategy. In this way, you’re putting structure in place: creating a process that will carry them through to closing deals more successfully and increasing your company value.
This structure allows them to work on smaller goals that matter most in sales, such as
- lead-generation activities and
- subsequent creative and thoughtful activity to steadily convert leads to customers.
3 They’re a foundation for consistent action
Regardless of what results you get eventually, the “productive sales activities first” approach influences the overall behavior of the whole sales team positively. This approach
- trains them up in a strategy that works for your business,
- develops their craft, and
- gives them a consistent routine that helps avoid procrastination (usually caused by impossible-sounding final “targets”!).
Best Practices to Set Great Activity Goals
Setting the right daily active goals for your organization is not easy. The primary steps are to have a clear strategy and a defined process that take into account your sales needs and end results. Consider the following factors that will work towards your long-term success:
Determine your company/sales goals.
Start from your unique value proposition. Maybe you’ve promised a product supply chain that’s certified sustainable from beginning to end. Your reps’ daily activities should include activities that prove this value to customers in all their sales activity.
Or perhaps your service’s value is your insight into new regulations, with data to back it up. Your reps should be using the data creatively in their daily work. Not ruminating on that distant sales target.
These productive daily activities move them successfully towards closing a sale – your quantitative goal.
Focus on the things you can do.
In business, you can’t force customers to buy your product or service. It therefore makes sense to set activities towards your goals that focus on your team’s sales behavior and what they can achieve or adjust.
This takes the focus off results, which are not the best team performance indicators anyway. After all, sales depend on the multiple random choices and shape-shifting scenarios of humans in an economic environment in motion! Re-focus on specific productive activities.
Track your progress over time.
Over time, if you don’t review your performance, you lose the opportunity to grow. Even when you have deadlines for your goals, it’s essential to review your weekly and monthly progress, because you can then eliminate ongoing activity errors quickly. You can course-correct.
That’s why goal-setting activities are important. They’re easy to track daily and weekly, but also help you keep an eye on the bigger picture.
Setting Sales Goals Activity
The very first people to benefit from avoiding a purely results-oriented mindset are your sales team. So involve them. You can’t control their results, but you can control what they do on a daily basis.
Moreover, in most cases, sales-goals activities can be different for individuals on your team. Your standard framework is critical, but allowing individuals to adapt around the framework will provide more buy-in and, ultimately, accountability. So be flexible, while still holding your team accountable!
Firstly, communicate openly with your sales team about your goals and break these down into monthly, then weekly, actionable goals. This helps create a sense of urgency as well as possibility.
For instance, you might help them decide how many calls they need to make this week, based on their usual rate of closing. Then measure their activity. This will be their focus – daily activity towards your goals – rather than the financial target.
Secondly, support them by training them in the steps of the sales process you’ve put in place. Training grows their skills and helps them become more independent so they can use their skills to best effect in daily activity. They learn how to adjust their activity effectively towards your overall goals while focusing on more immediate goals.
The thing to remember here is that winning is an incremental process in selling. We win one step at a time. So work to understand and identify every potential win along the way:
- identifying a targeted Ideal Customer,
- getting that first conversation,
- learning who’s involved and scheduling a meeting, and
- conducting a perfect Discovery, a perfect demo, a verified solution presentation, etc.
Winning begets winning. Make your team winners! (Caveat: no participation trophies, real measured wins incrementally!)
We Can Help You Set Achievable Goals!
Here at 360 Consulting, we’re passionate about sales and helping you achieve your sales goals. We believe that focused sales activity towards goals is the surest way to raise your sales. Contact us today for a free consultation to help you get started with specific goal-setting activities!