Welcome to the new decade – are you setting a sales goal for the year? Over here at Acquirent, our year end reviews include a section where we determine what our objectives for the new year are. Obviously, one’s goals vary from person to person. Some people go into sales strictly for the money. Others might be looking for different levels of responsibility or thinking in terms of their long-term career.
Whatever your logic for goal setting might be, the objectives that you set for yourself must be realistic and actionable.
Sales Goal Setting Must Be Reasonable
We might all be thinking “2020 is the year I earn a billion dollars” but is this reasonable? Probably not. Sales goal setting needs to be grounded in reality, not fantasy. You know best yourself what kind of commission you make off of your job. If you are aiming to make as much commission as possible, devise a plan that can be achieved.
Stephen Covey’s famous book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” has some good advice. In particular, his advice to start with the end in mind is highly applicable. A goal is, by its definition, an end result for a series of actions which you plan to undertake. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a specific number you are looking to hit, either. While it is arguably more impressive to set a number for yourself and to hit that number – growing your book of business by a certain percentage, or hitting a specific numerical threshold, they can also be more general or abstract (I want to be more involved in the training of X employees, for instance.) Use both types of goals when setting expectations for yourself in the new year.
After you have determined your goal, you must set the parameters under which this goal is to be accomplished: how long is this going to take?
Sales Goal Setting is Time Sensitive
Rome wasn’t built in a day. If I set the goal of becoming ruler of the free world, that’s great, but this isn’t something that is going to happen overnight. As a result, it doesn’t make for a great yearly goal. If we break down that goal as part of a longer series of objectives, the objective becomes more manageable. Maybe this isn’t the year that I become hegemon of Earth (call it a long-term career goal) but I can work towards this by creating realistic goalposts. This year I can start taking on increasing responsibility and gaining managerial expertise. The skills that this will allow me to gain will help me accomplish my long term objectives. Taking these steps will also expand my connections with other people and grant me more opportunities.
Not everyone is fit to be a king – maybe your goals are more rational. Where do you want to be in the next five years, and how are you achieving that currently? If you are merely going through the motions and not thinking strategically, you aren’t going to end up where you want to be. This brings up the final (and most critical) aspect of goal-setting – making your plans actionable.
Have Actionable Goals
Everyone has dreams and aspirations – but are you setting yourself up for success or failure in achieving those ends? A helpful way for looking at goals is to imagine a recipe. To bake a cake, I must purchase the ingredients, mix them together, heat them up for the proper amount of time, and only after all of that work do I get to enjoy my dessert. Goal-setting is a bit like this, although you have to write your own recipe for success. Do you have the skills to achieve what you hope to accomplish? If not, find a way to learn those skills. Do you know the right people? Do you have the tools to achieve your objectives? Devise an ingredients list that you need to solve your problems, and put these bits of data into action.
The people we tend to get most jealous of are the people that, we believe, have not earned their position. Knowing the right people will get you places, but often people work hard to get where they are. Set a plan for yourself that contextualizes the time it will take, the skills you will need, and the work that needs to be done. Success or failure is dependent largely on how well you follow your plan.