5 Things To Avoid When Setting Sales Goals

Written by: Will Brooks

Great Sales Leaders

Sales success is ultimately based on achieving a set of pre-determined sales goals or objectives within a prescribed time frame.

The most successful sales leaders understand that they and their salespeople must jointly work together when setting sales goals that salespeople will be committed to achieving.

Old school sales leaders have a tendency to tell salespeople what they are supposed to do when setting sales goals. They mandate quotas, sales targets or goals. The result? Salespeople never emotionally buy into assigned targets, there is no psychological ownership of them and it becomes difficult to ensure commitment to those activities that will eventually lead to their successful accomplishment.

On the other hand, progressive sales leaders ensure that salespeople are legitimately excited, buy into and are totally committed to achieving those things the salespeople, themselves, have committed to do.

5 Things To Avoid When Setting Sales Goals

In order to accomplish this, there are several potential landmines that must be avoided at all costs. They are:

  • Don’t give someone an automatic increase in sales goals based on their previous year’s performance. Their territory, marketplace or product may not support an increase. Be realistic.
  • Don’t give across the board sales increases for the entire sales team when setting sales goals. Take a look at the skill sets, product offerings, abilities and seasoning of each individual team member to assign an achievable target.
  • When setting sales goals, don’t assign quotas without a salesperson’s input. This is important. Adults don’t deny their own data, so to have the rep’s input on a sales target (with you making the ultimate decision), you’ve gotten psychological ownership on the part of the rep.
  • Don’t believe that someone will perform optimally if something is not their idea – including a sales quota. When built correctly, a sales rep’s stretch target will require a lot of work. Getting their input when developing this number will remove the excuse that “my stretch goal just isn’t achievable.”
  • Never fail to provide regular, consistent short-term feedback relative to long-term sales results. By the end of the quarter or the end of the year, it’s too late. Break down the target you need each rep to hit into bite-sized chunks.

Great salespeople will work day and night to meet or exceed what they have committed publicly to doing, so take this into account when setting sales goals.


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Written By

Will Brooks

As the CEO of The Brooks Group, Will draws on his leadership, marketing, sales, sales management, and operational experience to help develop and execute the company’s overall growth strategy. Having been in the human capital development industry his entire career, helping organizations reach their full potential through transformational change is a part of Will’s DNA. By putting his name on every single engagement, Will assumes a personal commitment to the success of every client.

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