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How to Set Effective Sales Goals (+Examples & Tips!)

Setting sales goals can help you grow your business and improve your company, but not all goals are created equal. While setting a goal is easy, choosing effective goals takes a deeper understanding.

Read on to learn about the different types of sales goals and how to set ones that fit your company best. Then subscribe to Revenue Weekly to get more sales statistics, tips, and more delivered right to your inbox!

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What are sales goals?

Sales goals are set objectives for your sales team. They typically center on specific key performance indicators (KPIs) or objectives and key results (OKRs) tied to overarching company goals. Your internal processes will determine who sets your sales goals — your company’s executive leadership, finance department, sales department, or a combination of the above.

Whoever sets them, it’s the sales team’s responsibility to turn a larger goal into achievable objectives.

Setting sales goals: Best practices

When setting sales goals, remember to:

  • Consider the company’s objectives: Sales goals should reflect your company’s larger ambitions. Review your mission statement and ensure the goals you set align with the company’s stated purpose and values.
  • Consult with marketing: You can see a 38% higher sales rate when your sales and marketing departments work as a team. Ensure that your sales goals align with your marketing department’s information.
  • Work with what you have: One of the most critical aspects of setting sales goals is ensuring they’re attainable. Ensure your goals align with your current technology, finances, and human resources.

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Types of sales goals with examples

While there are several types of sales goals, all sales goals should be SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and set within a defined time limit.

They may also be:

Check out these sales goals examples below:

Long-term vs. short-term

Long-term goals address a bigger picture for the sales team, the project, or the company as a whole. On the other hand, short-term goals and objectives are the milestones your team will meet as they work toward their long-term goals.

While long-term goals are important, it’s best to break them into smaller goals that your team can meet more quickly and consistently. Working toward a weekly or monthly milestone will help build confidence and productivity while progressing toward a larger goal.

Long-term and short-term sales goals examples

For example, your long-term goal might be to reduce your churn rate from 4% to 2%. To help achieve that, you might set a short-term goal of investing more time in requesting customer feedback.

Quantitative vs. qualitative

Qualitative goals are subjective, while quantitative goals are data-based. While it may seem as if it’s better to stick solely to numerical, data-driven objectives, both types of goals can be valuable.

If you look at your mission statement, you’ll probably find several examples of qualitative goals. These goals provide a direction for your company, while quantitative goals offer a path to get there.

Quantitative goals make excellent short-term objectives.

Quantitative and qualitative sales goals example

As you build toward reducing your churn rate, you might set a monthly quantitative objective for your sales team to invest 25% more time in pursuing feedback from your customers. You’ll need data on how much time they’re currently spending on this task to calculate how much more time they’ll need to commit.

While qualitative goals rarely correspond to a direct statistic, you can still find ways to measure them. For example, analytics for your direct traffic, social engagement, and website traffic numbers can help you measure changes in your brand awareness.

An example of a qualitative sales goal could be to increase your overall brand awareness and recognition to drive in more leads.

Outcome-oriented vs. process-oriented

Does your goal target what you’re aiming for or how you plan to get to it? Typically, your long-term goals will be outcome-oriented ones, while you set process-oriented goals for the short term.

You have to know where you’re headed before you can plan your path. As with qualitative and quantitative goals, you need both outcome and process-oriented goals to prepare for your business’s success.

Outcome and process-orientated sales goals examples

An example of an outcome-orientated sales goal could be to increase your sales by 30% by the new year. While, a process-orientated sales goal could be to increase your sales team’s productivity by 20% by the new year.

How to set effective sales goals

If you want to set a goal that increases your chance of success, you need one that’s relevant, attainable, measurable, and specific.

Here are four steps for how to set effective sales goals:

  1. Evaluate your sales cycle
  2. Establish what’s attainable
  3. Set milestone objectives
  4. Monitor your progress

1. Evaluate your sales cycle

When setting your sales goals, you need to know where you want to go, but it’s also essential to know where you are. The best way to understand your current position is with hard numbers in a sales cycle report, which is a type of a sales analysis report. Start by gathering sales cycle data, including cycle length, losses, closing ratio, and conversion rates.

Sales data in a graph

Once you have the data in front of you, examine what it’s telling you:

  • Which parts of your sales cycle are working well, and which need improvement?
  • What is your churn rate?
  • Where do most of your leads come from?
  • Are you losing more leads at a specific stage?

Investigating the answers your data gives you will help you develop ideas for sales goals relevant to your current situation.

2. Establish what’s attainable

Keep your expectations within attainable, realistic bounds. Once you know the areas to target with your goals, you’ll need to establish boundaries for setting realistic goals.

For example, if your goal is to increase your year-over-year (YoY) growth, you could start by reviewing your company’s historical growth rates. If you’ve historically grown 3% yearly, 20% growth is probably out of reach. Trying for 7%, on the other hand, presents an attainable challenge.

You should also investigate the growth potential in your current market. An expanding market will be able to sustain more growth than a saturated one.

Finally, be sure you have the resources you’ll need to reach your goals. Increasing your growth will require a sales team capable of handling higher expectations. You’ll also need to ensure you have the financial resources to fund any necessary changes.

3. Set milestone objectives

Set smaller objectives to help keep your goals specific and easily measurable. These objectives should outline the steps to improve the KPIs that fall under your larger goal.

Setting smaller, more easily reachable goals will give your sales department frequent small wins, helping to keep their morale and momentum up.

You can calculate your sales objectives in a few simple steps. For example, using the yearly growth goal above:

  1. Calculate how much revenue you need to generate to increase your growth rate by 4%.
  2. Calculate how much revenue you need to generate to pay salaries, production costs, and other mandatory expenses.
  3. Subtract your mandatory expenses from your projected revenue.
  4. Divide the remainder by 12 for monthly sales objectives, or four for quarterly milestones.

4. Monitor your progress

Be sure to track your progress as you work toward your goal. If you wait until you reach your goal’s deadline, you may miss opportunities to fine-tune and improve your approach.

Sales performance tracking graph

Establish regular checkpoints to evaluate your progress and make any necessary adjustments. Encourage your sales team to offer feedback for improvement.

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Develop and reach your sales goals with WebFX

Effective sales goals help you grow and improve your business through measured, actionable steps. They also require an in-depth understanding of your sales process and historical data.

If you need help sorting through that information, WebFX’s sales enablement consulting services can help. We’ll evaluate your current sales process and identify areas for improvement and help you level-up your sales tech stack so your team has all the tools you need to drive sales.

We can also provide custom reports on metrics like your leads, revenue, and transactions. Contact us online or call us at 888-601-5359 to learn more!

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