Using Sales Objectives to Increase Your Sales Team's Productivity
According to a 2017 study conducted by The Bridge Group, a sales team’s productivity is the #1 obstacle that businesses face and it has been that way for years. A lot of times, the blame can be shifted from the sales reps themselves and be placed on the sales managers who set the expectations and goals.
Without proper direction, it’s inevitable that your team will take a wrong turn at some point. Just like you need a GPS to get you around a new city, your sales team needs guidance to get to accomplish greatness. They need to have realistic, attainable goals to aim for. This is where you, the sales leader, come in to give them this direction and make sure your productivity is always where it needs to be.
Why is it important to set goals?
The most important thing about setting goals for your sales team is giving them something to shoot for and achieve. The feeling of accomplishment, and the incentivization for realizing that accomplishment, is what drives sales reps to perform. Sales reps have the need to be successful in what they do. Everyone has an ego, but a good sales rep uses their ego to drive their sales success. If these reps aren’t accomplishing what’s put in front of them, they see this as an unacceptable failure and it will be a shot to their ego.
So setting goals is actually putting structure in place for your team. No one is going to want to fall short of their goals for the sake of their ego (and their paycheck). Goal setting is a way of developing a foundation for consistency. Give your team something to work for and take the procrastination factor out of the equation.
What are sales objectives?
Sales objectives relate directly to the goals you’ve set for your team. They exist as a supplement to these goals, providing an outline for specific sales actions each rep must take to accomplish the goals for the team.
Some examples of sales objectives include:
- Win rate
- Profit margins
- Customer retention
- Churn rate
As sales leaders, you will be responsible for setting both the goals and the objectives attached to the goals for your team. In order for them to be truly effective though, they need to be rooted in realistic expectations. This is where SMART goals come into play.
Smart goals provide benchmarks that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. They should align with the realistic expectations you have as a sales team and as a business.
Specific: Accountability and direction are key to effective sales. Having specific goals in place that really nail down what you’re trying to accomplish gives your team an unmistakable target to aim for.
Measurable: How difficult would it be to really gauge the success of your team’s sales efforts without hard numbers to reference? Use measurable targets to outline your goals. For example, you want to generate more leads next quarter. How many leads is enough? what should your team be ultimately shooting for?
Attainable: These next two points are similar. The goals you set for your team should not create a feeling of hopelessness for your reps. They should feel as if they have the capability of reaching the goals put in front of them.
Realistic: If you’re running a startup company you probably shouldn’t be setting your initial expectations to rival those of Microsoft’s. Set goals that are realistic for your team. Maybe your initial goal should be to convert 5 leads into customers within the month, rather than expecting 30 new customers in that short timeframe.
Timely: In order to provide your team direction, there has to be a timetable that they should stick to. Otherwise, procrastination will inevitably creep into the equation. Setting deadlines for goals and objectives will create the structure you need for increased productivity.
Examples of sales team goals
Depending on your business, the specific goals you set for your sales team will look different to the business down the street. However, there are some overarching sales goals that every business would benefit from adding to their team’s expectations.
Leads are what generate the buzz and eventual business to your company. By setting a goal of acquiring more leads, the likelihood of your team closing more deals increases. It ensures that your pipeline is constantly being replenished and will give you more opportunity to increase other areas of your sales efforts
For each individual rep, consider setting sales objectives like the amount of time per day each rep is prospecting and finding relevant and quality leads for the sales machine.
Cycle time refers to the amount of time it takes for your team to move leads through the pipeline and close deals for the company. By setting goals and providing realistic expectations for your team to cut down on cycle time, it provides a sense of urgency needed to land more customers.
For each individual rep, consider setting sales objectives that focus more on establishing automated efforts. Have each rep reduce their cycle time by a certain amount through the use of automated emails.
This particular sales indicator gives you a look into just how successful both your team is at generating revenue as well as individual sales reps. The higher the win rate, the more money you’re bringing in to your company’s pipeline.
For each individual rep, consider setting sales objectives like increasing win rate percentage from 2% to 5% through the first quarter.
Tips for setting sales teams goals
In order to set the right goals for your team, you need access to the right information. Information that is relevant will give you a firm grasp on what is working for your team and what isn’t. By having the relevant information, you’re going to be able to set SMART goals for your team.
At SalesTalk, we provide our clients with our What2Know™ module that gives you access to the most pertinent information for your sales efforts. It allows you to really dive into what’s working for your team, and gives insight to individual reps on why peers might be performing better in any given area. In your situation as a sales leader, seeing this information gives you the ability to set goals that will provide relevant and attainable goals for everyone involved.
Evaluate your sales team
You want to be able to measure your team’s success with real numbers. That way, you aren’t speaking in generalities that may or may not be true, you are speaking based off of tangible statistics. By seeing exactly how each member performs in lead generation for example, allows you to make the necessary changes and reward those who are achieving the best results.
Sales is a results driven field. Without results, there is no money coming in. By evaluating your team with the right information you can determine what the issues are. It’s not always the team’s fault, it can also be the sales process that you’ve put in place. Have an open mind when going through the evaluation process and be honest in whether or not your particular strategies are ones that work for your business.
Give constructive feedback
Part of evaluating your team’s success, or lack thereof, is providing the necessary feedback. If your team isn’t aware of their shortcomings, no changes can actually be made. Keep your team in the loop with how their performances are stacking up with your expectations. Check in with them on a regular basis and provide feedback, both positive or negative. Each rep needs to understand their strengths just as much as their weaknesses.
Reward goals met
No one likes to feel like they worked their butts off, achieved the goals put in front of them, and got nothing to show for it. It’s important to show even the weakest members of the team some acknowledgement. Rewarding your team creates motivation for selling more.
Too many bonus and incentive structures acknowledge only the best sales reps. Create ways to incentivize the continued learning from the reps who aren’t performing at top-tier. If they are pushed to learn, they will inevitably start to improve the way they sell.
Track and analyze sales activities to set the right goals for your team
SalesTalk Technologies is all about getting the best tools into your hands to create the best results for your team. Setting goals and providing you with the information you need to set the most effective goals is no exception to this. Through our sales enablement technology package, we give you and your team what they need, when they need it so that everyone involved in the sales machine is confident and competent in every sales interaction.
Reach out to SalesTalk today and request a demo so that you and your team can produce more results.