Working in sales & marketing, much of our professional career revolves around certain quotas, goals, and milestones that we have to achieve. In many instances, the quotas and milestones are already set by the company that we work for. Goals, on the other hand, are often set by us individually as a way to motivate us to surpass those quotas. Goal setting, when done properly, can be a fun and effective way to help you reach your sales milestones.
It can also be dangerous and anxiety-inducing if done incorrectly. Have you ever set a goal for yourself and quickly realized it was unattainable or way too difficult to achieve? If that was the case, you probably were unsuccessful in reaching your goal.
Goal setting is as important as anything else covered on this website. Some would make the argument that it’s the most important element of the sales process because that’s where it all realistically begins. Having a goal means that there is a “finish line.” Working towards a final goal is something that allows for us to measure our level of success. It’s a great motivator.
Setting smart goals is the first step to success in sales, marketing, business, or really anything in life. There are many different strategies for reaching your goals, such as the Snowball Method, but one of the best ways to actually set goals that I have found is to use the appropriately named S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Method of goal setting.
S – Specific
Sales and marketing goals should be specific – meaning that they should have a numerical value assigned to them. For example, “increasing sales for this quarter” is not specific. It’s vague and leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Instead of that, a specific goal should be quantifiable, such as “Increase sales by $60,000 over last quarter.”
M – Measurable
A measurable goal is important because unless we can measure our progress, we really have no way of telling if we are winning or losing. Using the previous example, if I want to increase my sales by $60,000 over last quarter, I can look at the previous quarter’s sales (let’s say they were $120,000) and calculate that I need to reach sales of $180,000 this quarter. That means that every month, I need to reach $60,000 in sales. Using that method, I will know if I am winning or losing at all times.
A – Assignable
In project management terms, a goal should be assigned to an individual or a division within a company. Working in sales or marketing, we all know that the buck starts and ends with us individually. We have to look ourselves in the mirror and understand that our successes and failures are up to us individually. Therefore, all goals should really be assigned to us. Only you can reach your sales goal.
R – Realistic
Having a realistic goal is important. If I set my goal for an increase of $200,000 over last quarter, that might be unrealistic within the bounds of my industry. It’s good to be confident in yourself and your abilities, but constantly setting goals that are unattainable will lead to psychological distress caused by constantly failing.
T – Time-Related
Set a time limit on your goals. Our hypothetical goal was to increase sales by $60,000 during this quarter. There is a fixed time limit on the goal. Once that time limit ends, it’s over. This will create a level of urgency for you to work harder to achieve the goal. For the past year, I have been writing my first sales book – Your Road Map to a Successful Sales Call. Before I typed the first word, I set a hard time limit on when I wanted the first draft to be completed. That time goal was immovable, no matter what happened in my personal or professional life. Thanks to that, I was able to finish the first draft ahead of schedule.
E – Evaluate Consistantly
Once you set your goal, evaluate your progress as time progresses. Adjust your performance accordingly. In the example we’ve been using, if you need $60,000 in sales each month, but you exceed that amount by $20,000 during your first month, you really only need $40,000 the next quarter to stay on pace. Evaluating your performance allows you to adjust accordingly, both for the better and the worse.
R – Reviewed
At the very end of your progress, review your goal. Was it attainable? Was it realistic? Did it meet every criterion that we presented here? Review your goal will help you make adjustments to your next goal. Also, review your performance. Could you have done something better? Did you fall in a rut? All these things are important to review when looking ahead at your next goal.
At the end of the day, those who set SMARTER goals will be the ones who not only attain them but consistently succeed.
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