You’ve probably heard someone call themselves goal-oriented (maybe you’ve even said it yourself). But what does that really mean?
To be successful in sales, many skills needed are usually soft, personality-type skills, but the targets are distinctly grounded in the numbers.
In a managerial role, it’s easy to get overly focused on meeting year-end or quarter-end goals. But effectiveness on your team isn’t just about hitting numbers. It’s about setting quantifiable goals for productivity, working with each individual teammate on their independent battles, and working with your team’s specific needs based on the type of sales you are doing and the personality types on your team.
Let’s take a look at three areas to focus on as you lock in your goals for 2019.
Be Specific and Impact-Driven
When sales activity kicks up, it’s easy to get down deep in the weeds and forget about the larger goals of your company. But by focusing on such specific goals, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.
Try targeting narrow, specific goals, like: “Contact 20 new prospects each week,” or “Tell six existing account each month about the new service offering.”
You’ll likely have different goals for each member of your team depending on their experience level, their abilities, or individual learning curves. By doing this, you’ll need to evaluate each team member on slightly different criteria. But setting out expectations that are easily quantifiable and relevant to the position goes a long way in making the overall goal-setting exercise more inclusive.
Additionally, making specific goals helps your employee learn about the direct impact his or her everyday actions have on the company’s ongoing success. In the “Contact 20 new prospects” example above, explain to the employee that by making the connection with the prospect and recording the results of the conversation in the company’s customer relationship management system helps the company get a better, more accurate picture of who the ideal customer is.
Help Employees Anticipate Challenges To Set Goals
In sales, some days you get the bear. Other days, the bear gets you. No day is like another, and things will eventually go wrong.
As a manager, part of your job is to help smooth the way and fix problems. But goal-setting can be a great avenue for anticipating roadblocks with your employees, and get them working on how they might solve problems as they arise.
“What might you do if Mrs. Smith contacted you upset that her order hasn't shipped on time?” Use goal setting sessions to explore those those potential challenges and provide some coaching on how the employee could work through the situation. Once you’ve done that, you can make successful resolutions of issues a quantifiable part of that employee’s goals for the quarter or year.
Ask Them What They Want
As managers, it’s easy to forget how powerful it can be to just ask an employee what they’re after. You have your own way of meeting goals, but let’s be honest: there’s no way that everyone who ever works under you will be motivated by the same measures of success that you are.
While there are limits, of course, to this approach, you may be surprised at the answers that you get when you ask this question:
“What are your measures of success within this position?”
The resulting conversation can be tremendously helpful in helping you better understand what is most motivating for your team member. It’s also an opportunity for you to go more in depth on the “Whys” behind your company’s long-term goals, and how meeting shorter-term benchmarks helps those come about.
With these insights, you can tailor an individual goal around that employee’s desire to grow, change, refine, and so-on. The resulting stack of goals, mixed with company performance measures and the employee’s more personal ones, becomes a compelling set of benchmarks with the employee’s buy-in built in.
To be clear, using an organized approach to goal setting provides your team with a structured framework for success. No one’s suggesting that you should throw aside sales volume or account growth as measuring sticks.
But introducing some additional wrinkles into your goal setting gives your employees the room to grow on their own without too much supervision from you on a day-to-day basis. Continue to set overall initiatives, and involve your team by talking about what’s driving the goals your department sets. But don’t forget to do some one-on-one follow-up to work out together the best way to get the goal setting right for them.
Neha Tandon is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com. She has a Masters of Arts degree in Journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. With a background in marketing, public relations, and advertising, her true passion is for business journalism.