A sales professional’s job performance is perhaps the easiest to track with data. Salespeople have three options: either hit quota, miss quota, or surpass quota or goals. Everything these professionals do can be calculated into percentages and averages. So, when these daily tasks appear to be a “plug and chug” formula, why do some teammates fall behind?
Of course there are external reasons, life has a funny way of disrupting plans. Those reasons should be handled with the correct combination of empathy and assertion. There are also internal reasons for employees to be missing their goals.
1. S.M.A.R.T. Goals
While setting goals may seem like the easiest step, it is frequently done incorrectly. Goals can be set too ambitiously or too low, and both will have a negative effect on your sales team.
Ambitious goals are a great way to motivate and push team members forward, but may become dangerous if they are set too high. This can cause employees to feel like the goal is unattainable if it is pushing them too hard. If the goal is actually too high and not realistic, employees might begin to feel inadequate for the job, thus decreasing job satisfaction and performance.
Goals that are set too low cause their own set of problems as well. Employees will begin to regularly surpass these goals by significant amounts. Once this occurs, some salespeople will begin to slack and purposely do the bare minimum. These goals aren’t challenging or empowering. If set too low, there is little reward for hitting or surpassing goals.
So how do we set the correct quotas?
S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. If you or your employees’ goals do not fit each of these characteristics, they might be worth looking into. When a sales team is consistently missing or exceeding their quotas, their goals might not be S.M.A.R.T..
2. Defining Goals and Objectives
Every manager is different. Some managers want to know exactly what you’re doing everyday, yet others are satisfied with a weekly summary. While both of these styles are effective, managers should be more curious about the type of activities taking place. Some managers believe that the team should be responsible for getting each other to meet, or surpass, goals that pertain specifically to work. We believe that these weekly numbers should satisfy personal and professional goals.
Here is why. When management is figuring out what motivates each individual salesperson, they are using personal goals to trigger sales. Salespeople can be motivated to make enough money for a dream vacation, to buy that spicy new car, to lose X amount of pounds, etc. Why not tie incremental steps to meeting these goals into their weekly behavior?
Now that Johnny Sales is tracking how much money he has set aside for the vacation of a lifetime, he can see daily, weekly, and monthly improvements, or setbacks, and will be motivated to keep dialing. Susie Sales is tracking the same thing, but she has her eyes set on a new Porsche. These two teammates can sit down at their weekly meeting and visualize how close they are to their motivators.
Allowing employees to set personal goals and report on them, makes it possible for them to tie their paycheck to what makes them happy. Setting goals that are S.M.A.R.T. empowers salespeople. They will feel the reward of meeting their goals and the excitement of exceeding them.