How Managers Can Set Smarter Sales Goals Using Data

Setting sales goals can be challenging, especially with the adaptation of the “new normal.” And it’s not surprising. Given the multiple tools, sources, and data available to help you define the sales goals, these goals are often set solely based on the past numbers and achievements. However, setting the sales goals without considering the supportive data can lead to firing arrows in the dark.

To truly set smarter sales goals, you will need to understand the company’s overall long-term goals, your ideal customer, and the channels you are using. If you’re not in alignment then your reps could be chasing terrible, unprofitable, high-churning deals in an attempt to reach the goal. This can have significant consequences on the overall credibility of your company if you’re selling to companies that are not a good fit.

Another important element is to keep the numbers achievable and encouraging. If reps believe their sales goals are unjustifiable and not feasible, they will get frustrated and potentially leave your company for other opportunities.

Yes, you want to smash your sales goals and aim for greater results. However without a solid roadmap outlining how to accomplish a specific set of targets, your team is unlikely to hit their goals. So, setting up smart sales goals is as crucial as generating revenue.

Here, we are not just talking about the S.M.A,R,T, sales goal acronym. We are going to dive deeper and understand how to set up smarter sales goals in five steps for your sales team.

1. Getting Started

To set goals for your sales team, you need to learn how to get there first.

Giving the team a quota without considering a plan of action to hit the target is unfair and unhelpful. Although it’s crucial to challenge the team, you need to be practical and strategic. Tell them the revenue expectation and plan how you will push them with a little guidance about where they should focus to get to their target.

Once the foundation is ready, you have a clear direction for setting up the sales goals.

2. Use Past Data to Decide Future Goals

Working backward from the company’s annual sales plan gives you a reasonable view of the actions expected to achieve the desired outcome and lets you decide what is feasible.

Let’s do some fast math with a sales rep’s goal-setting example:

Look at a team member’s previous success to see how many calls, emails, or sales meetings they normally need to close the deal.

  • Let’s say they need 10 calls to make a deal.
  • Let’s also say their close rate on opportunities is 10%.
  • Now, measure how many calls they need to make to reach their target.
  • If you want each individual to close 50 deals this year, they need 500 opportunities and 5,000 total calls.
  • Cutting it down to smaller targets means an average of 400-420 calls per month or 100-120 calls per week.

Taking the time to break down the math with your team will help them better understand how what you’re asking for is in their best interest and not an arbitrary number pulled from the void.

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3. Break Down Targets into Smaller Chunks

Sales is a field where you cannot control the results. However, you can control the actions and the inputs to keep the team on track.

Setting results-oriented sales targets can be counterproductive to your team and your bottom line. Instead of asking your rep what they need to close 50 deals this year to reach the quota — tell them they have a goal of 100 calls this week. There’s nothing more overwhelming or stressful than feeling off balance, so inspire the team to take command of their actions.

Setting attainable goals that the sales team can influence is key to improving confidence, enthusiasm and trust. This will also help keep the reps on track throughout the year and help you monitor their action and process more efficiently.

4. Prepare for Roadblocks

Meticulous preparation means looking at what you already have in place to accomplish your goal as well as the gaps and barriers to its success.

Unfortunately, roadblocks are an unavoidable part of the gig for sales managers.

Developing a realistic strategy to deal with challenges places you in a strong position for quick troubleshooting. You may not always have the time to create a comprehensive solution, but you can use this procedure to come up with a hot fix:

  • Start identifying key obstacles to progress.
  • Taking a look at the team: do they have the right expertise, talents, and processes in order to reach their targets?
  • Is the team well-resourced?
  • Do you have a good view of the industry, appetite for your commodity, and competitiveness?
  • Recognize the main possible hurdles, both internal and external, and create a plan to overcome them in order to place yourself in a position of power.

5. Develop Support and Structure

Setting and tracking these revenue expectations with the staff is not enough to produce success. Here’s where the coaching skills of you as a sales manager really comes into play.

Base your expectations on the steps you will do to inspire the sales staff to break their targets.

Put the right structure in place to promote easy pipeline management, efficient sales and make this the highest priority.

Above all, create reliable data and valuable insights about your prospects for your team. This gives you the best chance as a manager to set realistic and achievable targets.

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Setting the Right Sales Target Using Data

Using past data to set the new sales goals is a proven practice. Using additional information such as firmographic and technographic data points to identify target segments helps you to set targets with a more focused approach.

Smart sales managers go a step further and use buyer intent data to come up with more realistic sales goals.

The situation in the market will keep changing for your reps – as may your product or service, and the demand for it. As a result, there are times when sales goals are not met or are under defined due to the situations that are out of your hands. For example, EdTech product demand has risen due to the pandemic as most of the schools and colleges were asked to conduct classes virtually.

Understanding the intent of your prospects not only helps you to set smart sales goals, but it also helps you to adjust the short-term goals of your sales team, build a predictive sales funnel, and keep your sales team motivated to focus on low hanging fruits to achieve their sales goals.

The process of collecting the technographic and firmographic data is tedious, and you will need to use external resources to collect buyer Intent Data. SalesIntel has all these data points merged in a single B2B data platform with a user-friendly interface where you can find the data you want in a few seconds.

If you want to know how you can find and utilize the data like a pro, schedule a SalesIntel demo to set smarter, more accurate, realistic, and motivating sales goals.