Setting Sales Goals: Why Keeping It Realistic Is The Key

Setting Sales Goals: Why Keeping It Realistic Is The Key

Avantika Mishra

Sales goals guide businesses toward success and increased profitability, but setting them isn't just about throwing numbers into the wind.

It's about strategically setting specified objectives and keeping all your sales ambitions grounded in reality.

While this may seem daunting, we're here to make the process a little easier for you.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore why setting sales goals is vital and provide actionable steps to help you set realistic and achievable ones.

Let's dive in!

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What are sales goals?

What are sales goals

Sales goals are specific targets a business sets out to achieve in terms of revenue or sales volume within a certain period, usually a month, quarter, or year.

These goals serve as benchmarks to measure the performance and success of sales efforts. They also provide clarity and direction, motivating your team to achieve common objectives.

Now, the game-changing element of setting effective sales goals is to find the sweet spot between intentionality and reality.

If your goals are not realistic or attainable, it may negatively affect your business outcomes and demotivate your team.

This is why it's crucial to set achievable goals that will give your team tangible targets to work towards, keep their morale high, and place your business on the path to success.

Some examples of realistic sales goals include:

  • Increase monthly sales revenue by 10% compared to the previous month.
  • Improve customer retention rate by 15% over the next year through enhanced customer service initiatives.
  • Acquire 15 new clients within the next six months.
  • Attain a 25% conversion rate on qualified leads generated through marketing efforts by the end of the year.
  • Increase customer lifetime value by 15% in one year by offering larger discounts.
  • Expand market share by 5% within the next fiscal year by targeting a new demographic segment.
  • Implement a referral incentive program to achieve a 10% increase in sales from referrals.
  • Increase the conversion rate on leads by 20% through improved follow-up strategies.
  • Increase win rate by 8% by the end of the year.

Setting sales goals: 8 tips for a successful plan

Let's provide eight tips to help you set realistic sales goals.

1. Decide the type of goal you want to set

This first step lets you clarify what you want to achieve and how you'll measure your success. It also enables you to set goals that match your business priorities.

Types of sales goals you can set include:

  • Stretch goals: These goals are ambitious targets that push you and your team to strive for exceptional performance beyond what is typically expected. While they may seem tough initially, stretch goals can inspire innovation, creativity, and growth within your organization. However, they must still be feasible to avoid reducing your team's morale.
  • Team goalsTeam goals unite everyone around shared targets and outcomes. These goals are essential for promoting collaboration, boosting morale, and ensuring everyone is on the same page.
  • Individual goals: These are specific targets set for each sales rep on your team. They should be personalized to fit each salesperson's capabilities and responsibilities, taking into account factors such as their experience level.
  • Annual goals: These goals will provide clear direction for your sales team (and your organization as a whole), guiding their efforts toward achieving a specific level of sales by the end of the year.

2. Make your goals SMART

Set sales goals: Make your goals SMART

Using the SMART framework to set your goals not only makes them practical and realistic but also ensures that they're measurable and well-defined.

Read more on what SMART goals are and how you can properly create them!

3. Adopt third-party economic and budget data for better forecasting

Depending on bottom-up roll-ups from sales reps and an intuition-based approach to arrive upon the right number might have worked in the glorious yesteryears.
But, considering how complex the business environment has become, you'll need a little bit more than that.

For one, you'll need to use third-party economic and budget data to produce more accurate sales forecasts.

By leveraging external data sources, such as industry reports, economic forecasts, and budget analyses, you can gain a deeper understanding of market trends, consumer behavior, and economic conditions that may impact sales performance.

This data will help you make more informed decisions and set goals based on a more accurate assessment of market conditions and potential challenges.

4. Start planning your annual goals early

Adjusting quotas, territories, and account assignments is disruptive and results in a slow start to the year.

This is why planning your annual goals in the beginning is important — it gives you a headstart and a yardstick to measure how you're doing as you progress through the year.

Not only does it help you remember the number you expect to achieve and act like a guiding number throughout the year, but it also comes in handy when making changes based on unforeseen circumstances.

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5. Foster competitive intelligence

Sales goals

Competitive intelligence is a process of smart research that serves as an essential tactic for finding out what your competitors are doing & planning ahead of time with the help of valuable data points.

Today, the need for competitive intelligence is greater than ever. Why? Well, it's become much easier for a new competitor to adjust marketing messaging, release new product features, or expand into new markets.

Thankfully, through automation, data proliferation, measurement tools, and more, businesses can effortlessly capture and analyze their competitors' movements and take action to get ahead.

6. Have a thoughtful POV that keeps human experience at its core

In today’s world of consumer content, it can be difficult to stand out. Many companies spend a lot of time and money developing content. But only a few truly understand how to connect with readers by developing a point of view (POV).

Setting sales goals

A creative, well thought out drafted POV is not a trend or gimmick. It makes the business more meaningful, and thus valuable.

A company’s POV is the way that a brand views the world and perceives certain situations. A strong POV that works gives a brand’s product personality, authenticity, and individuality, making it easier for customers to access the brand.

A few pointers to remember when drafting your POV:

  • Make it about the customer
  • Have an intention of tapping into the community
  • Avoid being combative
  • Work on its social assets and packaging with thoughtfulness
  • Be authentic

Setting sales goals that work requires thought, precision, and awareness. Keeping track of new sales trends is pivotal when devising a sales strategy.

Here are the three kinds of trends you should have mapped out before setting sales goals:

  • Macro trends

A macro trend is a long-term directional shift that affects large segments of the population globally. Examples include economic cycles, government policies, technology, etc.

  • Industry trends and leading indicators

Analyze your industry trends, keeping your leading indicators in mind. For example, if you're in the retail industry, a leading indicator may be the housing market and seeing if houses are being bought with discretionary funds. Increases in shipping and housing indicate things are moving and going back to normal. Try and apply thought patterns like these to the market you cater to.

  • Your company's trend

It's very productive to look within and analyze how your company's personality is growing along with its trends. Try to find your company's leading indicators, then compare them to your competitors using competitive intelligence. Talk to more people, use LinkedIn to build networks, and observe what behaviors are working.

Look at the accounts that make up 80% of your total revenue. See what's working for you, and plan your future moves with a balance of safe play and moderate risk-taking.

8. Solicit feedback

Another way to ensure effective sales goal-setting is to seek feedback. For example, your sales reps can offer valuable insights and highlight factors you might have overlooked.

Sometimes, their input can be even more informative than just looking at numbers. They might reveal potential challenges or barriers to success, such as regions where your product isn't resonating.

Armed with knowledge like this, you can easily make adjustments to your goals to make sure that they're indeed achievable.

How to achieve sales goals

How to achieve sales goals

Now that you know how to set realistic and attainable sales goals, what steps can you take to ensure that you achieve them?

Let's check out some of them:

1. Monitor and track progress

Keeping a close eye on the progress of your sales goals will keep you on track to achieving them.

By monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), you can identify trends, spot potential issues early on, and get real-time insights into what strategies are working and what needs adjustment.

There are many sales tools out there that provide comprehensive dashboards that allow you to measure how well your efforts are translating into results.

2. Plan for failure

Yes, you read that right. Anticipating potential obstacles and setbacks makes you better equipped to navigate these challenges effectively.

It's a proactive approach that allows your team to identify potential weaknesses in the sales process, refine their tactics, and adapt quickly when faced with issues rather than being caught off guard.

3. Improve your sales team's productivity

Before the prevalence of remote work, managers in an office environment could physically check on a team's progress. If there was a problem, they could quickly huddle with the team and discuss it.

With teams 'staying' remote, companies need permanent solutions/new ways of handling work dynamics.

While breathing on your team's neck on Slack is not ideal, we understand that sales teams need constant collaboration and exchange of workflow knowledge to get stuff done.

Here are a few tips to help you boost your team's productivity and empower them to work more effectively towards their goals:

4. Use

If you need a tool to keep you on top of your sales goals, you'll have a blast using Fireflies!

This AI-powered meeting tool accurately transcribes and keeps records of your sales meetings so you can easily keep track of all your goal-related discussions.

It provides a ton of features that you and your team can leverage to meet your sales targets faster. Let's check them out:

  • Automatically generates 90%+ accurate meeting transcripts that contain timestamps and speaker labels. Fireflies also transcribes meetings in over 60 languages.
  • Provides you with key meeting insights using Conversation Intelligence. With access to over 10 metrics, you can easily track your reps' performances & see how well your team is progressing with their goals.
  • Stores and organizes all your meetings in a centralized location, making it easier for you to reference and review your goals.
  • Lets you search your transcripts or past meetings and retrieve key information you may need to achieve your sales goals.
  • Gives you access to a GPT-4 powered bot, AskFred, that can answer questions about your meetings and help you follow up on your action items.
  • Allows you to create Soundbites (shareable audio snippets from your meeting recordings) and use Threads to leave feedback about goals and action items in your transcripts. This way, you can guide and collaborate with your team to ensure everyone stays on the same page.
  • Lets you organize key soundbites related to your goals into Playlists and share them with your team for quick reference.
  • Ensures your meetings are secure—Fireflies keeps all your data encrypted at rest and in transit and is SOC 2 Type IIHIPAA, and GDPR compliant.
💡 Document & Follow-Up On Your Sales Goals With Fireflies!

Fireflies generates accurate notes of your goal-setting conversations that you can collaborate on with your team, as well as provides crucial insights into your team's sales performance.

5. Invest in the right CRM

If you've not already, invest in a CRM solution that lets your teams automate tasks that don't need human hands to do them. There's a variety of CRM solutions out there that can significantly streamline your sales processes.

Fireflies integrates with 10 CRM software, including HubSpot and Salesforce, to automatically log your meetings and transcripts and automate data entry.

6. Evolve your management style

One way to ensure that your sales goals are realized is by evolving your management style to foster a supportive and adaptable environment for your team.

You can start by building stronger trust in your employees and giving them greater autonomy. Remember that workplaces that give their employees greater freedom to complete their work also experience greater job satisfaction.

7. Implement a Sales Enablement program

Sales enablement is a strategy for providing sales teams with the tools, resources, and information they need to effectively engage with customers and close deals.

It involves providing sales representatives with training, content, technology, and support to enable them to navigate the sales process more efficiently.

Implementing a sales enablement program can enhance your team's overall performance and keep them on track to achieving their sales goals.

8. Incentivize your team

This is an effective way to increase productivity and push everyone to perform their best, which ultimately leads to the achievement of your goals.

You can incentivize your team by offering rewards, bonuses, or recognition for reaching or surpassing targets.

You don't need to worry if you don't have the budget to offer a monetary incentive.

There are plenty of non-monetary rewards that can be just as effective in motivating your team.

For example, you can consider offering perks such as flexible work hours, extra days off, or the opportunity to work on special projects.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, setting realistic sales goals is crucial for any business that wants to remain competitive and achieve sustainable growth.

By following the strategies outlined in this guide and using a tool like Fireflies, you can easily set and achieve top-notch goals that will help you confidently reach your sales targets.

Try Fireflies for free