The role of a sales team is to sell. The sales manager is responsible for creating, advancing, and managing the people, processes, and systems for their team to be successful. While this job routinely requires setting goals for the team, sales managers must set goals for themselves as well. These goals focus on personal development improvements and bettering the sales team through leadership.
In this article, we provide tips on creating sales goals and discuss 11 goals you can implement for yourself and your sales team.
How to Create Sales Goals as a Sales Manager
Sales goals are often specific. They usually center on your key performance indicators (KPIs). Examples of sales goals include increasing customer retention (the number of first-time customers that turn into repeat buyers) or decreasing customer churn (the percentage of customers that stopped using your company’s product or service during a specific time frame).
Sales manager goals, however, are broad. At their core, they improve the habits and skills of sales managers and their sales team. This improvement reflects a company’s success in meeting its KPIs. Instead of setting a goal that your team will increase sales, a manager might focus on improving processes or data application — two goals that will boost sales.
To create and monitor sales goals, managers must develop a strategic plan. When you evaluate how to create sales goals as a sales manager, ask the following questions:
- What did your business look like last year?
- What does the market look like?
- Who are your buyers?
- Who is on your team?
- What resources exist?
The answers to these questions develop your strategy and identify your company goals. Through this process, it’s typical for KPI-related goals to arise. As a sales manager, you must take these specific goals and transform them into broader ones. It will help with the overall improvement of your sales team.
How to Make Your Sales Goals SMART
Once you establish your business strategy and goals, you can tackle how to create sales goals as a sales manager. In business, your sales goals should be SMART — an effective tool for setting and measuring goals. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound.
Consider the goal: I want to make the Dean’s List this semester with a 3.5 GPA. Although this is a great goal, it’s not SMART. Let’s analyze it against this tool.
There is no specificity in this goal. How will you achieve it? Will it require studying more? Should you ask your professors for extra credit? Do you need to drop a class to lighten your workload? Your goal needs to be more specific to make the process clearer. Instead of making the Dean’s List, you can change your goal to say, “I want to become a better test-taker.”
When setting your goal, it should be measurable. How will you measure your success? It means you will have to assign a number to your goal. A 3.5 GPA is equivalent to a B+ average or 87% to 89%. To focus on achieving it, you can alter your previous statement to say, “I want to get at least an 89% on all of my tests.”
In the next step to evaluating your goals, you need to ensure that they are attainable. If you average 81% on your tests, getting an 89% might be unattainable at this time. You might find you need to tweak your goal. Increasing your average by 9% could be impossible, so you might decide to adjust this number to 85% and work towards increasing this percentage each semester.
You want to make sure your goal is relevant. Will it lead you in the right direction? In the case of getting on the Dean’s List, the answer is yes. Becoming a better test taker will positively impact your GPA and bring you closer to your original goal.
Lastly, SMART goals need to be time-bound. In this example, the goal happens during a semester. It helps track how much progress occurs during this time. With most semesters being four months, you can set smaller milestones that lead to your goals. If your goal is to raise your test average from 81% to 85%, you can adjust your statement to say, “I want to become a better test-taker and increase my average by 1% each month.”
1. Improve the sales process.
While your team is busy focusing on making sales, your job as the manager is to focus on the sales process. Where are you experiencing success? Where are there obstacles? It requires more than speaking with the sales team. It’s also necessary to analyze your data and hear feedback from customers. Your data could tell you that you’re losing customers during the check-out process. Getting feedback from customers would tell you why.
Once a sales manager can create a picture of what is and isn’t working in the sales process, they can focus on improvement. Implementing changes to improve the process will help the sales team and the company.
2. Create training and education opportunities.
For employees to feel fulfilled in their roles, it’s critical to make them feel valued. They want to know that management and the company care about their progress. Create training and education opportunities for your employees. It’s a sign of a great sales manager.
Providing those opportunities is also a significant way to retain employees. Once they master a skill set, it’s easy for a sales team to become listless and unmotivated. Training them can keep them engaged. The sales team’s new skills will also help their performance meet company goals.
3. Improve your communication skills.
Communication is an irreplaceable part of any job, but it’s an exceedingly necessary skill for management positions. As a sales manager, improving your communication skills affects you and your sales team. It’s your responsibility to deliver information like sales strategies and targets.
You might have to inform employees of new incentives for high-performing team members. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to connect with your team on their successes and areas of improvement. Improving your communication skills is essential to ensuring the entire sales team is on the same page.
4. Give constructive feedback.
A common task for a sales manager is to provide feedback to their team. A goal for a sales manager is to improve their ability at giving this information. You can’t just tell your team to “do better.”
Constructive feedback needs to be specific and actionable. It’s also not an opportunity to put your employees down. While you focus on areas of improvement, be sure to celebrate their successes. Performance reviews, whether monthly, quarterly, or annually, are often a time of dread for employees. Sales managers can alleviate this feeling in their team by working on constructive ways to give feedback.
5. Improve data collection and application.
Sales teams rely on data. What’s working? What isn’t working? The best way to analyze and implement this information is by looking at your key performance indicators. A goal for a sales manager is to make sure your sales process is efficient at collecting and applying its sales data.
It could start with identifying a connection between sales processes, KPIs, and data assets. Working on this goal might also include testing new programs for the best data software, prioritizing and ranking the importance of KPIs, and creating a system for applying this information.
6. Become a better mentor.
Becoming a better mentor to your sales team is a testament to your leadership and management skills. To create a connection with your employees, form one-on-one relationships to better understand their individual needs.
Doing this will provide a few benefits. Employees are more likely to respond and take feedback from someone they view as an advisor. Additionally, becoming a better mentor and developing a connection with employees gives you an idea of what information to pass on to your team to ensure their success.
This goal helps breed a positive work environment between sales teams and their managers.
7. Identify future leaders.
A goal for many sales managers is to identify employees they feel would make excellent leaders in the company. These are the employees that managers choose to promote.
To identify promising individuals, you might look at employees who require little to no direction from supervisors yet manage to retain high success rates. You might look at employees who take the initiative. In combination with being a better mentor, being able to promote employees who you’ve guided in their success is a reflection of your success as an effective sales manager.
8. Increase team motivation.
When employees do the same thing every day, it’s easy for tasks to feel monotonous. As a sales manager, a goal should be to keep your team’s motivation high. It helps employees stay productive. While some of the goals on this list — creating training opportunities and becoming a better mentor — can help with this, there are other ways to focus on motivating your team.
You can offer employee rewards and incentives. Redesigning the workspace to appear brighter and more functional can positively affect temperament. The offer of flexible scheduling can also drive your team towards more motivation. Ultimately, increasing your team’s motivation leads to making them more productive.
9. Build stronger interdepartmental relationships.
It’s rare for a sales team to work entirely within their department. Establishing connections with customer service, marketing, and IT teams are common. A sales manager’s goal could be to build stronger relationships with these departments.
For information to flow freely and efficiently, there needs to be an open line of communication. Your role could include testing out new tools for communication or creating social opportunities for the departments to meet and cultivate relationships.
10. Implement long-term goal planning.
As a sales manager, you must look further than short-term objectives. Implementing plans for long-term goals could be a plan of yours. A short-term goal might be to increase sales by 10% over the next month. A long-term goal could be a 25% sales increase from each employee over the next year. This goal will take time to execute, but it’s the sales manager’s responsibility to make sure it’s in place and worked on.
11. Improve onboarding processes.
One of the first experiences a new staff member has on a team is onboarding. It sets the tone for the new hire as they acclimate themselves to their new role and the company culture. As the company changes, it’s necessary to set a goal of regularly improving the onboarding process.
If you’ve recently implemented Slack to communicate within the team, you might find that moving your welcome message from email to Slack generates more responses. In your work as a manager, you might also conclude that letting new employees train or shadow more than one employee helps them settle into their sales style more quickly. Consistently monitoring and improving this process will strengthen your sales team overall.
The goal is improvement.
Improvement is at the center of each goal a sales manager sets. The focus is either on bettering yourself and the sales team or implementing changes to better the entire company.
Depending on the overall strategy and objectives of your company, your goals will change. As you work to develop and implement them, just ensure they are SMART.