HARDISON’S TIPS – SEPTEMBER 8, 2021 – Out With the Old, In With the New2
Setting Goals in the ‘New Normal’
It’s never easy to set sales goals, and it only becomes more complicated during such uncertain times. That said, here are six steps to follow as you set goals that account for the “new normal” in sales:
1. Build Your Forecast From the Top and the Bottom
Most organizations “push down” the numbers they want to see from the top without understanding what the sales team thinks is possible from the bottom. When management and sales teams work together to create sales forecast numbers, though, the outcome is much better for everyone involved. Both parties can get a sense of what’s reasonable to expect and take more ownership of their part of the plan because both parties have had a seat at the table.
2. Be Specific About What You Want To Happen
How much revenue do you want? And from where do you want it? Decide how you want to hit your revenue goal, breaking down the overall mission into different “buckets” (e.g., customer type, customer vertical, product, and geography). This will make it possible to track progress more granularly and accurately, allowing you to identify holes and areas for improvement more easily.
3. Incentivize the Outcomes You Want
If you don’t encourage the exact performance you desire, it won’t happen. If you want to sell more of one product than another, pay a higher commission for that product. If you want to grow new customer sales, offer a higher commission for that type of customer. When your salespeople read their compensation plan, make sure they’re incentivized to sell what you want to be sold — in exactly the right proportion.
4. Map Your KPIs/Metrics To Your Desired Performance
How many proposals should go out in a specific time frame? How many meetings need to take place? What type of RFPs merit a response? It is one thing to set a revenue goal, but you need to focus your team on the individual tasks that it takes to get there. Focus on leading indicators (predictive metrics) that give you a sense of where you are headed before you reach that final destination. With lagging indicators (metrics of past performance), it is too late to do anything useful with the data.
5. Stay Aware and Ready To Adapt
As you track metrics, don’t be afraid to pivot when necessary. It’s a bit like following a map: You know you’re headed in the right direction when you see landmarks and milestones, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a shortcut when you find one. To reach your final destination, you have to stay the course, and being nimble along the way will only help you as you do exactly that.
6. Inspect What You Expect
Hold your team accountable. If you don’t show your team that sales goals are important to you, how can you expect anyone to understand the importance of those goals? By helping your team members understand their roles in the collective success of the company, you’ll empower them to work harder and smarter for the greater good.
Many businesses look for ways to get back to normal when a recession hits. But when it comes to the sales planning and forecasting, there is never really a circumstance that could (or should) be considered normal. When an external force changes, sales leaders must be ready to change along with it — that applies more than ever in this uncertain sales environment.