When planning your sales goals, you might choose to improve your growth strategies. But, growth expectations from sales don't often align with what teams can deliver.
Usually, most projections of growth for a company are tied to market growth. Only a smaller section depends on efficiency and competitiveness.
Setting goals is difficult without clarity as to when the pandemic and its effects will subside. This is because it is harder to predict market trends with such uncertainty.
Sales leaders must balance between not underestimating potentials and refraining from being over-optimistic. Here's how to go about it.
Why 2020 Was an 'Unreal' Year for Business?
2020 has seen many changes in the world. Due to this, a significant part of the workforce has shifted to remote work.
In addition, many companies have had to shut down permanently, furlough, or lay off employees. All the while, not too many business ideas have cropped up to ensure gainful employment and bring life back to the economy.
Most sales leaders have missed targets during 2020.
But, after an unprecedented year, sales leaders will be looking to set up successful goals.
Top Tips To Set Realistic Sales Goals
Review Past Sales Data
There are many instances in time where we learned that history tends to repeat itself.
Review and analyze your past sales data. There should be daily, weekly, and monthly sales reports. These will help you understand how your company has fared at different times. Check to see what strategies you used during periods reflecting higher sales. Attempt to incorporate these again or make modifications based on successful models.
Take a Look at Your Competitors
Most business professionals agree that in a data-driven environment, competitive research is extremely vital.
Part of your job is knowing your competitors better than they know themselves. Conducting proper research will tell you what they’re doing, and give you an idea of whether their tactics pose a threat to your success.
Before you start analyzing competitors, pick the right ones to study.
Know where to search for data and which aspects of their business you should analyze. Finally, learn to use these insights to improve your own business.
After finishing, you should strive to be different from your competition. But, use this qualitative and quantitative data to set proper sales goals.
Analyze Your Sales Trends
Analyzing sales trends is a must. Start with macro trends, where you see long-term shifts in direction. Changes in economic and environmental policies, alterations in technology, or government directives can have an impact on trends.
Next, you must analyze industry trends. For example, in commercial industries, an increase in shipping indicates there are more purchases.
Now take a look at your company's sales.
If there are special events like 'fire sales', try to look beyond those. Check to see how many clients are staying and whether any are leaving; ask that all-important “why” in both cases.
Having a proper sales process in place and utilizing the right software for your company and industry can help you get a better grip on your data and how you're analyzing it. This is because the software provides feedback and information on sales figures.
Gauge Your Sales Capacity
Since the pandemic has affected many companies in terms of employment, you have to take a realistic look at your capacity.
Your team's capacity hinges on estimating the total revenue each salesperson can generate. Levels vary based on their position in the team, what they're selling, and territories.
Once you set capacity goals, it will help figure out how many sales the team can handle. Sometimes, you might need more people to achieve top sales goals. Adding extra teams, like sales support, can reduce the workload of current salespeople.
Make sure your organization has access to third-party technology for all aspects of the business from onboarding to CRM to route planning.
Using the right technology can do so much for your business if leveraged correctly. Badger Maps is a favorite app for many in outside sales, as it does so much more than just route planning. It allows you to generate leads, manage your customer information, and optimize routes with 100+ stops. By streamlining the entire sales process, people who use Badger Maps save 8 hours a week in driving time and sell 22% more.
Combine these great sales tips with the best field sales app
Engage all Stakeholders in the Planning Process
Sales leaders should encourage collaborations from stakeholders across many functions.
Involving stakeholders early on allows them to contribute more effectively. You want to ensure you make as many of the functions transparent from beginning to end as well.
However, stakeholders and top leaders can be unrealistic in setting sales goals. But, if they're involved in strategizing, they'll know ground realities better. Thus, targets can be set as such.
Complete predictability is impossible, so companies must be adaptable.
This comes with a greater degree of innovation as well. Strong planning helps teams get close, but the market might still have a few surprises in store.
Try using proposal software to reach out to prospects. Think of client benefits while providing services and products. And always check the data before taking calculated risks when strategizing.
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Get SMART (Specific/Measurable/Attainable/Realistic/Timely)
When teams set general goals they're often set to fail.
SMART goals can help get direction by being achievable and specific. Your aims can be measurable, timely, and realistic.
You should know the beginning and end dates for targets. These should be relevant to company growth and not impossible to meet. Specific criteria should measure your progress towards reaching such targets. For this, leaders need to make goals clear.
Once you've set sales goals for the year, move on to making quarterly goals.
These smaller milestones you achieve during your journey will help you stay on track and allow for more thoroughness during the process.
Remember to analyze past data for indicators of success, study your competition, analyze sales trends at different levels, gauge your sales capacity, leverage the right technology for your company and industry, and engage stakeholders when possible and appropriate. Additionally, you’ll want to remain flexible, no matter how solid your plan is, and get SMART with your goals.
Growth is all about trying to predict change to be ahead of the trends and adaptable to unpredictable scenarios.
Your goals will be best-guess scenarios. But, following the steps outlined above, you can streamline the process and reach the desired results.