The importance of well-defined sales targets for growth

What’s the first thought when it comes to establishing sales targets? Your first instinct is probably to say ‘I want to increase sales’. Well, who doesn’t?

But having such a vague goal is more likely to achieve the opposite. Without a clear, well-defined target, there is no way to make measured progress. And without assessing your progress, you can’t tell if your strategy is working.

This can cause your sales team to lose momentum and engagement, resulting in an eventual decline in sales. It’s essential to set clear sales performance goals that give your team tangible targets to shoot for.

Following the SMART system

The SMART system is a simple way to summarise every element of your performance goals. By spelling it out this way, your sales team will find it much easier to get the results you need. Here is what SMART means:

S – Specific

A goal can only be achieved if it is precisely nailed down. A goal to ‘increase sales’ doesn’t even say by how much. You need to set a clear number to give your team something specific to shoot for – for example, ‘we need to increase sales by 20%’.

M – Measurable

Making your targets measurable means having a quantifiable outcome. What level of revenue do you aim to bring in each month and year? Making this measurable allows you to track your progress and assess whether you are on target.

A – Attainable

A goal is attainable when you possess the capacity to achieve it. You’ll need to consider factors like skills, staff numbers and motivation. Plan how all these factors will impact your potential, and optimise them for best results.

R – Realistic

This step focuses on the practical ability of an organisation to achieve a goal. Setting unrealistic targets doesn’t motivate people; in fact, it can be demoralising. Make sure your targets are achievable, or your staff will wonder why they should even bother at all.

T – Timely

You can’t have open-ended goals, or you’ll never know when they have been achieved. Designate a specific timeframe for every goal, accommodating intervals to check progress and redefine targets along the way.

An example of a SMART goal could be: ‘In 12 months, we will have increased our sales volume by 30%, reaching a 15% increase over the next 6 months.’ You get tangible results by focusing on achievable things, so create sales goals that fit the bill.