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How to Set and Achieve Ambitious Sales Goals

Jul 29, 2022
4 min read
Knowing how to set sales goals (and achieve them regularly) is a critical part of overall sales success for companies in every industry. It starts with smart leadership and trickles down to every level of sales employee at your organization — from execs to managers to individual reps.

Companies that set the right sales goals for their teams experience higher productivity and engagement, increased revenue, and faster growth than their competitors who don’t do it as effectively.

Read on to explore the impact of setting the right sales goals, plus 6 proven ways to level-up your company’s ability to do it.

Quick Takeaways

  • More than 70% of sales leaders report that sales goals heavily impact individual sales performance.
  • Data-driven decision making increases sales goal accuracy and enables you to adjust in real time.
  • Setting monthly and even weekly sales goals creates momentum built on small wins.
  • Continuous feedback empowers sales reps to hit goals through collaboration with management and regular performance improvement.

Sales Goals and Sales Rep Performance: How Do They Relate?

One of the reasons sales goals are so critical to overall sales success is their direct impact on individual rep performance. One recent survey of sales experts across industries found that 71% reported sales goals heavily impact individual performance on their teams.

The way sales goals impact performance, however, can go two ways. Companies that know how to set sales goals effectively can use them to motivate sales teams and achieve at a high level. On the other hand, those that fail to prioritize sales goals and/or set poor ones may experience the opposite effect — frustration, underperformance, and an inability to reach sales goals consistently.

Fortunately, there are proven tactics you can use to be sure your sales goals rarely miss the mark. In the next section, we’ll walk through 6 actionable ways to set and achieve ambitious sales goals at your organization.

How to Set and Achieve Ambitious Sales Targets

Align Individual and Company Goals

Gallup reports that highly engaged teams can help companies achieve 20% higher sales revenue and 21% greater overall profitability than those with unengaged teams. Engaged employees are more present and productive in their work, attuned to customer needs, and in compliance with established processes, systems, and best practices at their organizations.

A significant driver of this type of employee engagement is alignment between individual goals and larger company business objectives.

Motivate reps to perform by having sales managers set individualized goals (based on past performance and experience) that align with company goals. Then, regularly demonstrate how individual achievements have a larger impact on organizational success.

Be Data-Driven

Data is one of the most powerful tools companies have in their arsenal to make smarter decisions and fuel business growth. In sales, data powers more accurate forecasting and enables companies to set sales goals that are both ambitious and achievable.

Data also offers a clear competitive advantage to companies that can leverage it effectively. Recent research shows that while 91% of businesses know that data-driven decision making is important to their business, only 57% report actually using data to make decisions.

To optimize your data-driven decision making related to sales, implement a RevOps approach that streamlines systems, centralizes data, and creates a single source of truth. Use tools like adaptive forecasting software that can account for many potential scenarios and help you adjust goals in real time when unexpected factors arise.

Aim for Hyper Visibility at Every Level

Data-driven decision making should not be reserved for sales management and C-suite executives. Reps can make smarter decisions every day when data visibility is implemented at all levels — decisions that make them more likely to hit their sales goals consistently.

For example, sales reps with access to an accurate CRM system can see exactly where every one of their leads sits in the pipeline. They can make better strategic decisions related to individual prospects and, over time, identify trends related to their own performance (like leads falling off at the same place in the sales process).

They can also clearly see their progress toward sales goals, motivating them to perform on a daily basis.

Build on Small Wins

Annual sales goals are necessary, but they can also feel a long way off for sales reps immersed in their work day-to-day. Set your teams up for success by setting smaller goals along the way, like monthly (or even weekly) sales goals. These incremental goals keep focus on the end goal while building momentum with small wins along the way.

Provide Continuous Feedback to Sales Reps

Continuous feedback requires a systematic process by which sales reps receive feedback from managers and can openly discuss successes and challenges. Continuous feedback can flip the switch on performance evaluation, making it feel less critical and more collaborative between sales reps and managers.

When it comes to hitting sales goals, the benefits of continuous feedback are manifold. Sales reps who receive regular constructive feedback are more engaged and productive. They can openly share challenges and receive guidance when needed to improve performance. They are held accountable in a consistent and positive way, increasing motivation to succeed and the likelihood that they feel valued in their organization.

Amplify Success

Nothing motivates future success more than current success. To keep employees motivated and working toward sales goals, meaningfully recognize every success along the way. This could mean team rewards for hitting monthly sales goals, awards for top performers each week, or a public recognition of teams and individuals that reach certain priority goals.

The takeaway: don’t let success go unnoticed. Positive recognition for hitting sales goals is an effective way to keep people accountable and motivate them to perform. It also builds a shared culture of success when team goals are met and celebrated together.

Over to You

Setting and achieving ambitious sales goals requires the right tools to power success. Xactly’s Intelligent Revenue Platform supports salespeople with precise plans, better incentives, and data-informed insights to give them more confidence in their pipeline.

Contact us today to learn more or schedule a demo!

Kelly Arellano, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Xactly
Xactly News Team

Led by Editor-In-Chief, Kelly Arellano, The Xactly News Team reports on the latest products, events, and market trends taking place within Xactly and throughout the revenue intelligence industry.