Industry MBO Examples to Kickstart Your Sales Team Engagement

Nov 05, 2018
5 min read
Strong goals ensure sales organizations are on the right track. Use these MBO examples to learn how to use objectives to to increase sales performance.

Consider this: you set goals for your sales reps and send them on their way to start closing deals. How often do you check-in on the progress of those goals? More often than not, the answer is at the end of the quarter or period. Management by Objectives (MBOs) are individual goals that improve overall sales performance. To help increase your employee engagement, here are some industry MBO examples to kickstart your objective planning.

How MBOs Affect Sales Team Engagement and Motivation

MBO programs, especially ones that are automated, can be an extremely useful tool in addition to your sales commission structure. As part of your compensation plan, MBOs give each rep individual goals to strengthen the overall sales organization. And, they can have a big impact on sales team engagement and motivation.

Sales team engagement and morale has a huge impact on quota attainment and sales performance. With the average quota attainment in 2017 being 55%, it's crucial to keep reps motivated. Many things can impact team morale, such as your territory design or poor management. However, sometimes an extra incentive can be the boost your team needs.

MBO Examples to Motivate Reps and Drive Performance

Use the MBO examples to help visualize how your goals and objectives might differ by industry and role. As always these goals should be specific to your company culture and each individual rep's talents. You should also note that your compensation and commission plans should follow this same rule (or what we call the ABCs of comp planning).

Ultimately, these examples demonstrate how successful companies go through the process of making achievable goals alongside their reps for the entire sales organization—and not against them.

Software Sales MBOs

There’s no question cloud computing is growing fast, and is extremely competitive. Thus, customers expect immediacy and perfection, and that their providers are up to date with the absolute latest and greatest. As a result, you might see a traditional organizational goal for those in software sales stated as something like “Sell 1,000 units of new product.” Fair enough.

Now, think about it. As a manager, if you stopped right there, what percent chance of success would you put on your people achieving that goal? With such a general statement, how could you know? Where do you even begin other than giving the directive to “sell more”?

In an MBO program, the organizational goal is translated into a personalized objective, and attached to the MBO bonus—which can only happen when manager and employee collaborate and set the goal together. During such a discussion, you’ll probably talk about what needs to happen first in order to enable the team to sell the new product.

One action item could be that reps need to learn about the new product themselves in order to pitch it. Another might be letting existing accounts know the new product has launched, and so on. Each of your goals should answer the following questions:

  • Which specific accounts should reps be educating?
  • How many accounts should reps educate?
  • Why is educating accounts on the new product important?
  • What is the deadline for educating the accounts? Are there different goal stages?

After all of that, you might be left with a personal objective of: “Educate ten tier-one accounts on new product by 9/30/16 and another ten by 10/31/16 to help increase awareness, and next quarter sales.” In reward for meeting that goal, the rep might be compensated $3,000, or maybe even $1,500 for completing the first half, and $1,500 for the second.

How does this goal stack up against commonly-held MBO principles?

  • Have you translated an organizational goal to an employee objective? Yes.
  • Is the goal specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive? Yes.
  • Did the employee participate in setting the goal? Yes.

As you can see, an MBO program is more than a manager setting goals for their employees. It is manager and employee working together to break those goals down into smaller objectives. Automated systems give employees visibility into how their related compensation might be impacted for meeting or missing goals—encouraging and motivating successful behavior in real-time.

Online Marketing MBOs

An MBO program is a great tool for driving the behavior of non-sales-related activities, too. For instance, those in digital or online marketing are tasked with something along the lines of increasing site traffic, conversions, etc. A broader organizational goal in this regard could be something like “Increase brand authority and become an industry influencer.”

Putting that goal in MBO form could look like:

Joe Smith; Q3 2016; Target: $3,000
Goal: Publish 30 blogs that demonstrate our authority/status as industry leader by 10/31/16:

  • Brainstorm list of 50 blog topic possibilities by 8/15/16 (10%, $300)
  • Schedule 30 blog topics by 8/31/16 (10%, $300)
  • Publish 15 Blog Posts by 9/31/16 (40%, $1,200)
  • Publish 15 Blog Posts by 10/31/16 (40%, $1,200

Engineering MBOs

A successful MBO system requires you really understand the scope of employee responsibilities, and which goals will positively impact the company the most. For an engineer, maybe it’s something around attaining X hours of personal development each quarter (to support the organizational goal of staying on the cutting edge of the industry), or finding and correcting 10 product bugs (to support the organizational goal of providing a flawless user experience).

However, whatever your goal, think about rewarding the right behavior. For example, pay for bugs If you’re paying by bugs found and fixed, bugs will be found and fixed—no matter how significant or resource-intensive those bugs might be. Employees go to great lengths to achieve bonus compensation, which is great when you’re rewarding the right behavior, but detrimental if not thought through completely.

Hi-Tech Manufacturing MBOs

Thanks to complex buying cycles and manufacturing processes, success here depends on leveraging data for the identification of new opportunities, and then mobilizing teams to meet new market and technology demands. MBO examples might center around international OSHA laws, return management, productivity improvement, or employee training.

In addition, many business leaders are utilizing automated MBO solutions as tools to reach goals like surveying sustainable manufacturing—motivating, and rewarding their teams to produce less waste and emit fewer greenhouse gases during manufacturing.

Pharmaceutical Sales

Talk about a juggling act—regulation, generic competition, constraints of costs, health care reform, and more are all challenges those in pharmaceuticals need to overcome. Measurable goals for pharmaceutical sales can cover a wide span of activities. For example, you could set MBOs for:

  • appointments set each month
  • doctors talked to each week
  • quantity of product sold within a given time period

Employee performance management software can assist in mitigating the risk of losing critical data about events and documents, while allowing you to easily follow the audit trail.

Moving Beyond MBO Examples & Taking Action

As all of these MBO examples show, the visibility an automated solution provides allows managers to easily see how well employees are performing. Additionally, MBOs give employees a simple way to see how their objectives are tied to their bonuses. It helps boost morale and motivates reps year round, which has a significant impact on performance and company culture.

  • Incentive Compensation
  • Sales Coaching and Motivation
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The Xactly News Team reports on the latest product, events and market trends taking place within Xactly and throughout the revenue intelligence industry.