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Using Goal Setting to Improve Sales Performance

There are many small, tactical steps that we can take to improve sales performance.  One of those steps is to establish and incorporate goal setting.  There is the saying that you must know where you want to go in order to effectively get there.  Goal setting will help you to determine where you want to go and increase your probability of getting there.

There is a great acronym and method to use when goal setting and that is to create SMART goals.  Each letter explained below:

  • Specific (S): Each goal should be as specific as possible in terms of the area, task, or objective.  If the goal is fairly broad in terms of description and detail, break it down to make it more specific.
  • Measurable (M):  A goal should be measurable.  If it is not measurable in some way or another, it may be more difficult to track progress and know when completion occurs.  To help make the goal measurable, try to add quantifiable details if possible.
  • Attainable (A):  It can be helpful to set goals to pull us in a certain direction.  And it can be very productive, especially when trying to improve sales performance, that the goals make us stretch and get out of our comfort zone.  But if the goal is too far out of our reach and not viewed as being realistically achievable, then our focus and motivation toward the goal will be diminished.  As a result, try to make goals difficult, but still at an attainable level.
  • Relevant (R):  It can be very helpful when goal setting to make the goal relevant to the area of focus or task at hand.  For example, while trying to improve sales performance, we should lay out goals that are very related to that particular area.  In addition, if the goals are successfully completed, there should be a direct impact and correlation with the area that we are trying to improve.
  • Time (T):  One of the most important characteristics of effective goal setting is to have a time component in each goal.  By adding a factor of time, we can drastically impact the motivation, urgency, and accountability around the goal itself.  This is very important when setting goals to improve sales performance.



Shift from Long-term to Short-term
When working in a sales role, we usually have one fairly long-term goal that we are focused on and that is the sales quota for the year.  Even though a goal for the year is not really “long-term” in terms of the big picture, when working day in and day out in the trenches trying to improve sales performance, an annual quota is a fairly long-term goal.

With that being the case, it can help tremendously to break down long-term sales targets and goals into smaller ones.  Turn an annual quota into quarterly and monthly targets.   Create goals for the week and goals for the day in terms of calls made, meetings scheduled, quotes provided, etc.  By having goals that shorter in terms of time, we can be more effective with self-managing our motivation, focus, and progress toward our long-term goals.


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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales coaching helping sales professionals to stay focused and on track.

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This article was published on Saturday 23 April, 2011.
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