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Setting targets for sales staff

Setting sales targets helps you measure how effective each member of your sales team is. They reveal your opportunities to develop and reward your team and keep them improving. Setting unrealistic targets can have a negative impact on your business in several ways, including demotivating your sales staff.

Involve your sales team

Remember, your sales staff know your product and understand how it performs in your market. Involve them in gathering information, reviewing sales and setting sales goals. The more involvement your team has in setting sales targets, the keener they'll be to reach them.

Bring your team together to consider these questions.

  • Who currently buys this product?
  • How many do they buy per year?
  • Which customers are most likely to keep buying from you?
  • Which customers are most likely to increase their orders and how can you persuade them to buy more?
  • Which customers do you think will decrease their orders and why?
  • Are there any customers you might lose and why?
  • How many new customers do you need in order to maintain existing sales and reach your sales target?
  • What are your sales patterns throughout the year? Are they seasonal or related to a business cycle?

Motivate your sales team

To encourage your team to meet their targets, offer them incentives such as movie passes, theatre tickets or end-of-month bonuses.

Develop your sales team

Use your sales target reviews to identify staff training or development needs.

Give your staff specific targets

When you're setting sales targets, it's important to support your sales plan and sales team with specific targets.

Break down targets by customer. For example:

  • new customers — identifying targets for customers you'll bring in who have never bought from you before
  • existing customers — identifying targets for product or service enhancements you'll sell (up-sell) to your existing customers
  • past customers — identifying targets you'll set to encourage past customers to return.

Break down targets by activity. For example:

  • new contacts — showing you how effective your sales team is in making new contacts with people who could become customers
  • leads generated — showing you how effective your sales team is in generating interest from new potential customers
  • new leads converted — showing you how effective your sales team is in converting potential customers into customers
  • customer contacts — showing you how effective your sales team is in maintaining and building interactions with your existing customers.

Indicate the number of phone calls and face-to-face meetings your sales team should make each day or week to meet their targets.

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