Strrrretchhhh Sales

3 Nov

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So you have a sales goal. As a manager, do you regularly set a stretch goal? As a salesperson, do you have an objective you aim for beyond your expected mark? It’s time to have three different numbers that your team is discussing.

Sales Managers

Goals aren’t rocket science. Hopefully your business has already put the work into realistic sales projections. Now, it’s just managing to it over the course of a quarter tied back to activities and the sales funnel. I personally like to have three separate numbers.

1 – The primary sales goal. This is what we need to accomplish to earn commissions and move the needle forward this month and quarter. Is there enough in the pipeline to realistically hit the sales and gross margin numbers? Are you hitting this mark on a regular basis? Do you as the manager believe in the plan?

2 – The fallback position. We don’t like to talk about this one, but halfway through a month or quarter, this may be the one you need to discuss. I call this the save-your-jobs-goal. What is break even? What is acceptable in a down period? You still need to have a measuring stick to pump people up as the current sales goal appears to be losing its luster. We don’t want to be talking about this goal very often but there are objectives that simply define whether your salespeople should even be employed with your business – and everyone needs to understand those minimum expectations.

3 – The stretch goal. And this is the one that we all want to be talking about. Rather than giving everyone an extra “atta-boy” when you are on pace for the primary sales mark, what is the extra 5% or 10% going to do for your business? Wouldn’t it be great to get ahead so that you have some wiggle room later in the year? Does everyone know the stretch goal? Are there rewards for hitting it? For example, your salespeople could move from 5% commissions to 7.5% for everything they sell over the primary sales goal. Maybe incentivize them with an extra day off? Or offer a $500 bonus or weekend trip for surpassing the primary sales goal? I know of one business that allows their salespeople to take off the rest of the month when they exceed their personal plan by 10%. Why not encourage above and beyond?

Salespeople

I would look at these marks in the same light. For example, if your goal this quarter is to hit $250K, what are the ramifications if you hit $200K? Is your job secure if you miss the primary mark two or even three consecutive quarters? Do you have a personal goal that pushes you beyond that mark? Is there an extra reward for doing so? Even if your company doesn’t offer an increase in commission or other reward, it’s time to set your own stretch plan. Maybe it’s time to reward yourself with that new toy you’ve been hoping to buy when you hit $300K this quarter?

I’m certainly oversimplifying some of this. The primary sales goal is often too high or too low – so first off, you have to have confidence in history, average output per salesperson, territories, pipelines and the state of the economy so that the primary mark is realistic and achievable. If that is the case, it’s time to start focusing on the fallback and stretch goals simultaneously. If they don’t exist, create them. You’ll usually be surprised by what people are able to accomplish!

If interested in a complimentary copy of my sales eBook, click here: Sales Neutrinos or request a PDF directly from me at drew@blueoctopusllc.com. 

Forward, never straight,

Drew Schmitz

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

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