Sales is not magic. In every sophisticated work, there are best practices. These are the proven behaviors that the best in that profession exhibit. By focusing on the best practices and methodically embedding them into your routines, you can dramatically improve your results. — Dave
Best Practice #28: Sets annual specific, measurable goals for sales performance.
The best salespeople are habitual goal–setters. There's a good reason for that. When you set a goal, you survey the world of all possible things that you could possibly do, and decide which of those things are the most important. You then turn that decision into a goal. And that goal then influences your day–to–day, week–to–week, and month–to–month decisions.
I've often maintained that a field salesperson has a set of decisions to make, over and over in the course of every single day. Those decisions are these:
Who to see? What to do? Where to go?
The ability to consistently make these decisions effectively will, more than any other single thing, impact that person's productivity and eventual success as a salesperson.
When you create a handful of specific, measurable sales goals, you develop a set of criteria which help you make those all important decisions more effectively.
For example, let's say that one of your sales goals is: To penetrate my "A" accounts more fully by selling each at least two more categories of product.
It's Tuesday morning, and you have a number of conflicting demands on your time. You have a "C" customer who has a problem and has asked for you to visit to help them solve the problem. You have a quote to prepare for a bid request by a "B" prospect. You have a list of materials that you need to pick up at the office. You'd really like to have a conversation with your boss about the competition's action in one of your accounts. And you have the opportunity to discuss one of your categories of product with an "A" account. You can't possibly do all this today. What do you do? Who do you see? Where do you go?
Refer back to your sales goal. There, you identified the most important things that you can do, and committed to them in a written goal statement. The answer, then, is a no–brainer. You go to the "A" account and have the new category discussion.
Too many salespeople see sales goals as arbitrary and sometimes unrealistic expectations. That ignores the incredible power of a sales goal to influence and direct our daily decisions about the investment of our time.
To dig deeper into this issue, see Ten Secrets of Time Management for Salespeople, and visit www.salestimemanagement.com for a variety of resources.