Setting objectives is one of the most important aspects of sales performance management. But it is also a challenging task. How can it be made easier?Continue reading
For sales team managers, setting objectives is one of the most important aspects of performance management. Unless your team has the right objectives, they cannot deliver exactly what the business needs at the right standard. But setting objectives can be a challenging process and it's one that newer managers, in particular, can struggle with. In this guide, we'll look at sales team objectives and the value of the SMART process.
SMART is a management acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound. The model is used widely across all types of business because it's incredibly intuitive, easy to use and practical. What's more, it provides the necessary rigour and focus that any kind of objective setting requires to be useful.
SMART is easy to apply and it guides managers through everything they need to factor in to make an objective viable for business value. To apply it, write down an objective and then apply the SMART test to see if your objective is ready to be put into action. For example:
Get this process right and you can become far more successful at setting goals for your team, and for yourself, that are clear and valuable, providing motivation, focus, a clear priority and a sense of direction.
There are plenty of different ways to measure business, team and individual goals. The business will often define the accepted approach as part of a broader management reporting framework. Managers will pick an appropriate measure that assesses progress and achievement. The desired endpoint might be a target or a threshold, for example. Typical measures could be:
When a manager notices that a goal is off-track, his or her objective is to manage it back on track, within parameters of acceptability. These bands must be defined along with the ultimate desired goal. For example, many businesses use RAG (red, amber, green) to assess whether a particular goal is on-track, falling behind or ahead of the goal. These parameters of acceptability must be set as part of the objective definition, in order to be measured.
If an objective falls behind and is off-track, the manager must investigate the underlying reasons for the lack of achievement. This could be because:
Once the cause has been located, the manager can put remedial measures in place. These could include activities such as training, more budget, additional resources or a team reallocation of work. It's important for managers to discuss each objective with the assigned team member to find out their views and perspectives on why performance has fallen behind. Often the root cause may not be immediately apparent.
Managers will usually use tools to manage their objectives. Modern businesses use cloud-deployed systems such as Salessound to integrate the entire sales management process including people, ideas, objectives, snapshots, sales reports and insights. Salessound puts everything that managers need into an integrated, holistic and real-time system that is available anywhere and at any time, thanks to its cloud hosting model.