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Quick Tip: Budgets, Targets and Goals...

Over my career I have had the opportunity to guide some amazing individuals to success with this one theory of setting individuals goals.

Knowing that performance in sales is always calculated in some form of math equation based on quota. I knew to succeed I would have to better the numbers so I developed Budgets, Targets and Goals. These guidelines were designed to keep me ahead of the game and pack. We all are aware that nearing the end of the year, every year, new quotas are released. These are based on historical success, available product and are typically increased year over year. Manufacturers had them down to retailers and our management handed our quotas to us. Hitting quota was the key to security, both financial and with employment. We were there to do a job, complete it to the expectations set, and if we did receive compensation for the delivering necessary results. If we failed in any way we would jeopardize our positions therefore I split mine into budgets, targets and goals.

As a highly competitive person, especially in the Sales Industry I knew that I would be not only competing against the best the industry had to offer but also against myself. I treated it like a game, be it golf, baseball, hockey or any other sport where statistics mattered. In golf measured statistics like handicap, driving distance, fairways hit, greens in regulation, putts, etc. determine success and ares for improvement. In sales, I looked at similar stats and set personal key performance indicators, encounters/opportunities, task completions, offers, conversions, deliveries, margins, and customer value. This information was easily tracked from our CRM and when placed in a spreadsheet it allowed me to see a balance sheet of how well I was doing, where it was trending and how I would need to pivot to achieve my budgets, targets and goals.

The first, Budget, was easy. This was the expected or anticipated number set by my employer. Most sales situations will dictate that target numbers are set in advance for a calendar year and good managers will set these disclose these to allow the teams to plan on achievement. Hitting these numbers would be essential to retain security in my employment. I never wanted to fall below this number as at that point I would be coming from behind regardless of where I stood from previous months effort as it it often said in sales, "you are only as good as your last month's numbers" meaning everyone is always looking to the future not the past. I know, this is not fair as everyone can have a bad month and I agree, however, if we look forward and disregard previous accomplishments as success we will remain hungry and more proactive to conversion of new business. Start tracking your achievements versus the quotas. Are you hitting Budget? Look back at the last three months, where is it trending and are you moving in that direction? Are you positive or negative to the trend? This is going to be your main indicator to how you are performing against your peers.

With Targets, this is a personal measurement unlike Budgets as they are set by others. In golf, the individual who designed the course sets the par. Each hole a designated number of shots it takes to complete based on a skill set. You might be playing a Par 5, the designer says five shots is what it should take to finish the hole (Quota/Budget) however you individually have set yourself a Target of four, thus potentially improving your score versus the anticipated. In Sales, I always instructed my team to have an individual target higher than their Budgets. Better yet I asked them to only look to their Budgets as fall back positions only as required by the initial setting of the quotas. If they focused and planned on hitting Targets then Budgets would be thought of only as a secondary lower number. Once implemented most achieved this on a regular basis. However, remember setting to lofty of a Target will lead to failure and multiple failures result in negativity so manage this number accordingly, like golf only look for a small improvement over the standard, 10% rounded up to the next number.

Lofty numbers are Goals and again like Targets are personal measurements. These are the numbers when all the planets align and every other factor is in your favour puts you in a position where you just can't miss. Like a Hole in One, everyone has the ability of hitting one, some more often than others however difficult it may be it is still achievable. So set your Goals so that they are hard to duplicate but still remain within reach. If your Budget is 15 units, your Target might be 17 (10% rounded up), then your Goal should be 19 (10% over Target rounded up), achievable but much higher than they anticipated/expected Budget. Each month have a plan to get there. How did you achieve your performance from the previous month? Will you have to increase your opportunities or improve on your conversions? Knowing this information will get you to your goals faster and on a more repeatable basis. This will be key to developing a disciplined process and training regimen.

If you follow this, hitting quotas will never be a thought as you will be looking to achieve Targets or better. This will lead to increased compensation and most sales positions have a stepped payplan for those over-achieve meaning this will be exponential. Better yet, if you take this overpayment and invest in yourself I guarantee that hitting your Targets and Goals will become commonplace only to allow you to increase your numbers not just year over year but month over month. Think of it as a compound interest on your career development.

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