Setting SMART sales goals for 2019

When I spoke with a sales director of a Water Treatment business last week, he was surprisingly happier than I thought he was going to be. He had set his sales goals for the week, and on Friday afternoon at around 4pm his team had just closed one of the largest deals the business had ever done. Normally he’s quite stressed and limited for time – and wouldn’t mind me saying that I can tell what day he’s had before he says “hello”! But this time he was on top form!

He was saying that the board had set large targets for 2019 and that this deal should be the catalyst to get towards an impressive number.

It got me thinking about setting goals as we head into a new year. They are more work-related goals as opposed to personal (I think we all talk about going to the gym more!) – check out the types of goal you could be setting and how you can really over-achieve in 2019.

Setting sales goals – the background

If you only have one goal of hitting your sales target, then you could be missing out on other areas of improvement. Smaller and achievable goals – mixed in with large sales goals – will help sales people to build confidence through regular wins.

Plenty of research has been done into the value of setting goals. All goes should be written down as you are 50% more likely to achieve them than those without. Go one step further and send your goals to a friend or colleague and you’re even more likely to achieve them.

You can set team goals and individual goals – but the most important thing is to measure your sales goals!

Inner blog (5)Goal #1 – monthly sales goals

All your individual revenue goals should align to the team goals. The team’s revenue goals should then in turn align to the company’s annual revenue target.

Work backwards from your annual sales target to create your monthly sales goals – not forwards. Keep reviewing and account for any holidays or time off. You can then adjust your goals as you head into 2019.


Inner blog (6).pngGoal #2 – waterfall goals

Another way to phrase this is “ramp-up goals”. Whether you are joining a business or trying to establish a new skill – waterfall goals are an excellent way raising the bar – similar to the classic speech by Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday.

For example, if you have a new sales rep and you are looking to get them on the phone more – going from 100 calls to 200 calls is doubling their target and off-putting. Instead, look at 120 this week… 140 next week… 160… 180 and so on.

It still focuses on quality and not quantity and less burnout of your sales team.


Inner blog (7).pngGoal #3 – activity goals

This is certainly useful to anyone new to the sales industry, where you break down your end target into daily tasks. For example:

  • You need to hit £500,000 revenue
  • To get to £500k revenue, you need on average on 10 deals.
  • To get to 10 deals, you need 50 meetings.
  • To get to 50 meetings, you need 200 qualified calls.
  • To make 200 qualified calls, you need 400 prospects.
  • 400 prospects a year = 33 a month – which is to approach under 2 a day.
  • Working backwards will turn a massive goal into a manageable activity.

Inner blog (8).pngGoal #4 – incentivise goals

I am baffled when sales people are given woeful commission structures. Sales people by their very nature are money motivated for the large targets, but often miss out on incentives for the smaller activity goals. It doesn’t have to be huge amounts – a free beer, an hour off, some gym time. Anything to recognise that the smaller goals have been hit.


Inner blog (9)Goal #5 – stretch goals

There’s always one in your sales team who has hit target with 4 months to go. Or they landed a monster deal at the beginning of the year and have been over target for a while. If they’ve hit their original sales target, what do they have to keep motivating them?

Stretch targets are brilliant if you have a high performer. Take people from 120% to 140% with a generous but challenging offer. It may cost the business more in pay, but there is an extra 20% of revenue that wouldn’t have been achieved without an incentive.


What are your goals for 2019? Remember to measure your goals and if you want to land that huge deal that makes a whole year, get setting them sooner rather than later!