How To Set Realistic (But Ambitious) B2B Sales Targets
Whether you're a new start-up or you've been in the game for a while, sales targets can cause difficulties. Often they're too ambitious, ending up as pie in the sky and causing friction as workers struggle valiantly to meet them, or they may be too low, so that they fail to motivate your team to their full productive potential. Here's how to ensure that your sales targets stay realistic to your means but ambitious enough to deliver prosperity.
Do Your Research
Where do your sales targets figures come from? It's essential that they are produced from solid research based on objective performance data. You should be able to explain exactly why you have settled on your numbers. There are several data streams you can examine, the first being prior sales performance – although don’t be handcuffed by past sales performance. You can also benchmark performance against similar competitors or products, look at demand variations by season and across demographics, and assess the productivity of your current team.
Consider Your Sales Team
Sales require salespeople, whether this is you and/or your fellow directors, a dedicated in-house sales, or an agency who assists in making sales on your behalf. Therefore, the process of setting targets needs to take the skills, resources and capabilities of your team into account. There are a number of metrics you must consider.
Start by looking at the average performance of your sales team, in terms of number of sales, average value of each sale, conversion rate, and cost per sale. This will let you know how they're doing at present, and will identify training needs and areas you are under resourced. Bear in mind that any new targets will be putting pressure on them. An overly ambitious target could just be impossible to fulfill.
There's more to consider than just performance, though. Consider what each member of your sales team may be potentially able to achieve, given the right support network, time and training – e.g. with the backup of a professional marketing and sales agency! The formula for optimum productivity may be a complex mixture of experience, level of training (and future training plans), seniority, skill set, and more.
Look At Your Resources
Even an ultra-efficient and experienced sales person, working on their own or with insufficient marketing resources, will struggle to seal many deals. You could have the best sales team in the world - but if they don't have the resources they need, you may never hit your targets.
Review your website, case studies, brochures and leaflets, and other marketing materials. Ensure that you're getting the most out of them, and refresh them if necessary.
Break Down Your Targets
Lofty targets may look good on paper - but they'll be far more achievable if they are broken down, step by step. Divide the sales process into steps or milestones. These steps can then become metrics you can measure in their own right, to address failures and make micro-adjustments mid-campaign.
For an effective breakdown, you'll need to take into account how long, on average, the sales process takes. This could be days, weeks or months depending on your industry and the outlay involved in each purchase. Optimising your sales process involves considering how many productive hours each member of your sales team has in the average week, month, or year, and how each person contributes to increasing revenue.
Working With An Agency To Make More Sales
Working closely with a business development partner like JDR, you should be able to develop better, more ambitious, and more achievable sales targets. Not only will they be more realistic, they will also be more detailed and understandable.
Going forward, this will allow you to have a deeper look at your company's processes. You can see if, for example, your team are reaching a certain point in the sales journey but failing to follow through. This will allow you to more effectively identify problems to be solved.
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