If your reps only have one goal — meeting their quota — they’re selling themselves short (literally). Hold your reps accountable to smaller weekly or monthly goals, and you’ll increase the likelihood they’ll meet their bigger number.
Smaller goals let your reps build confidence with incremental wins. They also help track your reps’ progress toward larger goals, giving you more time to work with struggling reps.
A Dominican University study found setting specific goals increases motivation beyond simply telling yourself, “I’ll just do my best.” The study ultimately reported professionals who stuck to a goal-oriented plan performed better than those who didn’t. What would improved performance from each of your reps look like for you?
Below, find out how to set sales goals on an individual and team level. It might seem like a lot of work, but the result is motivated salespeople who have the support they need to succeed.
How to Set Sales Goals
- Calculate your monthly sales goal.
- Set waterfall goals.
- Sequence goals.
- Set activity goals.
- Incentivize goal attainment.
- Monitor goal progression.
- Set stretch goals.
- Suggest mentor goals.
- Create a collective goal.
1. Calculate your monthly sales goal.
If you’re setting personal sales goals or team goals, they should align with annual sales goals. Figure your monthly sales goal by working backward from your company’s annual revenue target. Once that target is defined, calculate how much your department, teams, and individual reps need to sell to meet that goal.
Be sure to take seasonal or staffing fluctuations into account. If you’re onboarding three new salespeople this fall, it may be hard to meet aggressive goals during Q4, as staff may be tied up in training those employees. However, because you’ve planned for this, you can adjust goals and push harder in Q3.
You should pull it all together in a sales goal chart, like the one below.
Monthly Sales Goal Example: “Sell $100,000 worth of product by the first day of each month.”
This monthly sales goal is easy to understand — but don’t let it stagnate your team. If you keep the same number every month, it’ll be easy to plateau and fall out of pace with overarching revenue goals. You can increase this number every month, or keep it the same until your team meets it and exceeds it.
Remember to work backward from the companies’ annual revenue target. Be sure to bring in any higher-ups who want to have a say on the monthly sales figures they’d like to see from your team.
2. Set waterfall goals.
The waterfall goal system is when a team works linearly toward a set end goal. This approach is better for morale because missing goals can increase fear and squash motivation. The waterfall approach also produces higher quality work and better numbers. Your team won’t experience burnout from the increase in work, and you’ll give them time to ramp up quality.
Waterfall Sales Goal Example: “Add $3,000 more revenue in Q2, $4,000 in Q3, and $5,000 in Q4.”
Get each of your reps contributing $5,000 more per month than their current averages by ramping them up over the course of the year. Waterfall goals are fantastic for keeping team morale high and for being more flexible. If, for instance, one of your reps falls just slightly behind, while another exceeds expectations, you can adjust their individual numbers accordingly.
3. Sequence goals.
This is another way of saying “prioritize your goals.” Determine which goals bring the highest value when hit, and make sure your reps are meeting those first.
If you’re sequencing goals for a junior sales rep, set goals around where they can improve.
Sequencing means even if your reps don’t meet every goal, they’ll meet the ones that matter most to your company’s bottom line or their professional growth.
Sequence Sales Goal Example: “Set up X product demonstrations per week/day.”
For a rep who struggles with product demonstrations, set a goal of giving a team member a demonstration once a day, then twice a week, to sharpen their skills.
If a rep struggles to move discovery conversations to the next phase, make a goal for them to set up three demonstrations per week, then four, then one a day.
4. Set activity goals.
An activity goal is a behavioral objective for salespeople. These activities can generate cash flow, opportunities, and generate visibility depending on the task assignment.
Activity Sales Goal Example: “Share one sales article per week.”
Does your rep need to be more visible within your organization? Set a goal of having them share one article per week on your team Slack channel or internal communication portal. Or ask them to contribute one article per quarter to your company's blog.
5. Incentivize goal attainment.
Incentivizing goal attainment is a way to give your team more motivation at different levels of achievement. Receiving bonuses, getting variable compensation, and even keeping their job are all incentives for reps to meet their quota.
Incentivized Sales Goal Example: “Hit a retention number greater than X%.”
If your reps are easily closing new business, but that business churns three months in, that’s not good. Set goals that incentivize reps to close only quality leads that are a match for your business. For example, you might give a cash bonus to every rep hitting quota whose retention number is higher than a specific percentage.
Don’t have the budget to offer a monetary incentive? No problem. Position company-wide recognition or extra vacation time as a reward for goals met.
6. Monitor goal progression.
Goals are of no use if they’re not being monitored. Track progress via a dashboard in your CRM or have reps enter their weekly numbers the old-fashioned way — in an Excel spreadsheet. If someone on your team isn’t hitting their weekly numbers, talk to them before it becomes an impediment to meeting their monthly quota. Monitoring these small goals makes them worth the extra implementation time, so don’t skimp here — even if it’s tempting.
Progressive Sales Goal Example: “Reduce the amount of time it takes to convert a lead to a customer.”
Speeding up the sales process closes deals quicker — this means the company will realize the revenue faster, and the sales rep will have more time to spend on other deals and prospecting activities. Creating a goal to reduce the amount of time it takes to move a lead to an opportunity or an opportunity to a customer will speed up the sales cycle.
7. Set stretch goals.
A stretch goal is a goal exceeding their primary goal, which can be effective. Think about the old saying: “Aim for the moon. If you miss, you’ll be among the stars.” Keep in mind that this isn’t right for everyone. If a rep is struggling to meet their quota every month, a stretch goal will only increase their anxiety. But if you have a high performer, set realistic stretch goals that will challenge and motivate them.
Stretch Sales Goal Example: “Upsell 12X more customers than you did the previous month.”
A stretch goal pushes your high-performing team — or, at least, your highest performing rep — to do their best work by putting a seemingly unattainable goal before them. Remember, you should only suggest stretch goals if your team is already exceeding expectations. If they’re still progressing toward your primary goals, it’d be wise to use another type of goal to motivate them and track their progress.
8. Suggest mentor goals.
If a rep is having trouble ramping up or hits a rough patch (it happens to everyone), suggest they find a mentor or two. Provide a framework you'd like them to work through or advise them to create one with their mentor. Having someone to confide in besides their manager can be just what they need to thrive.
Mentor Sales Goal Example: “Attend one professional development event per month.”
If a rep isn’t attending professional development events, set a goal of one per month to start. That’s an easy way for them to get the mentorship they need from distinguished voices in the industry.
9. Create a collective goal.
A collective goal is a specific objective co-created by a team to focus and achieve — like hitting X number of calls/meetings/emails, X amount of revenue, or X% client retention.
Collective Sales Goal Example: “Book the most meetings of any rep on the team.”
Strike up friendly competition by challenging your reps to see who can book the most meetings or demos this week. If you’d like to truly have fun, you can post the numbers up on a leaderboard, highlighting the top three or the top ten sales reps.
Now that you know how to set goals, let’s take a look at some templates that can help you create them without needing to start from scratch.
Sales Goals Templates
Want to get to the numbers straight away? Then use our sales conversion and close rate calculator to outline your financial goals in one simple, frills-free place. It’ll help you automatically create annual goals with the months broken down as well.
Our sales plan template will help you create more traditional, qualitative goals. You can write goals not only in numeric terms but in terms of what you want your sales organization to achieve at large. It’s a great starting point if you don’t want to dive into the nitty-gritty of your sales goals just yet.
To set realistic sales goals, you first need to know how you’re doing and track these metrics across time. Our sales metrics calculator will help you lay the groundwork for creating better and more effective sales goals. It will also help you get more acquainted with sales metrics you might not have considered tracking in the past.
Setting OKR sales goals is another effective method for improving your team’s performance. Like our sales plan template, this OKR template will help you set goals in more general, qualitative ways — so you don’t have to know the exact numbers just yet. You can refine as you go, change goals as necessary, and track your key results.
Pull it all together in a sales dashboard where you can see all of your goals — and your progress toward those goals — in one place. You can set targets and track your progress toward those targets. If you don’t work in the tech industry, you can change the names of the fields to better fit your business.
Once you’re ready to set goals in a more automated environment, consider upgrading to a CRM that will help you set better and better sales goals every quarter.
Now that we’ve talked about how to set goals, let’s take a look at some examples that you can adapt for your team.
Sales Goals Examples
- Reduce customer churn.
- Increase average deal value.
- Increase customer lifetime value.
- Improve average win rate.
- Low customer acquisition cost.
- Invest in continuing sales education.
- Shadow high-performing team members.
- Perform more prospecting activities.
- Follow up with more prospects.
- Schedule a specific number of qualified sales conversations.
- Schedule a specific number of discovery conversations.
- Reduce the amount of time it takes to convert a lead to a customer.
- Improve closing ratio.
- Achieve an important revenue number.
Goals for Sales Managers
1. Reduce customer churn.
As a sales manager, you oversee the success of your company’s sales department. Some of your main goals should be centered on improving your retention rate and reducing your customer churn.
Customer churn is the rate at which customers stop using your product or service. So the higher your churn rate is, the more likely your business has room for improvement to delight customers — and there are many different approaches managers can take to achieve that goal, the primary one being to only sell to best-fit prospects.
2. Increase average deal size.
If there’s one thing better than closing a deal, it’s closing a large one. Managers that make goals to increase the average deal size put their sales team in a position to create profitable relationships with high-profile, target customers.
Ways to increase deal size can look like bundling more products or services into a contract, or rewarding customer loyalty with exclusive discounts.
3. Increase customer lifetime value.
Customer lifetime value is a business metric that measures total revenue that can be earned from a customer over time.
Managers that set this type of goal can optimize the performance of their sales team’s strategy and create longer-lasting client relationships that will extend the business value to customers.
4. Improve average win rate.
The average win rate is the rate at which final stage prospects become customers. As a sales manager, you want to form a solid strategy and train your team members on how to effectively win more deals with their clients.
5. Lower customer acquisition cost.
As a manager, you want to keep costs as low as possible without compromising your team’s ability to succeed. A sales manager could work with reps to better source qualified leads based on the types they’ve found the most successful.
Goals for Sales Reps
1. Invest in continuing sales education.
One of the best ways to grow as a rep is to invest in your sales education. Expanding your product knowledge, negotiation skills, or sharpening your business acumen.
2. Shadow high-performing team members.
You can run this goal by your sales manager to see whom they think would be the best fit. But shadowing someone who consistently exceeds their sales numbers may just be what you need to help you reach your sales goals and refine your skills.
3. Perform more prospecting activities.
If your company is trying to expand into new verticals, why not help them reach their goals by prospecting a number of new clients per target industry? You’ll not only impress your manager, but you’ll also help the business break new ground, giving you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
4. Follow up with more prospects.
Some sales reps struggle to stay in touch with new customers. If that’s you, make it one of your goals to touch base with each of your new clients by phone or email at least once a month, then once every two weeks, to keep relationships strong.
5. Schedule a specific number of qualified sales conversations.
Are you tired of wasting time with prospects who aren’t interested? Set a goal for yourself to schedule qualified sales conversations that have higher interest or value in your offering. After all, you want to give your time and effort to those who are actively looking for a solution you can provide.
6. Schedule a specific number of discovery conversations.
If you’re having trouble finding prospects and scheduling discovery calls, it’s time to set that goal for yourself. The more frequent you conduct them, the better you’ll get at matching client goals and needs to your offering.
7. Reduce the amount of time it takes to convert a lead to a customer.
Making it a goal to improve your lead conversion rate can potentially save you time and reduce your budget. This is also commonly known as shortening the conversion cycle.
8. Improve closing ratio.
Perhaps you’re a rep that contacts a lot of leads, but you're not reaching the finish line with a lot of your prospects. The closing rate is one of the most important metrics to monitor because it’ll identify sales team strategies that yield the most success. You'll want to progressively increase that number. You should procure additional training if needed and hold yourself accountable for your percentages.
9. Achieve an important revenue number.
Giving a revenue goal to your team on a monthly or quarterly basis can encourage sales reps to work toward an idea that’s more attainable. This type of goal setting can also be accompanied by incentives featuring bonuses or even extra PTO for added motive.
Now, let’s break these goals down even further by aligning them with the SMART goal framework.
SMART Sales Goals Examples
- Sell $100,000 worth of product by the first day of each month.
- Share one sales article per week.
- Reduce the amount of time it takes to convert a lead to a customer.
- Attend one professional development event per month.
- Increase your closing ratio by X% this quarter.
- Schedule at least three demos with enterprise-level prospects.
- Schedule five additional discovery calls every month.
SMART goals are a proven framework for progressing toward a desired end result. They can help you stay focused. “SMART” stands for:
All of the above goals are SMART sales goals. Let’s dissect a few of them.
1. To reduce customer churn by 20%, I will train my sales team to better provide support over the next six months.
- Specific: Tackling the issue of customer churn rate.
- Measurable: Customer churn rate is a measurable formula.
- Attainable: A 20% improvement is realistic.
- Relevant: Training the sales team to better support customers can affect loyalty.
- Time-Bound: This goal duration is six months.
2. Increase average deal size by bundling two or more services in a limited time offer for the next three months.
- Specific: The goal is to increase the average deal size.
- Measurable: Average deal size can be calculated over a period of time..
- Attainable: It’s feasible to increase the average deal size in a scaling company.
- Relevant: Bundling services is a way to increase sales, a primary goal for sales teams.
- Time-Bound: The goal duration is for three months.
3. In six months, we’ll increase customer lifetime value by 10% by offering larger discounts.
- Specific: The goal is to increase customer lifetime value.
- Measurable: Customer lifetime value is a metric that can be tracked and calculated.
- Attainable: 10% is a feasible amount of change.
- Relevant: Discounted offers can affect customer lifetime value.
- Time-Bound: The goal duration is for six months.
4. For the next quarter, I want to improve the average win rate by 15% by refining our lead prospecting strategy.
- Specific: The goal is to improve the average win rate.
- Measurable: Average win rate is a measurable formula.
- Attainable: An incremental change of 15% is feasible.
- Relevant: Lead prospecting directly correlates to sales win rates.
- Time-Bound: The goal duration is for the upcoming quarter.
5. In the next three months, I will lower customer acquisition costs by $500 through adjusting our paid search to better reach prospects that fit our buyer personas.
- Specific: The goal is to lower customer acquisition costs.
- Measurable: Customer acquisition costs can be tracked and calculated.
- Attainable: $500 is a realistic amount of money for small businesses.
- Relevant: Adjusting paid search to target buyer personas directly affects acquisition costs.
- Time-Bound: The goal duration is three months.
6. I want to be promoted to a sales manager in the next year by investing in continuing sales education.
- Specific: The goal is to be promoted to the role of sales manager.
- Measurable: While not numeric, the completion of continuing sales education classes can be documented and hold weight.
- Attainable: It's feasible for sales reps to continue education for betterment.
- Relevant: Candidates who invest in education are seen in a positive light for promotions.
- Time-Bound: The goal duration is for one year.
7. For the Spring, I will shadow two high-performing team members to learn how they build rapport with customers.
- Specific: The goal is to learn how to build rapport with customers.
- Measurable: By studying the actions of high-performers, there can be identifiable behaviors that can be enacted into someone else’s strategy.
- Attainable: It's feasible to observe team members at work with permission.
- Relevant: It’s possible to learn how to build rapport from high-performing salespersons.
- Time-Bound: This goal duration is for the Spring season.
8. Attend at least one professional development event per month to engage in more prospecting activities.
- Specific: The goal is to attend one professional event on a monthly basis.
- Measurable: The number of attended events can be tracked overtime.
- Attainable: It’s possible to set aside time and seek out professional development events.
- Relevant: Networking at professional development events can lead sales people to engage in more prospecting activities.
- Time-Bound: This is an on-going goal, but it’s bound to a monthly basis.
9. I will follow up with more prospects after our initial interaction by setting up automated emails in the coming quarter.
- Specific: The goal is to follow up with more prospects.
- Measurable: Automated emails can be made and tracked in a CRM system.
- Attainable: It’s feasible to reach back out to prospects through email.
- Relevant: Setting up follow up emails is a great way to follow up with prospects.
- Time-Bound: This goal duration is tied to the upcoming business quarter.
10. Schedule at least three demos with enterprise-level prospects over the next three months.
- Specific: The goal is to schedule a minimum of three demos with enterprise-level prospects.
- Measurable: This is a quantifiable goal that can be tracked.
- Attainable: This is feasible for a big business selling at an enterprise-level.
- Relevant: Demos with high profile prospects are relevant to the goals of a sales team.
- Time-Bound: The goal duration is for the next three months.
11. Reduce the amount of time it takes to convert a lead to a customer by 25% over the next year.
- Specific: This goal is to reduce the time necessary for average lead conversion.
- Measurable: This can be tracked and calculated in a CRM system.
- Attainable: 25% is a feasible amount of change.
- Relevant: Lead conversion time can affect the productivity of a sales team.
- Time-Bound: This goal duration is for the next year.
12. Schedule five more qualified sales conversations for next month to improve closing ratio.
- Specific: The goal is to schedule five more qualified sales conversations.
- Measurable: This quantity of calls can be tracked.
- Attainable: This number is a feasible increase of conversations.
- Relevant: Qualified sales conversations can affect the closing ratio.
- Time-Bound: This is an on-going goal, but it’s bound to a monthly basis.
13. Sell $100,000 worth of product by the first day of each month.
- Specific: The goal is to sell $100,000 worth of product.
- Measurable: This metric can be tracked and calculated.
- Attainable: This is feasible for big businesses selling at an enterprise-level.
- Relevant: This goal is directly tied to revenue, a primary metric for sales.
- Time-Bound: This is an ongoing goal, but it’s bound to a monthly basis.
Keep Your Sales Reps Happy with Sales Goals
As you’re setting new goals or revisiting old ones, check in with your reps and ask how they’re feeling. Make sure goals are remaining realistic, challenging, and attainable. That’s the recipe for happy, successful reps.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.