Even if you’re thoughtful and deliberate when setting your goals, if you’re like most sales professionals, you don’t accomplish all of them. There are a number of reasons why you might fall short, but one of the most common ones I see is a lack of goal tracking.
Tracking is the magic ingredient that makes goal-setting so powerful.
If you write your sales goals and put them in a binder that sits on the top shelf of a little-used cabinet, you’re wasting a golden opportunity. Check your sales goals at least once a quarter, preferably once a month.
As you read your goals, think about what you have and have not accomplished. Determine if you are on schedule. In other words, at the end of the first quarter, you should theoretically have accomplished 25 percent of your goals. At the end of the year, thoroughly review and evaluate your performance on each goal.
You can buy a software program to help you with goals, and most CRMs have a component for your own sales goals, but I like to keep it simple. I have created a goal-tracking spreadsheet that I use every year. I enter each of my goals. After each goal, there is a space for the date of completion. I also put in a line for writing notes or descriptive details. When a goal is completely accomplished, I place a check in a box.
Using a simple tracking tool has done wonders for me. Each year, my list of ambitions (and consequently my list of sales goals) grows longer, yet I still accomplish most of it. Any time I do anything related to one of my goals, I note it on my spreadsheet. This is actually quite enjoyable as I derive satisfaction anytime I achieve another goal.
I keep past years’ goal-tracking information for a record of my life. If self-doubt ever creeps into my mind, I can pull out last year’s tracking form and remind myself that I have a lot to be proud of and that yes, I truly can and do produce results.
Tracking alone isn’t the only way to ensure that goals are accomplished. Sales professionals should share goals with their managers. Each month, or at least each quarter, managers should sit down with each of their reps and assess progress. I know it’s difficult to schedule these meetings when everyone is so busy, but believe me; these little commitments of time and effort pay off handsomely over the course of a year. If you’re the owner or CEO of the company, you could share your goals with your partners, board members or a hired coach/consultant.
Some companies have each sales rep deliver a 20-minute presentation on his or her goals to the entire sales team or the sales management team. This activity is not a fit for every company culture, but the theory is that people are more likely to complete goals that they have presented to a group of people as opposed to presenting them to just their boss. Disclaimer: some people might hate this because they see it as an invasion of their privacy.
No matter how motivated you are and how diligent you are at tracking your goals, there is a decent chance you won’t accomplish 100 percent of your annual plan. Don’t beat yourself up too much if this happens. At the end of the year, simply evaluate why you failed to do it. Then determine if the unaccomplished goal still is consistent with your values and the strategic plan. If it is, move it to next year’s goal-tracking list and get started on it earlier in the year. If the goal no longer is important to you, kill it and move on to more relevant goals.