6 Steps to Setting Strategic Sales Goals

Sep 5, 2018 | Business Owners, Sales, Sales Leadership, Strategic Planning

Setting an overall sales goal for a company is relatively easy. The leadership team decides how much growth is needed in real dollars as a percentage over last year’s sale. That’s a great starting place. To actualize that goal, build a sales strategy that breaks it down so that everyone understands what they need to sell by when and the best way to make that happen.  

Here are the 6 steps to set and reach your goal 

Step 1: Break it Down 

Once you know the goal, figure out where exactly to focus.  

How much: 

  • Of each product or brand should be sold? 
  • Will come from recurring revenue? 
  • Will be new sales to existing clients? 
  • Will be new sales to new clients? 
  • Revenue will come from each vertical? 
  • Will each rep provide in each category? 

Step 2: Do an Assessment 

Before you begin to plan the future, look toward the past. Do an assessment of the previous year of business with your team. Here are some questions to consider with them. 

  • What were our sales last year?  
  • How much did your team sell? 
  • Who sold it? 
  • To whom did they sell it? 
  • How much will result in repeat business? 
  • Which clients brought in the least and most profit? (Make sure to add in support time!) 
  • Which clients had the shortest sales cycles? 
  • Which clients had the highest revenue? 
  • What has changed? 
  • Where is the most logical place to look for growth? 

By understanding where you have been, you can begin to determine where you should go. 

Step 3: Determine Your Market Strategy 

Now, start thinking about where you are going. 

This is the time to think about a market strategy. Consider the following questions based on your work so far: 

  • How much can you grow existing accounts? 
  • How can you leverage existing accounts to get referrals? 
  • How much can you increase revenue inside existing territories with existing products? 
  • How much can you increase revenue inside existing territories with new products? 
  • How much can you increase revenue in new territories with existing products? 
  • How much can you increase revenue in new territories with new products? 

The most cost-effective, fastest sales will be with existing accounts, then referrals. The slowest and most expensive new revenue will result from cultivating sales of new products in new territories.  

Start with the most cost-effective and fastest sales by building key account plans for your top 10 clients. 

Step 4: Create Your Timelines 

When you are clear about when revenue needs to be obtained you can create a plan to hit those timelines. Take a look at the existing funnel and make realistic predictions about what can be closed each quarter. If you don’t see enough revenue from what is in the funnel, it’s time to start creating a plan that will fill the funnel with qualified leads.  

As Alice always says, “Close dates come from clients, not quotas.” Of course, your clients will buy what they want to buy, when they want to buy it. Good salespeople will be positioned properly to get accurate close dates. But, creating clear timelines to hit goals can help your sales team prioritize their work. 

Step 5: Find Opportunities in Existing Clients 

How much money is sitting on the table with existing clients because you don’t have a clear plan for expansion? 

Look for opportunities in all accounts by doing some white-space mapping. Make a spreadsheet of existing clients and what they buy.  

Determine which clients to include. List all your clients, the top 100, the top 20% or whatever makes the most sense for you.  

Determine which products to list. For example, if you have many products list your top 3 products or product groups.  

Use indicators of the size that will help you identify potential. It might be the sales revenue, the number of employees or the number of locations.  

Doing this exercise identifies growth opportunities. Work with your sales reps to look at the potential of each account, then determine how much to project and how that fits into the sales goal. 

Tools like Revegy that sit inside of Salesforce.com make it very easy to do this but the example below is a simple, low-tech, inexpensive solution. 

Step 6: Look for Leads 

If there is not enough in the funnel to support the goal, create a plan to fill the funnel.   

Here are some methods to consider.

  1. Inbound Marketing 
  2. Account-Based Lead Gen 
  3. Conferences and Networking 
  4. Social Selling 
  5. Referrals

What is a realistic amount of leads from each of these sources?   

If the numbers still aren’t adding up to hit your goal, then it is time to revise your goal. 

What steps do you take to hit your sales goals? We’d love to hear! Leave a comment below.

Liz Heiman

Liz Heiman


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