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Sales Targets - Skip Them If You Can't Hit Them

wholesale merchandise sales targetsHow often do you get in your car and drive aimlessly? How often do you get into a train or a car without a destination? I am guessing never, because those things take time and money and you can't waste either of them. However, when CEO's of many small and mid-size businesses are asked if they set sales targets, and if so, do they set them in stone, the answers make you squint and cringe like Clint Eastwood. There's a lot of "no," "sort of," "not really's" and "we just tell the salespeople to go out and sell".


There is working smart, working hard and then there is just working stupid. Not setting sales targets and wondering why your sales team is not producing makes you the one who should be wearing the dunce cap. Every organization, and that means every single one, has to have sales targets. Who cares if you've been getting by without them because that is just getting by. Knocking sales out of the park should be your goal. Sales targets are the highways businesses drive on and without them, it's a bumpy ride.


So, here is a start to setting targets:

  1. What type of behaviour do you want to motivate?
    • More revenue from current customers
    • Hunt for new customers
    • Drive revenue
    • Drive EBIDTA
    • New product push
    • All of the above
  2. What did the numbers look like last year?
  3. How much, by customer, do you think is possible to sell in the coming year? This forecast should be a range between realistic and optimistic based on what is in your sales tracking system. If not, have you spoken to your account team about their individual accounts? (More on the importance of sales tracking to come in this series.)
  4. What is a realistic number for growth? i.e. 5%, 10%, 20% more?
  5. Do you have a commission structure in place and if so, is it geared to get results (more on this in part IV of the "Why Your Sales Team is not a Sales Force").


There are only five steps here and even doing these imperfectly is better than doing nothing. Once you have solid sales targets in place, your sales force is going to become results driven because there is a target. This by itself will make a substantial difference. So, now that you know where to get started, get planning, get going, and get those sales!