As we kick off a new month, it’s time to leave any previous setbacks behind and focus on the upcoming weeks ahead. In the right working environment, spirits should be high, resources plentiful and sales targets attainable.
ATTAINABLE = The A game of S.M.A.R.T. goals
In an industry driven by sustainable client bases and prosperous consumer activity, it comes as no surprise that sales teams face a fast-paced rhythm, an inevitable degree of pressure and a fair serving of stress. The measurement of specific goals has evolved enormously over the years, but some managers still favour drawing comparisons with past periodic sales, rather than active turnover. Although this reaps many benefits on certain levels, it fails to address the potential of a certain time period and, therefore, renders target-setting inaccurate, difficult and impersonal.
Whilst self-competition may motivate some to smash their last year’s results, others cannot cope with the anxiety of keeping up their track record, especially when the current climate may be hugely different to the previous year’s, given changes in the market and economy, or even variations to the product or service on offer. External factors often interfere with KPI’s, which can be as simple as problematic weather or as complex as a global pandemic - either way, tailormade targets in tune with an individual’s talents and scope, are far more achievable, measurable and effective.
Do you ever feel like you’re running a marathon without a finish line?
With an extensive retail background, Goalplan’s very own Rami Khalil knows this pressure all too well. In a recent interview, he explained that the success of young leaders and novice sales representatives is particularly at risk from unattainable goals. From a directive point of view, having a reasonable budget to distribute may not be enough, let alone knowledge of how to optimise a team’s potential. For reps in the field, high expectations with insufficient guidance are equally stressful.
What you need to do, is to break down the goals into a week, day or hours, to help the young salespeople understand where the focus should be...’ – Rami Khalil, Chief Customer Officer at Goalplan
For anyone starting out in sales, be that fresh from graduate programmes, inhouse training or an entrepreneurial streak, the right tools are paramount to shape one’s future in a company. An irrational workload, toxic environment or unapproachable leadership will not only put protégés off from sticking around, but may also hinder their future chances of making it in sales. Undue stress can have devastating detrimental effects on one’s health, which in turn, has a knock-on effect on productivity.
How much is inefficient goal-setting costing you, in terms of disengaging and stressing out employees?
A European report to calculate the cost of work-related stress and psychosocial risks makes for an interesting read. Leaders have an obligation and responsibility to manage the organisational and social makeup of their enterprise, thus protecting employees and valuing their work. Attainable targets are a key player – you’re not expected to make things ‘too easy either,’ but moreover to arm the workforce with the education and resources required to reach for the sky.Exposure to psychosocial risks can lead to stress among employees, resulting in poor performance and, when prolonged, serious health problems.
Taking the time to communicate across the company hierarchy, aligning goals and making their completion reachable and practical, will not only promote smiley faces and an upbeat atmosphere, but it could also ensure sustainability and survival of a product, service or brand – avoiding mental breakdowns, loss of control and financial failure.
Such communication can easily be managed using digital, automated devices and programmes which make targets and attainment visual, simply tracked and efficiently organised. Many companies still use ‘comfortable’ tools, such as spreadsheets, mainly measuring current progress against past contributions, as opposed to fusing modern trends, individual personalities and KPI insights. Of course, with the best will in the world, this can still be a challenging and time-consuming task when dealing with employees on a mass scale, but it’s a start.
In the meantime, consider an app to manage attainment and contemplate sitting down with your team where possible (albeit virtually via Zoom), to BREAK DOWN those goals step-by-step...
Next week’s blog will focus on tailoring the seemingly mammoth task of individualising KPI’s to be more realistic and manageable.
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