We are already well into January and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been bombarded with blogs and articles on how to set goals, make resolutions, and whether it’s worth the bother or not. I’ve read most of them, and yep, we all know that as leaders in our businesses, we need to be clear about where we are going. So, here’s my take on it.

The reality is, when you’re building a business, you will have more than just yourself to influence. To do that effectively, you need direction and attainable goals. 

My next series of blogs will throw a spotlight on my Sales GROWTH Framework – it’s what I use with clients to help them grow their businesses. The framework has six stages, and for the first six months of 2017, I’ll be focusing on a stage each month, seeing how each different part can be applied to your business so your sales increase. 

The first stage in the GROWTH Framework: G is for Goals for Growth!

January is a month when many of us set goals. It’s the start of a new year, we’re feeling purposeful and ready to take on a challenge. There are many different ways of setting goals, but how many of them actually work? How many of them result in goals that truly inspire people to strive towards achieving them?

sales growth

I’ve created a handy checklist to keep your goal-setting on track, one that can apply to just you if you’re a small business or to you and a sales team if you employ more people. It can even be adapted to help bring new sales managers on board quickly, so the process is as smooth, effective and enjoyable as possible:

  • What is your three-year vision for the overall business? 
  • How does this dovetail into a sales strategy?
  • What does that mean your revenue and margin needs to be?
  • What, specifically, are the objectives for you and your team?
  • How will you know they have been successful in 12 months’ time?
  • What are their 30/60/90 day objectives?

Let’s take a more detailed look at each of those questions:

What is your vision for the overall business? 

Building a vision in your head, and then on paper, is the best way to demonstrate, to yourself, and others, your belief that you can achieve something incredible. Starting a business, watching it grow, investing in great people – you’re not just solely focusing on the money but something higher than that. You’ll very soon run out of the spark necessary to get you out of bed in the mornings if all you concentrate on is the figures.

Instead, you want to be focusing on creating something that will change the landscape, something that is exciting and inspiring. That’s what inspires you and your team day after day.

I’m not going to go through all the different the ways of getting to a vision here, you will have had plenty of that already, I’m sure. My personal favourite, being a visual, hands-on kind of a girl, is through Visionscaping. It’s a process that I’ve used myself to create powerful goals for my life and my business. It’s also been a very successful tool for clients. Each team goes through an individual and then a shared creative process, which culminates in a Visionscape – a visual representation of success that will look great on the wall of your office. Every member of the team also goes away with a view of the key drivers of the vision, along with the inspiration to achieve that vision. For more detail on Visionscaping, read my blog from March 2016.

Goals that are too far out of reach are easy to put off so I advise my clients to break down their goal setting into one, three and five year plans. 

How does your overall vision dovetail into a sales strategy?

From your overall business vision, comes a sales strategy.  This is a statement that indicates where you want you and your sales team to be, with your channels and customers clearly set out. Without a strategy, a sales team may have lack of focus, difficulty prioritising activities, or may ‘do their own thing’. The vision provides focus and direction for you and your team, the strategy energises them and improves results and performance.

In order to make it concrete and easy to understand for your whole team, you need to break the strategy down into achievable objectives. So, one of your overall goals might be to grow your business by 10% in the upcoming year, but that needs to be broken down into a specific sales focus for your sales team:

  • Which products/services need to be focused on for increasing sales, and at what price?
  • What are the target revenues for those products?
  • Which channels and with which customers?

What does that mean your revenue and margin needs to be?

A clear, concise sales vision statement allows your sales team to focus on a specific goal. The vision can be, for example, an increase in sales revenue or winning an award and the more detailed, the better as it leaves less room for misinterpretations and missed opportunities. If you’re a small business, your sales vision could be “to increase sales by 20% and reduce costs by 10%” which is more effective than “increase sales and improve efficiency.”

Setting goals for your margins as well as your revenue means that you’re thinking of your profits at all times. So, a goal to cut your costs by a certain percentage, or to find a more efficient, cost-effective way of reducing what you spend on materials, telecoms, transport etc affects your margins positively. Margins are important because it shows whether your sales are sufficient to cover your costs.

How are you going to manage the objectives for your sales teams? 

Clear goals and objectives can clarify your sales team’s responsibilities and improve your business’s success. Hold regular meetings to discuss shifting goals, delegate responsibilities and break objectives down into smaller actions so that you can help you keep your team focused on your specific 1, 3 and 5 year goals. You might want to think here of offering incentives to staff members who either achieve your goals or follow the steps necessary to achieve them.

How will you know they have been successful in 12 months’ time?

“What gets measured, and rewarded, gets done” Everywhere we look these days, we’re measuring how well (or not) we’ve done. Did you get a Fitbit for Christmas? You’ll become obsessed about the data that streams out of this tiny wristband…

Defining your business’s sales success, however, is based on your unique and specific goals and strategies. There are many different tools, tracking software and analytics available to measure sales teams’ progressions but here are four ways to measure that success, that are not just about the sales numbers. Don’t forget to reward conduct in these areas.

  • Repeat business: If you get repeat business and referrals you’ve done a great job identifying the right clients and selling your value in the right way.
  • Conversion rate: However leads come into your business, what is the rate of conversion to a sale? It’s a key measure.
  • Customer feedback: What are your customers saying about your sales and the value you are bringing them? Listen hard!
  • Sales pipeline: A good sales manager naturally moves from discussing results (a look at the past) to an evaluation of the sales pipeline (a look into the future). A healthy pipeline has three important characteristics: It’s full, it’s balanced, and it’s moving.

What are their 30/60/90 day objectives?

Having 30/60/90 day objectives for your sales team is all about aligning them to a definition and framework for success. It breaks down your overall sales goals into achievable, manageable chunks of time for individuals – all of which have the company’s vision in mind when setting them.

A good 30/60/90 day plan has the following components:

  • It starts with a clear definition of objectives that are rooted in value to the company
  • It identifies specific deliverables and aligns them back to the objectives
  • It provides a clear set of tasks with dates
  • It contains a scorecard so it’s easy to measure and ultimately demonstrate your success

Where is your business going this year? Are your own dreams aligned with those of your business and the rest of your team? Is your sales team inspired by your vision and your goals? If not, and you would like to find a common and inspiring vision to help grow your business this year, get in touch by emailing amanda@salesgrowthexpert.co.uk.