Measurable Goals

posted: Friday, March 28, 2014

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The idea of goals and goal setting is nothing new in the field of sales; we have talked about it often in this forum. Today though, I want to focus on one of the requirements to effective goal setting that too often gets overlooked. If any goal is going to have its desired effect then it has to be measurable.

If your goal is to sell as many widgets as possible in any given month, how do you measure that? If you sell 20, was that as many as you could sell or could you have done better? As many as possible is not a measurable goal.

On the other hand, if your goal is to sell 25 widgets this month then that’s a measurable goal. If you sell more than that, you’ve accomplished two things. First, you’ve reached your goal and you should feel good about that. It also tells you that you should probably increase your goal for the following month.

If, however, you have a rough month and do not reach your goal of 25, then that also tells you something if you are willing to listen. There are questions that you need to ask yourself: was the goal too high, was it just a bad month, did you work hard enough? How you answer those questions will assist you in setting your goals for the following month.

If you determine that the goal was unrealistic, then you may lower it. If you determine that the goal was attainable with a little more work, then maybe you keep the goal the same and make the necessary changes.

In addition to those two advantages, setting measureable goals has other benefits:

  • Measurable goals encourage you to be realistic: Goals should challenge you but obtaining them should be realistic. Goals that are not realistic and/or attainable will eventually have a negative effect.
  • Measurable goals should have a time frame: It’s great if a salesperson wants to sell 20 widgets but there has to be a time element to the goal. Is that 20 in a week, a month or a year? Having a time frame holds you accountable to your goals.

In the end it is up to the salesperson and possibly the sales manager to determine goals but if those goals are going to be effective, then they must be measurable.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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