Last updateWed, 25 Mar 2020 1pm


The first of the year has come and gone and while many of you have already set your goals for 2020, it’s never a bad thing for a few reminders when setting goals.

We will get into the different types of goals shortly but first there are a few basics to remember when you sit down to set your personal goals, or the company goals for an entire sales team.

What do I want to achieve? If you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there? Start with reviewing your goals from the previous week, month or year and see how you did. If you struggled to reach the goals then maybe the same goals for the coming week, month or year are appropriate. However, if you achieved the goals easily, then it’s time to create new goals that will challenge you to achieve even more.

What is my plan to get there? Having goals are great, but if there’s no plan to get there, then what good are they? Every football team wants to score touchdowns, but the teams with the best plans tend to score more. If your goal is to sell $100,000 in a month, then selling $25,000 a week would be a part of that plan. Other parts of that plan might include a dollar amount per category by week.

What am I going to do when the goal is attained? At the end of the Road Runner/Coyote cartoon, the coyote finally catches the Road Runner and a thought bubble pops up that says, “I caught him, now what do you want me to do with him?” It’s important to know what the next step is once you have achieved one of your goals. I would venture to say that the primary thing you are going to do is establish a new goal to work towards, but whatever the next step might be, know where you are going before you get to the next destination.

Saying I want to sell as many necklaces as possible in the next month is not a goal, goals must have 4 characteristics if they are going to be effective.

1) They must be written and posted in a spot where they can be seen on a daily basis at the very least. If the goal is a team goal, then it needs to be posted where everyone on the team can see it and see it often. A bulletin board in the break room or a common space is often a great place to post team goals.

If it’s your personal goal, then it needs to be posted in a spot where you are  going to see it often. It can be written down at a desk, if applicable, or somewhere else where you are going to look at it on a regular basis.

2) Goals must be realistic and attainable. These are two different characteristics, but they go hand in hand. It sounds great to say I’m going to sell $25,000 this month, but if you have never sold more than $20,000 in a month, then is $25,000 realistic? No, it’s not. A more realistic goal might be $22,000 or $23,000 depending on your current running rate (how are you doing so far for this quarter, week, etc.). Setting team goals work the same way; they have to be realistic.

Along those same lines, if a goal is not attainable, then where’s the motivation? The fact is if goals are set so high that they are not reachable, then they are going to have the opposite effect of the intended one. Salespeople are going to grow frustrated and apathetic if they feel that no matter how hard they work, the goal is never going to be attained. It’s important that goals challenge us and motivate us to be better, but they can’t be so high that they can never be reached.

3) Goals must also be measurable and have a statistical component to it. A goal that states, I want to sell as much as possible today is not a goal. How much is possible in a day? There’s no real way to answer that. A better goal would be, I sold $2,000 yesterday, so I want to sell $2,200 today. That goal has a statistical measurement to it.

Setting team goals works the same way and the statistical measurement can be we want to sell $100,000 as a team this month or it can be based on a percentage. For example, we want to increase our sales this year by 20%. As long as all of your goals, personal or team, are measurable then you have a chance to reach them.

4) There are three types of goals - short-term goals, mid-range goals and long-term goals. Short-term goals are defined as monthly goals. Your short-term goals should work in concert with both your mid-range goals and your long-term goals.

Mid-range goals are your yearly goals and they should be a cumulation of your short-term goals. If your mid-range goal (yearly) is to sell $1,000,000  then your short-term (monthly) goal should be to sell about $83,333 per month, handicapped based on the percentage that a certain month has contributed based on history. If you hit your short-term goals, then the mid-range goal is also attained.

Long-term goals are your goals over a long period of time, usually a decade. These goals should still have a statistical measurement but that measurement may be a little different than just raw sales. Maybe your long-term goal is for your company to increase it’s sales by 100% in that ten-year period. Once you set that goal, then you can work backwards. If we are going to increase our sales by 100% in ten years, then we need to increase by 10% every year (mid-range goal) and that also means we need to increase be .83% every month. When you look at it that way, it becomes easy to see how the three types of goals must work together.

One more thing to remember when setting goals: goals can always be adjusted based on results. If your goal is to sell $10,000 in a month and you have already reached that goal by the 20th of the month, then adjust the goal to $12,000. If you are struggling through a couple of months to reach your goal of $10,000 then decrease it to $9,000 for a month or two. Once you consistently reach that goal, then move it back up to $10,000.

It’s now well into the first quarter and maybe most of you have set your goals but if you haven’t, make sure they are measurable, and your short-term goals work in concert with your mid-range and long-term goals. Don’t be afraid to adjust them and challenge yourself. That’s what setting goals is all about!

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Huisken has authored several books and training manuals on sales and  produces a Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Visit his website at www.iastraining.com.