Every year at the same time (end or beginning of the year) the ritual of defining the commercial objectives takes place for the year to come. Motivating and aligned with the company’s strategy, simple but fair, setting business goals can become a real managerial puzzle. Here are 5 key points to effectively setting your business goals.
Business Objectives: What’s the Point?
Before going further in defining a business goal, it is good to remember the purpose of setting goals.
The business objectives serve above all to motivate your employees. They must therefore be fixed with this idea in mind: how to define objectives that are a real motivator for my salespeople?
If the objectives are often linked to the salary of the salesman, they do not only influence his extrinsic motivation (induced by an external factor: reward, punishment …). They are also a formidable lever to activate the intrinsic (self-induced) motivation of the collaborator.
Here’s how business goals play on the 5 levers of intrinsic motivation of a human:
- Maitrise: A business objective will allow the employee to self-evaluate and validate his progress over time (“I made 93% last month, I made 97% this month, and I am getting better! “)
- Autonomy (“I control”): once the objective has been defined, the salesperson has a good margin for maneuver. It is autonomous to put in place the actions necessary to achieve its objective.
- Purpose (“What I do makes sense”): the objectives are defined in line with the company’s strategy. They are a great way to share with the commercial the long-term strategy of the company and give meaning to its action.
- Development (“I succeed”): the objectives achieved are a source of satisfaction for the commercial. They validate milestones in the personal development of the salesman (“I’ve been doing 110% of my goals for the next month.
- Social Interaction (“I am connected with my peers”): Team goals in addition to individual goals are a great way to develop team spirit and play on the social bond between salespeople.
- Setting targets is therefore a formidable management tool if the exercise is properly carried out. It is important to keep track of how objectives affect the motivation of the salesperson.
The incentive commercial animation platform has been designed to efficiently play on the employees’ intrinsic motivation levers. You can try it here: commercial animation platform
Different Business Objectives for Different Outcomes
To be effective, your teams need different types of goals.
Medium and long-term business objectives (1 month to 1 year)
Medium- and long-term objectives give the employee more visibility over a longer period. These can be market objectives (turnover, margin, order taking …), quality objectives (customer satisfaction rate, turnaround time for a prospect …), and cost objectives (Travelling expenses…). The indicators used here must be meaningful in the medium to long term.
Short-term Business objectives
The short-term goals are the armed arm of commercial animation. They serve to focus teams on current operational priorities. These can be prospecting objectives during a given week; customer recall objectives, closing objectives at the end of the month … The indicators used here must be meaningful over a short period of time. They can be animated by commercial challenge operations for example.
As a manager, it is important to skillfully juggle between these two categories of goals in order to motivate, engage and retain your sales force effectively.
Define a Commercial Objectives: the SMARTIES method
It is common to say that a well-defined commercial goal must be SMART. Here we have completed the formula to make it more relevant. To define your business goals, think SMARTIES:
- Specific: A business purpose must serve a specific purpose. It is essential for the collaborator to understand and accept it.
- Measurable: A business objective must be measurable to be monitored. If you cannot afford to follow a goal, leave it aside.
- Accepted: a commercial objective must be accepted by the employee to have a motivating effect.
- Realistic: If a business objective does not seem realistic to the employee, while the motivating effect immediately flies.
- Real Time: A business goal must be tracked over time, and with high frequency. Nothing worse than setting goals and not following them regularly in time.
- Individual: if some objectives must be the same for all, others must be individualized. Individualizing the objectives helps to facilitate acceptance by the commercial and to accentuate the sense of fairness.
- Scalable: a business objective must evolve over time. Regardless of the length of time for which the target is defined, provision should be made for regular review. A goal that does not evolve quickly loses its motivating effect.
- Simple: a business goal must be simple to understand for the employee. Overly complicated indicators blur the understanding and make animation impossible.
- Keep these 8 points in mind when setting a business goal. They allow you to make sure that you are not in the process of designing an incomprehensible “gas plant” device for your salespeople. Do not hesitate to change the priorities regularly: this month the priority is to prospecting; next month the priority will be at closing … It is simpler for your salespeople to focus on one objective at a time.
Bringing Employees into Line with Business Objectives
The commercial objective represents a commercial commitment to the company. It is therefore essential that it be understood and accepted, otherwise its effect will be nil.
Here the pedagogy is of course: take the time to explain well to each one its objective. Why was it defined? How was it calculated?
It is important to involve the salesperson as quickly as possible in the process. Some companies even let the salesman set his own goals, with the validation of the manager of course. If your salesperson does not agree with his goal, ask him why. Adjust the goal until consensus is reached.
If the objectives are ambitious, highlight the means implemented by the company to help the salesperson reach them: qualified prospecting bases, marketing campaigns, training courses…
From this moment, we enter the stage of commercial animation around the objectives. Communication with the teams is essential. The more you communicate with them, the better they will accept the defined business objectives. If goals over time are too ambitious and unattainable in their present state, do not hesitate to review them or to implement additional means to achieve them. This is in order to preserve the employees’ commitment to the objectives.
Do not forget: when you think you can succeed, usually you get there. When one leaves knowing that one will not succeed, generally the prediction is realized. It is therefore imperative that your sales people believe in the objectives that have been set for them to realize them.
How to follow and Animate Objectives Over time?
Once the objectives have been defined and accepted, we enter the most important phase of management by the objectives: animation. Setting goals does not make sense if you do not take the time to follow them, to animate them regularly.
To effectively animate the monitoring of commercial objectives, let’s turn to the world of video games. The methods of gamification more and more in vogue today give us in fact many teaching on the right way to animate the objectives. Here are 5 key lessons from video games to energize your animation goals:
- Quick feedback. In a video game, every time you perform an action, you get instant feedback: you earn points, you lose a life … A slow feedback disconnects the result of the action. In tracking goals it’s the same. The quicker the manager’s feedback, the better the employee can adapt his action. Organize with your team frequent points to review together the achievement of the objectives and take corrective actions if necessary.
- Video games are a statistical paradise: everything is measured, quantified and restored to the user in real time. Set up an individual dashboard system in your team in real time. Every salesperson must be able to know at all times how it is in relation to its objective.
- A badge indicates the achievement of a specific objective or task. Think of military medals, for example. Badges have no intrinsic value: they are what they represent in the eyes of the community that is important. Why not set up a badge system in your team? A badge every time the objectives are reached, a “regularity” badge when the objectives are reached 3 times in a row, a “super performer” badge when the objectives are largely exceeded, and so on.
- Competition drives individuals to excel in order to strive for excellence. The video games are par excellence competitive and the rankings there are legion. Some goals come alive with the competition. When you set a sales target, consider commercial challenge. For example, if you want to focus on prospecting, a competition of a few days to a few weeks on prospecting can allow you to better focus salespeople on their prospecting.
- A community. Most of the game’s mechanics lose their meaning if there is no community. If I have nobody against me to measure myself, nobody to show my badges … All this makes no sense. The notion of community is therefore important in the animation of the objectives. To congratulate one or another collaborator in front of the others, to compete a team with a team, etc. Maintain the community spirit in your sales team. If your sales people are on the road and see little, set up a digital community.
- Setting up and following the objectives of your salespersons is therefore not impossible provided you follow a few simple rules?
Incentive is a corporate social network dedicated to the animation of sales forces. Our platform is there to help you in driving your business objectives: to facilitate the monitoring of the indicators in real time, to set up commercial challenges, to animate the community of sellers distributed on the ground…
And you? How do you define your salespeople’s goals? What are your tips for other business managers to help them define the goals of their teams? Do not hesitate to share your experience in the comments section below.