Past performance is a terrific benchmark for setting sales goals.
Sales goals based on prior successes reward mediocrity and encourage your best rainmakers to quit.
Imagine a top sales agent, Anne, achieved 120 percent of her annual target. It might have been tough with many late nights, but she did it. By working hard, Anne raised expectations. Aiming to drive even greater performance, one manager sets Anne’s next annual target at 120 percent of last year. Frustrated, Anne’s eyes fall on her colleague Chad, who hit just 85 percent of his yearly target. His sales goal remains unchanged. In Anne’s position, what would you do? Likely look for an employer who appreciates the effort and keeps targets reasonable.
There’s no one-size-fits-all sales goal. The appropriate choice depends on the time period covered and the people responsible for achieving the goal. Sales managers must align their goals with their current resources and needs.
Read on to learn how to pick the right goals for your team, complete with helpful examples.
What are examples of sales goals?
- Close $300,000 in total sales by the end of the current fiscal year.
- Make $70,000 in new sales by the end of Q2.
- Complete $5,000 in sales for the month of June.
- Send 100 cold emails by the end of the workweek.
- Identify 12 new prospects and add them to the CRM.
- Close 15 new accounts in Q1.
- Make $1M as a team by the end of the fiscal year.
- Generate between $500,000 and $700,000 by the end of the year.
- Achieve 120 percent of annual sales target of $100,000.
- Have virtual coffee chats with 10 potential clients by the end of the month.
- Reduce churn rate by 10 percent by the end of Q3.
- Generate over 70 percent of sales from clients X and Y for the month of November.
Sales goal examples
To set a strong sales goal, you must first figure out what type it should be. You can do this by asking yourself and your sales team these questions:
- When do we need to reach our goal?
- Who will be involved in the process?
- What sales metrics will we use to track our progress?
While this article covers 12 different sales goals, there’s the opportunity for crossover between them. For instance, a team goal can also be an annual goal, and a stretch goal can be set for a team or an individual.
1. Annual goals
Annual goals are tied to the revenue targets of the company. They’re often expressed as a dollar figure and a due date (such as the end of a fiscal year). Annual goals set the direction for all other goals.
Example of an annual sales goal: Sales rep Natasha will close $300,000 in total sales by the end of the current fiscal year.
Annual goals are useful because they connect the efforts of individual team members to the revenue goals of the company. If everyone hits their annual targets, the company has enough to keep going—or even grow.
Annual sales goals can be subdivided into shorter-term objectives such as quarterly targets. But if hitting your quarterly goals could still mean you fall short of your annual goal, then that’s a problem.
For instance, with an annual goal of $400,000, a quarterly goal of $75,000 sets you up for a $100,000 shortfall. Quarterly targets of $100,000 (or higher) would be more ideal.
2. Quarterly goals
Quarterly goals are the targets for each quarter in a fiscal year (often called Q1, Q2, and so on). They can be segmented from your annual goals, or they can be unrelated.
Example of a quarterly sales goal: Sales rep Diamond will make $70,000 in new sales by the end of Q2.
Your sales agents should know the value of quarterly earnings reports—investors and analysts use them to understand the financial health of a company. A strong quarterly report can be a point of pride. Show your team that by crushing their quarterly goals, they make a visible contribution to the overall success of the company.
Setting goals by the quarter is also a great way to ensure sales performance stays on track. But you should always take seasonal variations into account (prospects are harder to contact during the holidays, for example). Having appropriate targets for each quarter helps to keep your goals ambitious yet achievable.
3. Monthly goals
Monthly goals move the attention from broader strategic targets to more focused, attainable objectives that a sales agent could achieve in just a few weeks.
Example of a monthly goal: Sales rep Gregory is tasked with completing $5,000 in sales for the month of June.
Unlike with quarterly goals, monthly goals can feel more urgent yet more manageable—after all, one large B2B sale could go a long way toward meeting a monthly target.
Monthly goals are also useful for monitoring performance over the course of the year. Just make sure they’re set in accordance with the time of year and your product or service.
4. Weekly goals
Weekly goals are ideal for helping sales leaders set concrete intentions with their team at the start of each workweek. They’re also powerful tools for ensuring near-term accountability.
Example of a weekly sales goal: Send 100 cold emails by the end of the week.
Weekly targets are more granular than other goals because they include specific details about where sales will be coming from. As such, they feel more actionable. For instance, if Joseph knows he has to get in touch with Ivana from ABC Inc. this week in order to move her to the next stage of the sales funnel, he knows just what to do—get on the phone (or a Zoom call) with her ASAP.
Keep in mind that weekly goals are best for tasks that might take more than a day to accomplish. This makes them more feasible for your team. To use the example above: Joseph can pick up the phone today, but Ivana might take a day or two to get back to him.
5. Daily goals
Daily goals are useful for gauging performance based on actions alone. They can also help team members stay motivated.
Example of a daily sales goal: Identify 12 new prospects and add them to the CRM.
Sales leaders can offer teams a range of goals for daily actions to complete. Each target should statistically lead to positive outcomes based on past experiences while allowing for individual input and flexibility.
For instance, say the objective is to make a minimum of 30 business development calls each day, as one of those calls will likely lead to a sale. But if a team member is jumping from seminar to seminar all day, their daily goal should be adjusted because they won’t be able to make 30 calls.
6. Individual goals
Individual goals are those set specifically for one sales rep. They’re usually used to help improve performance or boost motivation.
Example of an individual sales goal: Arianna to close 15 new accounts in Q1.
If a sales agent is struggling in a key stage of the sales process, an individual goal could help. For instance, if a rep has a worrying drop off from securing verbal “yeses” to actually getting their contracts signed, then a goal around stakeholder engagement could improve their numbers.
By identifying growth areas for each of your team members, coaching them, and setting targets to help them succeed, you can also make progress toward accomplishing a major goal of your own: developing your sales leadership skills.
7. Team goals
Competition can be healthy within a sales team, but sometimes, cooperation can achieve more. Team goals—complete with team rewards like a spa day or fancy dinner out together—can increase collaboration and inspire established reps to mentor newer ones.
Example of a team sales goal: Make $1M as a team by the end of the fiscal year.
Collective goals should encourage participation from every sales rep and foster a sense of community and focused teamwork. Ideally, the benefits will include not only meeting the team goal, but also seeing a general improvement in sales skills among your reps.
8. Success ranges
While not technically goals, success ranges do incorporate a minimum that must be met, which can be thought of as a target.
Example of a sales success range: Aisha must generate between $500,000 and $700,000 by the end of the year. Her incentive pay kicks in at $500,000 and rises with performance.
Success ranges are powerful tools for three main reasons:
- They keep top performers motivated even after they’ve hit an initial goal. The more you sell, the more you take home.
- They feel fair, improving morale. It’s intuitive that the better you do, the richer your reward.
- You can adjust the range of compensation based on how confident you are in your estimates of employee performance. Unsure of their skill level? Set a wider success range with a gentler rise in compensation.
9. Stretch goals
Salespeople can be ambitious and competitive. Stretch goals help companies monetize this inherent drive and keep the momentum going after initial goals have been achieved.
Example of a stretch goal: Obi to achieve 120 percent of his annual sales target of $100,000 ($120,000 stretch goal).
Stretch goals are all about pushing sales reps to continue performing at a high level. They can be a highly effective sales motivation tactic, particularly if they’re linked to extra sales incentives such as a higher commission or additional time off.
Though stretch goals should be difficult to reach, they shouldn’t be unattainable. Setting realistic goals is still key.
10. Relationship-driven goals
Relationship-driven goals are motivated by building stronger relationships—not purely by profit or other indifferent, quantifiable metrics. They take into consideration the person on the other side of the phone, screen, or transaction.
All types of goals can be relationship-driven if the focus is customer-centric.
Example of a relationship-driven sales goal: Have virtual coffee chats with 10 potential clients by the end of the month.
Relationship-driven sales goals may sound less “serious,” but they can make a big difference. In a 2021 RAIN Group survey, 54 percent of B2B buyers said the salesperson developing a relationship with them was a highly influential factor in their decision to make a purchase. The same percentage agreed that a sales agent’s ability to connect with them and build rapport was also a primary factor.
Strong customer relationships are foundational to developing trust, which makes it easier to close deals, encourages repeat purchases, and reduces churn—all of which are critical to your bottom line. Research published by Deloitte shows that customers spend 25 percent more with brands they trust.
11. Churn-reduction goals
Churn is when customers stop doing business with your company. This can have a serious impact on your revenue, so you’ll want to have churn-reduction goals, especially if customer churn is a particular issue.
Example of a churn-reduction goal: Reduce churn rate by 10 percent by the end of the year.
Before setting these goals, you have to determine your customer churn rate. To find your company’s churn rate, choose a period of time you want to measure and identify the following values:
- Number of customers at the start of the time period (X)
- Number of customers lost during that same time period (Y)
Then, use the formula below to calculate your customer churn rate (Z) as a percentage.
Churn is a critical metric to monitor. After all, what’s a business without its customers? Keeping your current customers is also easier and more cost-effective than winning new customers. Research by the Brevet Group suggests it’s six to seven times less costly to retain customers.
12. 80-20 goals (the Pareto Principle)
The Pareto Principle holds that 80 percent of your revenue should come from 20 percent of your customers. Having consistent business from a core group allows sales agents to deepen their relationships with those clients while giving them a foundation to build on.
Example of an 80-20 sales goal: Gia to generate over 70 percent of her sales from clients X and Y (her best clients) for the month of November.
By having a good 80-20 goal in place, sales agents can comfortably spend time courting other prospects. Though this type of sales goal works best for established reps, it can be an effective sales goal for everyone on the team.
What are SMART goals in sales?
You want to create goals that team members can understand and achieve. To do so, make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T.:
Sales goals that aren’t S.M.A.R.T. typically leave your team with more questions than answers. For example, say your team is told to “grow annual revenue.” This requires a lot of clarification: Grow revenue by how much? By when?
Or, consider the goal of “closing 8 million new sales by the end of the month.” This target is specific, measurable, actionable, and time-bound—but it’s certainly not realistic.
S.M.A.R.T. objectives, like the ones below, are crystal clear and meet all the criteria.
- Increase annual revenue from $500,000 to $650,000.
- Send handwritten notes to 150 MQLs by the end of the quarter.
- Close 75 sales by the end of the quarter.
- Open 200 new accounts by the end of the year.
- Use sales engagement automation tools to send personalized emails at scale to 25,000 past clients this month.
- Increase quarterly revenue by 15 percent.
One final tip for setting S.M.A.R.T. sales goals is to create them with your team, not for your team. When you involve them in the goal-setting process, you give them a chance to voice their opinions and concerns—this is empowering and helps them feel valued. They’re the people who are closest to your customers, too, so it’s essential to incorporate their input when establishing goals.
How to track your sales goals
Once you’ve set your S.M.A.R.T. sales goals, make sure you’re tracking and evaluating them effectively and proactively. This helps you recognize patterns early on in the sales process and make any needed adjustments.
Check-in regularly with your sales team on the status of their goals, and provide support and encouragement to keep them motivated. If you notice a sales rep struggling to meet their targets, ask them what additional resources you can provide to help them out.
You can also use a CRM to easily keep tabs on sales performance. A CRM like Zendesk Sell helps you manage customer data, set and track goals, monitor your team’s pipeline, and perform sales forecasting. You can even create reports to determine whether your team is on track, ahead, or behind in meeting key objectives and milestones.
Effective sales goals go beyond profit
The best sales managers focus on all aspects of the sales process. Your sales goals should go beyond dollar figures to include the human side of sales—specifically, the relationships between sales agents and customers. But the relationship between sales leaders and their teams can also make all the difference.
Set your targets based on the unique needs of your company and team, and involve your sales agents to ensure goals are not only challenging but also realistic. Allowing team members a voice in sales goal creation can help profoundly to gain engagement and buy-in.
Once you have your sales goals in place, use a sales CRM like Zendesk Sell to monitor performance and keep your team focused so you can crush your goals.