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Sales - 6 min READ

A masterclass in setting realistic sales objectives

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Author photo: Kimberlee Meier

Kimberlee Meier


Setting sales objectives for your team is a crucial part of your drive to your company’s overall goals.

It can be a great way to make sure your sales team stay on track and are given a clear picture of the ultimate vision of your company. But more so, if done properly, sales objectives can pinpoint leakages throughout your entire company in areas such as churn, customer lifetimes, and revenue.

It’s important your sales objectives fit with the overall vision of your company, so let’s dig in and set a plan to get your sales objectives up to scratch.

So, what’s a sales objective?

Sales objectives are goals that can be set on any and every part of your sales strategy. As they are such a versatile tool in the overall toolkit of your sales strategy, you can set sales objectives from anything to decreasing expenses in your sales department to building your customer database.

Let’s break it down.

Just say you’re getting sales goal feedback lately about your customer service department that’s less than amazing. One way you could try to pick it back up as a sales manager could be to set a sales objective of ‘achieve and maintain outstanding customer service,’ and then set specific metrics and targets for that goal.

Here are some examples of good sales objectives.

Good sales objectives are big picture goals that your sales team is gunning for.

They will make a positive change in your, and other sales managers, sales strategy—no matter how big or small. By setting an objective that won’t drown your team in specifics, you can keep your team motivated and on track across every part of your sales strategy.

When setting your sales objectives, you should remember that they are a long-term plan for sales management.

They’re there to get you where you want to be as a company, so only take on sales objectives that fit with your company’s vision—not just because you feel like you have to.

Here are some crucial sales objectives to try in your sales strategy. There might even be some sales goals you’ve never thought of.

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Sales objectives for increasing upsells & cross-sells

Are you missing out on opportunities to sell more such as a unique sales activity, and feel like you could be doing more as a sales manager?

Whether it’s cross-selling to launch a new product or missing out on upsell opportunities, if it’s not in your sales team’s strategy, they’re probably not focusing on it.

An example of a sales strategy to try and make the most of these lost opportunities may be something like ‘increase in-house cross-selling’ or ‘double in-house upsells for the quarter.’

Obviously, these objectives are quite broad, but they give you the foundation to lay a really solid sales strategy for your objectives.

Bonus tip: a good CRM tool can help your sales team easily identify possible cross-sell and upsell opportunities in their current customer database.

A tool like Copper not only tracks where you’re at with all your clients in terms of sales and deals, but also alerts the sales rep automatically to further sales opportunities they may have missed.

Sales objectives for nurturing current customers properly

We all know that our current customers are the bread and butter of our business, but do your sales objectives actually reflect this?

We aren’t just talking about closing and upselling either. Objectives that focus on the quality of your customer service and increasing customer retention should all be types of things you are aiming to target in your sales objectives, including existing customers.

Some examples of sales objectives that focus on your, and other sales managers, current customers are:

  • Achieve and maintain amazing customer service
  • Develop and use a customer database
  • Increase customer retention by 5% within one year

These objectives for your current customers are focused enough to build a sales strategy around, but open-ended enough that you have room to adjust when it comes to making them realistic and workable for your own team.

Sales objectives for cutting churn rates

A recent article from the Harvard Business Review found getting a new customer down your sales funnel will cost anywhere from five to 25 times more than keeping one that you already have.

With stats like this, It’s obviously super important for companies to hold on to their customers, so your sale objectives and sales activities should reflect this.

Want to cut your churn rates? Then an example of a sales objective may be to ‘cut customer churn rates by 1%.’

Once you’ve decided on the overall sales objective, it leaves room to create a plan that delves into where your customers are churning and why that may be.

You might need to focus on the quality of your customer service, your product walkthrough after purchase, or simply your product offering when developing a sales plan.

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Destroy churn.

Learn strategies to reduce churn and keep customers longer with this handbook.

Sales objectives for decreasing customer acquisition costs

If getting a new customer is costing you more than it should, setting a sales objective can help you cut costs and make a better long-term strategy for your sales team.

Let’s say the average cost for your sales team to bring a new customer on board is $200 but ideally, it needs to be $150. Your sales objective could read something like ‘decrease customer acquisition costs by 25%.’

Now, this number may seem daunting, but once you start to map out your sales funnel and where you’re spending the most money (more funnel management tips here), it shouldn’t be difficult to spot opportunities to cut your customer acquisition costs.

Your sales reps might be spending too much time on leads that haven’t been qualified. Or maybe they’re getting bogged down with mundane admin tasks when trying to seal the deal with a new customer.

Whatever it is, once you have your sales objective in mind, you can focus on where your downfalls are in your acquisition process and start fixing them.

What’s the best way to meet your sales objectives?

Let’s say you’ve set a sales objective to increase company revenue by 5% for the year.

Seems like a pretty ambitious goal, right? Only if you don’t have a plan in place.

After you’ve set your sales objective, you need to write down actionable and measurable steps to get you there, such as working out how many new customers per month you need to acquire to meet the revenue target.

Or after looking into your in-house upsells and cross-sells, maybe you realize you’ve been missing out on a lot of opportunities through not nurturing your current customers.

First things first: set your sales objective, then focus on how to get there.

Break it down into setting clear sales targets and achievable, measurable metrics to help your company reach its ultimate goal.

There’s a difference between sales objectives and metrics.

Sales objectives and metrics aren’t the same thing. But if they work in sync, it can be a massive boost for your company’s sales strategy.

Metrics will allow you to create steps to achieve your sales objective and measure your progress along the way—and it’s important to do this to keep on track.

While some objectives are broader and may be hard to track with metrics (such as customer service), many sales objectives for every sales representative, such as increasing customer retention and decreasing acquisition costs will rely on metrics for success.

For example, if you have a plan to cut customer acquisition costs by 10%, you then need to trickle that objective through your sales team and their costs to achieve it.

The metrics might be to cut down on on administration tasks by five hours a week per sales rep to cut costs, or to have a more measurable system in place when it comes to qualifying leads in the first place to save money on a dead end.

Setting sales objectives get you closer to your company’s ultimate goal.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Although sales objectives might look like broad strokes of the brush, they’re vital for your company to set—and achieve—its ultimate goal in working with new and existing customers.

The ability to apply sales objectives to a broad range of focuses across your entire company is a massive positive for any sales strategy. Start planning your goals, after learning what are sales objectives, now.

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