Looking back at the past year, it has been a rollercoaster for all businesses due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Most companies started working from home or adopted hybrid techniques, some firms even shut down completely. Sales forecasts predicted at the beginning of the year were hardly ever met, profits dropped drastically, and many people were made redundant. As a result, millions of unemployment claims were filed in late March 2020. So if you’re a business owner, there’s no doubt that uncertainty has disrupted your ‘normal’ last year, and will continue to be a major source of anxiety and stress in 2022. It’s much more difficult now to make future predictions about your firm’s profitability and sales; however, we have learned so much from this pandemic, and have gained experience on how to operate and plan in such a complex environment. Setting sales goals puts everyone in the organization on the right track towards a shared target.
Here are some tips on how you can set ideal sale objectives for yourself this year.
Disregard Your Long-term Plan
If your business plan is a long-term five-year plan, you have got to narrow it down ASAP before you open your 2022 books. That plan was set a while ago when different information was presented, including different economic, social, political, and environmental factors. The pandemic was never predicted in this plan, neither were the economic recessions and downfalls, so the sad truth is that this plan is almost useless at this moment in time.
The old plan may have predicted a high increase in sales, new product development, and several product launches; however, no one expects a new virus to come crushing all our objectives. So, the best thing to do is to set quarterly sale objectives, as the business environment has never been more dynamic, market conditions are frequently changing, and new data is presented around the clock. For instance, if you set a quarterly sales goal of $2.5 million, at the end of the quarter stop and evaluate your performance: have we achieved high sales, and did we meet this goal? If not, identify what went wrong and what was the source of deviance, was it internal or external? That way, you can decide whether to set better, more attainable sales goals for the next quarter or work harder to reach this number. Also, you’ll be able to know how effective the sales departments were, and it’s also very important that you do not base your sales forecasts on past years as everything has changed dramatically.
SMART goals are very common nowadays and can be very effective if you apply them to your sales goals. Set specific sales goals such as an increase in sales by 15% by the end of the quarter. Discuss this goal with your sales department and hear them out. You can also read sales professionals’ blogs, through a website or a platform that helps you set perfect sales goals. They also have to be measurable; decide on criteria to measure goal attainment, whether that be income statement figures, revenue, or the number of products sold. The goal should be attainable, so don’t set the goal too high. For instance, you can’t set $400 million sales as a goal to be reached by the end of the quarter; this can demotivate the sales department and the organization as a whole, as they will burn out trying to produce and achieve a sales number that’s almost impossible to attain. Needless to say, the goal should be relevant to what your business does, and the sales goal should be in line with the overall business plan and organizational goals. Don’t forget the timeliness of the objective as well. This way, you can plan, use your time wisely and be as efficient as possible.
Did you know that the SMART method of goal setting has developed from five key principles, referred to as the 4C’s? They stand for:
Research Competitors and Establish a Benchmark
Carry out competitive analysis, research the competitors and most successful rivals in your industry, gather quantitative and qualitative data about their sales performance and objectives, this will help you set a benchmark. Besides, you’ll be able to know the number of sales you want to reach to obtain a large market share and become a market leader.
In a nutshell, if you want to set the ideal sale objectives for your business in 2022, focus on the current situations and market forces. Communicate with your sales team to know your capabilities and resources, and make sure you will be able to attract customers and compete to reach your sales targets.