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7 Tips for Creating Realistic Sales Goals

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You've spent countless hours planning your sales goals for the quarter. You've gathered your team and motivated them. You've created a beautiful graph showing projected results and growth... only to find that actual results fell short.

Published on:
June 4, 2019
Illustrations by:
Written by:
Alison Zook

You've spent countless hours planning your sales goals for the quarter. You've gathered your team and motivated them. You've created a beautiful graph showing projected results and growth... only to find that actual results fell short.

So - what went wrong?

Sometimes the goals you set may be too lofty and/or unrealistic. While ambition is undoubtedly a necessary trait to have as a leader, one must know when to draw the line. Balancing your organization's capability, capacity and drive for success can be difficult sometimes, so we're here to help. Here are seven tips for setting realistic sales goals for your team.

1. Numbers Aren't Everything

Numbers are undeniably important. It allows you and your team to ascertain the level of their performance, and provides a base target for setting sales goals. However, numbers don't account for the little bumps in the road. Sometimes, things simply refuse to go according to plan.

As such:

2. Only Focus on Some Numbers

Only the important numbers matter. Individual performance metrics are a great start. Not everyone can instantly up their game overnight. For the team members who are lagging behind, think about implementing sales coaching. According to Saleshacker, over 86% of salespeople who received excellent sales coaching were able to hit their set goals.

3. Make Goals SMART

Goal setting is most effective if they are SMART goals. SMART is an aptly named acronym designed for effective, results-driven goal-setting.


Be deliberate and precise when setting a goal. For example, "I will convert at least 2 of the next leads I receive into new customers."


A measurable goal must be able to be evaluated using quantifiable data. Following the scenario above, you can determine exactly when this goal is achieved - when two of the five leads make a purchase.


This one is slightly more difficult to abide to. Using old sales benchmarks set by team members is a great start. Slowly tacking on extra milestones should be the next rational step, but again - it's up to you to decide where to set boundaries.


A relevant goal encourages focus-driven success. Avoid setting goals that intersect with other departments, or detract away from your original vision.


A suitable timeframe is sometimes overlooked when setting goals. While deadlines are usually frowned upon by many, they're a significant push to your end results.

4. Empower and Support

Goals and goal-setting are both unquestionably important. However, you'll need to make sure that your team have the tools they need to do so. Be open to any feedback, both positive and negative, and let your team know that your door is always open.

5. Reward Your Team

Rewards don't always have to come after passing a milestone, and don't always have to be a large affair. Micro-rewards are a popular alternative that can be distributed when recognizing achievements, events or purely small day-to-day wins that take place. These micro-rewards are fantastic to pair with stretch goals, the next tip in the series.

If you're feeling the pinch, we've got a handy list of free reward ideas that may rejuvenate your rewards program.

6. Set Stretch Goals

Stretch goals are even higher, but attainable goals for your team. These can be used to further push high performing team members, and encourage bottom performers to put in more effort. Stretch goals aim to motivate the entire team.

7. Have Some Fun With Your Sales Goals

Serve up those serious sales goals with a side of fun. Goal-setting isn't all doom and gloom. For example, take time out of the day to hold brainstorm sessions with goodies readily available.

You could even have a themed monthly sales meeting to shake things up. You want to keep your sales team motivated and engaged with the work they're doing, and the organization they're working for. Having some fun is an excellent way to maintain this.

Wrapping up:

Hopefully, these seven tips have helped you to set SMARTer goals for both you and your team. At Arcade, we help plan your team's goals, challenges, and milestones in a creative and enjoyable fashion. We cater to all business sizes; whether you're a new startup or a prospering organization, we've got you covered.

For more information on how we can help you set better goals for your team, drop a line to any of our Arcade specialists today!

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