- Why are goals useful for my business?
- What is benchmarking?
- How can I create benchmarks for my business goals?
Let’s find out answers…
Picture Victoria, Who’s invented The Power Suit, a special vacuum suit people can wear to clean their house with their hands and feet.
Having manufactured a few suits, Victoria’s thinking about selling them – after all, there’s probably a market out there for people who want to clean their spaces limb by limb.
Still, Victoria’s never worked in sales or run a business before. So what next step makes the most sense for her as she think about how to sell her space age cleaning machine?
Whether you’re a new or established business, selling products without setting products without setting sales goals is like running a marathon without training: It’s bound to lead to pain.
Businesses often feel like they should always be selling more, more, more. But if you set realistic goals, you’ll have something to work towards strategically, rather than just forcing yourself to go and go until you collapse.
You can also use your strategy to evaluate how you’re doing. If you’re got a clear plan laid out, it’s easier to see what sales techniques are helping you approach your goals and what are just gumming up the works.
Making rational, realistic sales goals might be super-important, but it doesn’t have to be super-complex.
First, break down your sales process into several steps. You’re got to find potential customers (AKA generate leads), contact them, close the sales, and deliver the goods. Then, give each part of this process its own measurable goals.
Say you’re generating leads. Consider how many potential customers you want to find and what percentage of these leads need to turn into buyers to be worthwhile to you. The answers to these questions can become your goals.
Ask these types of questions for each part of your sales process, making sure each question leads to an objective you can measure and track. Then put all the info together, and you should have reasonable sales goals to pursue.
A great way to help keep your goals realistic is to imagine your ideal customers – the people most likely to buy your stuff. Consider their income, location, and interests. This can help you figure out how many people you can reach and how many of them might buy your products.
Sales goals aren’t just something to set for yourself. If you have a sales team, make sure you’re setting both individual and group goals for them, too.
You can set the same goals for all the salespeople in a particular region or any members of your team who share the same responsibilities. You can also set goals based on past performance.
If you’re measuring your sales team’s success, make sure they know it. Specify how you’ll evaluate them, whether it’s the amount of leads they generate, sales they close, or income they bring in. that way, they’ll know what to work towards.
Tools like bonuses, commission, and non-cash incentives can go a long way to helping your salespeople achieve the goals you’ve set for them. Remember: People like to be recognized for bringing in business.
Now, sale isn’t like toddler soccer – all for fun, with no lasting impact. Reaching your goals matters. That’s why it’s important to track your progress.
Tracking your sales goals means measuring and collecting data on how your sales are performing. There are lots of ways to evaluate your sales methods: tallying the revenue you bring in, seeing how many leads you generate, etc.
Once you’re generating data, create a timeline for reviewing it. For example, sales form 1-week specials can be checked weekly. Result of other initiatives can take longer to see, so you might want to measure them quarterly or annually.
This data can give you insights on perfecting your sales tactics. Let’s get back to vacuum seller Victoria. 6 months ago, she started selling suits in a few pop-up stores and on her website. Reviewing the data, website sales were much higher.
So, for this upcoming quarter, she’s going to take the money she would have spent on pop-up stores and put it into online ads to drive people to her website. She’s also going to take the stores’ staff and have them trained as customer service reps.
Over time, Victoria will be able to compare her current sales against her own past performance and the sales of her competitors. This is called “benchmarking.”
Benchmarking helps businesses measure which of their sales strategies are most effective. It also helps them see whether they’re keeping up with competitors and industry leaders.
You can use benchmarking for performance-based data like units sold, profit margins, etc. or you can benchmark your processes to get insights on things like customer service, product reliability, or brand reputation.
When you benchmark your current processes against your past methods, as well as those of your competitors and industry leaders, you can see what’s most effective (AKA the “best practices”) for each process.
Keep benchmarking and evaluating over time. The more you learn time. The more you learn about your business, the closer you can get to your goals as you hopefully become a lean, mean selling machine.
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Remember, understanding your ideal customer can help you set measurable sales goals that you can benchmark.