Goals for a Sales Department
Setting goals for a sales department goes beyond trying to increase the amount of money you bring in. Using a variety of strategies, you can increase your sales in a number of specific ways, helping you avoid dependency on one or two methods or accounts. Adding new sales goals to your business model will help you protect yourself against downturns that might otherwise seriously damage your company.
The most obvious goal for a sales department is to increase the amount you sell. Not only should you try to increase use among your current customers, you should also attempt to increase sales by targeting first-time users. In addition to total sales increases, look at increasing sales of certain products, based on their profit margins.
If you sell more than one product or service, set specific goals for selling each. This will help you maximize your attempts to sell high volumes of low-margin items and optimal numbers of lower-volume, high-margin items. At some point, trying to squeeze a few more sales out of either category can be more trouble than it’s worth, so motivate your sales team to reach goals in both areas.
One reason small businesses fail is because they rely on only one or two clients or a very narrow segment of the market. If you lose a key customer or a particular target customer group gets tired of you or finds an alternative they like better, you can instantly lose your income without enough time to react. Make an effort to diversify your sales of certain products or services and your customer base. Analyze what would happen to your business if you lose one customer. Look at what percentage of a particular market segment you need to maintain to keep your doors open. Set targets to reduce your reliance on these customers.
In addition to getting regular customers to buy more, make it a goal to open new accounts and attract new customers. Motivate your sales force with bonuses for opening new accounts or giving them higher commissions on new customers. Don’t make bonuses and commissions so attractive that your salespeople neglect your current customers. Analyze you sales geographically to see if you are missing markets into which you can expand. If you don’t have the travel budget to visit new areas, consider online sales campaigns or using local distributors.
Another way to set sales goals is to set percentage increase goals. This is an especially useful method in mature businesses, where you are not likely to double and triple your business as you did when you first opened. Analyze the marketplace, your competition and your market share and meet with your sales staff to set realistic goals. At some small businesses, annual increases in profit percentages decrease, even though you are not losing any sales or profits year to year. Realize that the older your company, the more incremental, rather than exponential, sales and profit gains you’ll have. One way to increase your percentages is to upsell on sales. For example, a restaurant might try to push more wine or appetizers, while a car dealer might try to sell more options at the end of a sale.