It’s widely accepted that goal-setting is the best way to become more organized, motivated, and successful. This is especially true for sales teams, for whom performance is often evaluated through a range of metrics and assessments. The exact goals you set for your team will depend on a variety of factors, such as team size, industry, length of sales cycle, and more.

Table of Contents

If you’re wondering how to set targets for sales teams, there is a plethora of resources and templates available to help you get there. No matter what you choose to use, it is important for your salespeople to frequently set goals (both short and long-term) and hold themselves accountable. Let’s explore them together in more detail.

What are Sales Targets?

Sales targets pertain to specific parameters that you wish for your sales staff to achieve. This can include getting a certain number of deals signed or discovering and cold calling a predetermined number of opportunities that could potentially become clients. Hitting sales targets is crucial to the success of your organization; they serve not only as indicators of your team’s efficiency but also whether they are being guided in an appropriate direction and targeting the right prospects.

Benefits of Setting Sales Targets

  • Enhanced Focus
Clearly outlining sales targets is akin to having a roadmap. It ensures that both the organization and its sales team understand their exact destination, fostering a more focused effort towards attaining these goals.
  • Motivation Amplifier
Having achievable yet challenging targets acts as a catalyst for motivation. This drive to meet or exceed specific goals often leads to increased productivity and greater engagement within the sales team.
  • Alignment and Tracking
Sales targets serve as a means to align individual efforts with company objectives. They offer a tangible metric for monitoring progress, facilitating the identification of areas that require improvement or adjustment.

Challenges in Setting Sales Targets

  • Resistance from Salespeople
Sales targets can sometimes appear overwhelming or unrealistic to team members. This reluctance often arises from a fear of failing or doubts about the feasibility of the goals.
  • Unrealistic Expectations
There's a fine balance between setting ambitious targets and setting ones that are unattainable. Without this balance, targets may demotivate the team or encourage unethical sales tactics to reach these goals.
  • Difficulty in Measurement
Remember, setting sales targets is a balancing act. It's about setting goals that are ambitious yet achievable, motivating without overwhelming, and providing direction without stifling creativity and flexibility in sales strategies.

Realistic Goals & How to Define Them

Goals that are realistic are those that are attainable within your organization without having to pull some sort of “miracle.” In other words, you need to bear in mind factors at play including your departmental capacity, salesperson experience, target prospects and their level of difficulty, and other factors. Consider the SMART acronym for setting goals, which stands for the following:


You should base your SMART goals on those of the company, realistic market potential (ideally supported by factual data and statistics), and the potential of your sales team both individually and collectively.

Defining Goals to Achieve

Of course, in order to set SMART goals, you need to define them and set priorities in order. If your team is having a hard time closing more than a dozen deals per week, for example, don’t suddenly demand that they hit 50; instead, set a realistically higher figure and gradually increase it as they hit each one. 

For monthly goals, you might want to adapt this strategy to hit a specific figure in revenue. Alternatively, sales managers can set annual targets for client churn (thereby seeking to reduce it to a specific number or percentage of signed-up clients), total sales generated per rep, or otherwise.

Balancing Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Achieving harmony between short-term and long-term sales goals requires a strategic approach. It's about reaping immediate wins while laying down the groundwork for enduring success, ensuring that every victory contributes to the larger trajectory of the organization's growth and sustainability.

  • Immediate Gains vs. Sustainable Growth

Short-term goals often revolve around immediate gains, hitting monthly or quarterly targets. On the flip side, long-term goals focus on sustainable growth, building lasting customer relationships, and solidifying market presence.

  • Alignment for Sustainable Success

Balancing short-term wins with long-term objectives ensures that the sales team doesn't solely chase quick wins at the expense of sustainable growth. It aligns efforts toward building a foundation for continuous success, fostering customer loyalty, and steadily expanding market share over time.

  • Adaptation and Flexibility

Striking a balance means adapting strategies that generate immediate results while keeping an eye on the long game. It involves a blend of short-term tactics and long-term vision, allowing for flexibility to adjust approaches based on evolving market conditions and customer needs.

Four Main Strategies to Consider:

Task Clarity

According to the Harvard Business Review, “sales task clarity has a greater impact on the motivation of field salespeople than ego drive or compensation method.” Ensuring that your seller knows exactly how to reach their goals will eliminate reluctance and help them work as efficiently as possible. When developing goals with your seller, be clear and concise on what they should be doing and don’t leave any room for interpretation.

Focus On What's Controllable

If your sellers are focusing on end results for their goals, they are missing a very vital piece of goal setting – the controllable activities that get them there. If they simply state “I’d like to add five new opportunities to my funnel” or “I’d like to get two new signed deals this week,” then those goals are out of their control and rely on other people.

The sales profession is often riddled with rejection and can seem daunting at times. Therefore, if you’re unsure how to set targets for sales team members, it’s important to focus on controllable, attainable goals. As Business Insider writes, doing this is all about being specific. And, according to HubSpot and Harvard's study, specific goals increase motivation and performance by 30%.

When organizations set goals that are dependent on external factors, success becomes harder to reach and motivation can be derailed. Instead, work with your sales team to define the activities that will achieve their goals and set targets for those activities.

When your seller wants to add X number of new opportunities to their funnel this week, ask them about how many dials, emails, companies prospected and otherwise are required to reach that end goal. In turn, reaching that level of activity becomes the goal. Not only does this help build momentum with incremental, attainable wins, but it also aids managers in highlighting potential areas of friction. If your seller is not meeting expectations, you can break down and examine their controllable activities to determine how they can improve.

Taking Ownership and Accountability

After you and your sellers develop clear and controllable activity goals for the week, month, and quarter, the next step is to hold them accountable. Accountability is one of the most important elements of a great sales culture. One of the simplest ways to do this is to have them share their goals with you and the team. Typically, this is done during a team meeting where everyone quickly shares their own goals for the week.

Additionally, have your seller document their progress towards the goal and email them to you on a weekly basis. This ensures accountability and sets expectations for the days ahead. After the week is over, it is also important to recap performance against goals and provide feedback. If they exceeded or fell short of their goals, always ask them why and start with the positives.

Track, Analyze, and Adjust

Report generation and data analytics are your best friends when it comes to establishing and hitting desired sales goals. Through figures pertaining to sales, deals closed, and even the number of touchpoints required per client, you’ll be able to gradually paint a clearer picture of each sales rep’s performance capabilities. This aids managers in gauging whether there’s room for improvement or if an even loftier goal is now attainable, should the sales reps in question have become more valuable to the company.

Adapting Goals to Changing Market Conditions

In a dynamic market landscape, adapting sales targets is crucial to staying ahead. Market fluctuations, economic shifts, or evolving customer preferences demand nimble adjustments. 

  1. Embrace flexibility by regularly assessing market trends and customer needs. 
  2. Stay attuned to indicators like demand changes or competitor moves, prompting swift target modifications. 
  3. Foster an agile sales culture, encouraging open communication among teams to swiftly pivot strategies. 
  4. Set benchmarks aligned with market realities, allowing for periodic reassessment and recalibration. 
  5. Prioritize adaptability, empowering teams to iterate tactics and goals, ensuring alignment with the ever-changing market conditions.

Setting goals is not a new concept and is a very common practice, and knowing how to set targets for sales team members within your particular organization takes time and practice. To maximize the effectiveness of your team’s sales goals, be sure to incorporate task clarity, controllable metrics, and accountability.

For assistance in improving your sales team’s efficiency, consider reaching out to us at Funnel Clarity today for a free 30-minute consultation. We’re happy to help.