Goals for Building Relationships between Sales Managers and Their Reps
Effective leadership, as we’ve discussed in a previous blog, stems from the ability to assess employees as individuals and help them achieve their personal goals. This is the best path to success for both sales reps and their managers to succeed. However, leaders seem to struggle with the idea of the carrot and the stick, when in reality, it’s best to throw those concepts in the trash. There are many ways to create positive relationships with your employees, and they begin with setting goals on an individual level.
Start by setting a S.M.A.R.T. (smart, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely) goal based on what the sales rep needs. This is where the “smart” portion comes into play. You need to carefully assess what that individual struggles with and what they’re good at. Has this rep performed well in the past and recently started to struggle? Try to analyze what might have changed and set goals based on what they’ve achieved in the past.
Now that you have a foundation, it’s time to set measurable goals for improvement. You can’t expect drastic change after one coaching; let’s face it, no manager is that good. Small, quantifiable improvements based on what you’ve learned will help you set these goals. That’s where the next part of S.M.A.R.T. comes in.
Attainability is a MUST for goal setting in sales. After some time has passed and you’ve been able to compare their performance, it’s time for some correction. Are they improving on the path you’ve set; are there ways they can adjust based on what you’ve seen? Don’t expect it to be a one and done thing. You might need to deviate from your initial strategy to ensure their success. This will help make sure the goals you set are attainable.
The next thing you need to ask, “is the goal relevant to the individual employee?” If your rep is struggling with closing deals, then it’s probably not a good idea to make their goal centered around getting more appointments. They can already do that part of the job and do it well. You need to make an attainable goal based on closing.
Timing is also vital when setting goals. Along with the plausible sales quota you’ve set, there’s typically a timeframe in which to achieve this goal too. This doesn’t only apply to the rep, but to the manager as well. A manager’s job is to ensure their employee’s success. If you set a goal, you need to make sure they’re succeeding during the process and not just reacting to their failure after the fact. That’s why it’s important to touch base and make yourself available. This way, you know what’s happening and can correct errors as they occur.
At the end of the day, employees need to come first. People want to know that they’re growing in their career, and developing their skills is the best indicator of that. By setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, you’re showing them they have value as an individual, not just as an employee of the company.