How to Set Sales Goals for the New Year


A successful sales year only comes with lots of planning. Q4 is coming to an end and gives a perfect time to analyze 2016 + plan for 2017. Let’s discuss how to set sales goals for the new year.

Reflect on 2016

Before we think about setting up for the near year, let’s see what you did to set up for success in 2016. Did you crush your goals? If you answered yes, maybe your goals were a little too attainable and you could have reached for more. If you answered no, where did you go off track?

If you haven’t done so already, one of the most valuable things you can do now is set up a sales funnel that you can monitor. Typical points in the conversion funnel such as marketing qualified, sales accepted, and sales qualified should all be recorded so that you can identify where there is a breakdown in your sales process. Perhaps you aren’t getting enough leads or maybe your sales team isn’t making enough calls to qualify. If you are already watching these data points, maybe think about adding a few more that are important to your business like demos given or call made. Laying the groundwork now will help you identify where you can make improvements. 

You can combine these numbers with environmental factors such as adding or losing a team member, time of year (around holidays or during the summer things tend to slow due to many contacts being out of office), or changes to which industry event you attended the previous years. Collecting the right data will help you not only pivot in the middle of the year if you see you aren’t on track to make your goals, but will also allow you to plan better for the future. 

Empower Sales Team

Don’t just think about your team when setting goals – get them involved. If you are dictating to your team what to do, how to do it, and when to do it then you won’t get the buy-in necessary to smash your sales goals. Instead give your team the freedom and flexibility to determine the tactics they will use to get to the goals. If you have any new reps that just joined your team or you plan to add some new reps in the coming year, do you have an onboarding plan? New reps should have a mix of goals, from spending time with different business leaders to understanding the business to traditional sales goals. The same principals apply in teaching the new reps their role in the bigger picture. This helps create an empowered sales team.  

Manager or Mentor?

Referring to the above section, as a manager/director, how are you connecting with your sales team? Do you have weekly/monthly/quarterly meetings with your team to check-in on company and personal goals? If not, think about setting up these check-in meetings one-on-one and with the full team to discover any pain points or items that need to be discussed. This leads to a proactive goal management approach instead of just “setting and forgetting” the goals. 

But let’s be honest, the check-in meetings are only productive if your reps feel like they can be frank about challenges they’re having. It’s best to have a mentor managerial style so you can work together for the collective good of the company. Think on your style, do you mentor your reps or just bark numbers at them? Consider making a change in the new year, if it’s the latter.

Connect with Marketing Team

Just as reps and goals go hand in hand, sales and marketing go hand in hand. Connect with your marketing team to align goals for lead generation in the new year. Have open conversations about what lead generation efforts were done the previous year (tradeshows attended, webinars hosted, case studies written and advertised, etc) and how they performed. Maybe you attended a large industry event and sent half of your sales force but realized the attendees aren’t your type of prospects – send fewer reps to represent your company and allocate other reps to a different networking event. 

What new ideas does the marketing team have for lead generation and branding outreach in the next year? How can the sales team leverage these efforts? Do you plan to build any new nurture programs for a new product or service you’re offering? If not, use this time to re-evaluate the performance of your current funnels and make any necessary adjustments now before 2017 comes full force. 

Set Up for 2017

Now that you’ve reviewed your efforts and goals from 2016, you have to tools to set up for a successful new sales year. Attaining sales goals is more than just numbers, but about the people and the morale of your team working towards these overall company goals. Motivate and incentivize the team and help them meet and exceed expectations in 2017. 


Whereoware Team