The key to hitting sales goals starts with setting meaningful goals in the first place, goals producers believe in. A critical element of making goals meaningful is breaking them down into a level of detail that makes them measurable and manageable.
Shockingly, many agencies don’t even set new business goals. And, of those that do, all too often there is no real thought that goes into setting the goal. Sometimes, it is simply decided that everyone will be expected to grow by X%. Or, another common approach is to just throw out a round number of a goal, maybe $100,000.
An arbitrary annual goal rarely motivates a producer. For one, because there was no real thought put into it, they don’t believe in the goal. And because it is and end-of-year goal, there is no sense of urgency.
Instead, put some planning into creating a goal that is meaningful for each producer’s individual circumstances and current capabilities. Break the goal down in a way that makes it more manageable, more measurable, and creates a greater sense of urgency.
Use the following three steps with each producer to establish such a goal. It will be most impactful when the producer completes this goal setting process themselves.
Step 1 | Define Gold-level target
Given the largest accounts you have written in the past, the resources you have access to through the agency, the market in which you compete, and a general sense of self-confidence, what is the largest account you can see yourself writing this year? While this would be your “sale of the year," you truly believe you can write an account of this size.
Step 2 | Define Silver-level target
Take that same line of thinking down to a quarterly level. What size account do you feel confident that, given the right number of opportunities, you could write on a quarterly basis?
Step 3 | Define Bronze-level target
Taking the thinking down one more level, what size account do you feel confident you could write a half dozen of during the year?
Belief in the goal
Because the producer was the one who completed the exercise, they believe in the validity of the goal and have greater confidence in their ability to achieve it. By breaking that big, arbitrary goal down into the profiled accounts they will target (gold, sliver, bronze), it gives a clarity to the goal and it becomes infinitely more attainable in their mind. And, it isn’t unusual that the resulting goal is actually larger than goals that have been given to them in the past.
Part of what drives this belief is that it only has them writing 11 accounts rather than some unknown number.
Manageable, measurable, and urgent
Have the producer start tracking his/her pipeline based on the same structure of targeted prospects on which they set the goal. More specifically, have them segment their pipeline into opportunities that achieve the Gold-level, Silver-level, and Bronze-level targets. This additional level of detail keeps them focused on the details they need to measure and manage on their way to a successful year.
Traditional end-of-year goals don’t create the necessary sense of urgency. To do so with the Gold-Silver-Bronze goal, measure prospecting activity on a quarterly basis based on the goal itself.
Each quarter, the producer should target putting 11 prospects into their pipeline that mirror the goal they set:
- Put 1 prospect into the pipeline that satisfies the Gold-level target
- 4 prospects that satisfy the Silver-level
- 6 that satisfy the Bronze-level
This quarterly prospecting goal provides the sense of urgency previously missing and makes prospecting activity more intentional and effective.
If the producer is simply achieving a close ratio of 25%, this approach is going to ensure they hit their sales goal.