Setting targets to improve your sales pipeline

< Back to resources

BLOG

Written by Jiggy Patel - 28/04/2017

With a background in CRM implementation, and a current position as a member of Gold-Vision’s sales team, Jiggy gives her advice on how and why to implement targets in your business.

Why use CRM for sales targets?

Having been implementing CRM solutions for over a decade, I’ve gained experience of how setting and measuring performance by targets can help all kinds of organisations across all industries.

A CRM solution allows a company to collate the data which is being held in Excel spreadsheets, on a desktop or even a little black book! Moving from this type of solution to recording your sales pipeline in a purpose built tool holds a number of benefits.

Whilst the most commonly written about, setting targets to increase sales pipeline is not the only reason, or benefit, for an organisation to implement targets. Increasing customer knowledge and employee professionalism is often high up on the list.

Once you’ve got your data recorded in CRM you can use it for forecasting and improving your sales teams performance against defined targets. From my experience, getting a working CRM solution in place will require some assistance and advice on managing cultural changes.

Personally as a sales person, my CRM pipeline and targets motivate me to beat that target every month. I use it to break down how I’ll meet my target, and to identify the opportunities I haven’t touched recently enough. I’d find it very daunting to not be able to see my pipeline, I wouldn’t know how to improve it.

What are the benefits of setting targets?

Light targets will allow you to help motivate individuals so they understand what's expected of them. You may want to review targets after the first 3 months once you know what's realistic or change them based on seasonality.  

Be upfront with your teams as to what you are trying to achieve and how it will benefit the organisation in the long run. Communication of what you are trying to achieve will help get your team to participate. If you’ve thought about your key reporting requirements when you communicate to your team this will help you strengthen the buy in.

CRM targets can help to embed a culture of account management within a company by giving employees a cause: “what’s in it for me?” but also allowing them to understand how they are performing. They provide you with a controlled process for monitoring and reporting and allow the business to improve. Capture a few key fields and make these “mandatory” to allow you to get effective reporting.

A simple example: managing sales targets in CRM

It’s great to list the theory and reasons for doing it. But I realise that implementing a CRM can be a big step for a business. Sometimes it’s important to see how as well as why. I’ve created a simple scenario using Gold-Vision CRM to manage monthly sales targets.

  1. Let’s say my manager set the target of £50,000 monthly for New Business Sales. As all of our closed quotes are within Gold-Vision, I start every morning by checking the Sales Forecast dashboard. It gives me a quick view of where we are each month.

  1. We have short weekly sales meetings to check in on targets. Using a projector in our meeting room, we have a quick run through the open opportunities in our pipeline. Clicking on any bar in the Sales Forecast bar chart leads us straight through to the relevant data in CRM.
  2. On a day-to-day basis our sales manager is always aware of our individual active opportunities and sales visits using his dashboard reports. It means he is always able to pick up a quick call to discuss what we are up to, or to offer advice as we need it.

  1. As all of my active opportunities are in CRM, I get alerted if this one of these companies interacts with us in any way. This could be a website visit, a telephone call into the office, a live chat with our website team or clicking through on a marketing email. I use this information to call my prospects at the optimum time.
  2. Being open and transparent helps us as sales people to gain engagement with colleagues across the business. We use an internal chat and public dashboards to make sure we all keep in contact and help each other to meet our sales targets. Just because we are out on the road, we aren’t out of touch with the rest of the team.

 

Setting targets for your business

It’s important to keep your targets realistic and achievable or it could have the opposite effect. When you first start setting targets make sure you review them regularly.

Targets can allow you to identify where individuals or teams may be struggling with a process or where the process may need refining. It doesn’t always mean somebody is under performing. Regularly missing targets can be a strong indicator of a need for additional training or support.

I've worked with several businesses who use targets for managing commission. A business may decide that the information being input into the CRM system is a critical mechanism of managing a bonus or commission scheme. A flexible CRM solution will allow you to monitor this per sale or even per user and provide reporting.

In our business, targets allow us to understand where we are month-on-month by product or service. But, possibly more crucially, we use this information to manage and plan our available implementation resource for new projects. We manage this by actively monitoring our sales target and priority opportunities in a given month.

Example target Benefits

Achieve £500,000 in total sales this month these targets may be broken down by business type e.g. Existing business or new business, or by Product Group

Provide Direction

 

Facilitate Planning

 

Motivate Employees

 

Limit Stress

 

Quicker Results

 

Understand improvements to your existing processes

Fulfil 10 new onsite presentations per sales manager – understand if individuals are struggling with workload or unable to dedicate the required time to visits

40 support issues closed per day – identifying a threshold might allow you to gauge if extra resource is needed to help the team and action this quickly.

15 new enquiries logged per week – this may allow you to identify if you need to review your lead generation activity or marketing in a given month.

Key recommendations

Take your team with you along the journey of pipeline management by communicating your objectives and how you plan to meet them. Use a CRM solution to allow the team to capture vital information but keep it simple to start.

Build in regular meetings and communications to monitor "Did we make it?" Refine your targets along your journey and take the team with you. Monitoring your progress will allow you to improve on key business growth and allow you to identify where improvements need to be made.

Sharing your dashboards and charts with the business allows the whole business to feel engaged in reaching the target – after all these are key business targets not just for sales!

 

About the author

Jiggy’s expertise across both CRM and sales management gives her a unique insight to sales targets and how to make the most of them. Her background includes years of experience implementing software solutions, including Gold-Vision as our Head of Implementation.

In recent years Jiggy has become a key member of our sales team, allowing her to close the loop and build her expertise across sales performance and making the most of CRM as a sales tool.

Jiggy the Author
Contact Jiggy