Sales Leadership Tip: Setting Key Numbers and Getting Buy In

Want your direct reports to buy in when setting key numbers and quotas for them? It’s all about steering the conversation and allowing them get involved in the process of determining their own goals. By doing so, they’ll ultimately be more willing and committed to achieving them.

As sales leaders, we know the importance of having frequent conversations with our direct reports, especially when it comes to their numbers. There are plenty of key numbers to be discussed, from the number of prospects in their pipeline and how many new appointments they’ve set to how many proposals they have out and the number of current clients they feel they can successfully upsell or cross sell. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll also need to help them set weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual goals for this year and assist them in determining the best activities to yield those results.

When having any sort of conversation around key numbers with your direct reports, it’s always better to ASK them to come up with their own figures than to TELL them the goals you think they should achieve.

Start the Conversation

Have you had a conversation with each of your direct reports yet regarding their goals for the year ahead? If not, here are some ways you can speak with them about setting their own key numbers and how you can guide them towards, rather than tell them, the quotas that match your expectations:

  • Start by asking them about their previous year. What was last year’s goal? Where did they end up? How much of the total revenue was repeat business, upselling or cross selling existing clients, and net new business?
  • Then, ask about previous years as far back as they can recall. What information can they pull from years prior to compare against last year that can help inform this year’s decisions?
  • Next, discuss their existing pipeline. How much of this do they confidently feel they can count on for new business this year?
  • Lastly, ask them to evaluate their current clients, consider previous years’ data as discussed and make some projections. How much of last year’s business do they think they can count on for repeat business this year? How much do they feel they can cross sell or upsell to current clients based on previous years? How much brand-new business do they think they’ll be able to close? What is their ultimate revenue goal for the year?
Set Their Goals Together

Is their number close to the one you had in mind for them? If so, that’s great that you’re on the same page! Often, however, their intended goals may fall short of your expectations. When this happens, it’s time to ask some additional questions to try to guide them to where you are.

For example, let’s say they initially set their goal at $100K in net new business for the year but you know they can bring in twice that amount. Perhaps remind them that last year they brought in $150K in new business so they can certainly do at least the same amount, or you might want to point out they may be low-balling as you know they’re capable of more. You can also point out that if they just bring in one double and one triple, that’s $200K in revenue right there. You could initially agree to set their goal at $100K but then ask for a stretch goal because you know they’ll reach it. Challenge their goals and encourage them to reach to achieve the next level.

Reverse Engineer Their Activities

Finally, it’s time to help them outline what activities they can do to achieve their goals. Clarify what a single, double, triple, home run and grand slam looks like for them. Review what they did last year and discuss which activities they should stop, start and continue doing based on what yielded results in the past and what didn’t.

By sitting down with each of your direct reports and encouraging them to set their own key numbers, then working with them to tweak those goals, you’ll get instant buy in and they’ll be more likely to take ownership of – and achieve – their own success!

Want more assistance when it comes to helping your direct reports set their goals? Visit our BDUtensils library to download our free tool, BDU Key Metrics and Numbers, so you have a guide for outlining key metrics and determining the activities that will help them reach their goals.