Top Sales Goals and Metrics for the Modern Sales Professional

Get on board with the new-school sales goals that help modern sellers achieve success.

December 5, 2017

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For as long as selling has existed, so too have sales goals. It’s a natural fit. Selling requires motivation. Goals motivate.

But as selling evolves, so should our personal sales goals. This isn’t about simply adopting SMART goals, ones that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. This about adopting smarter goals – goals that keep sales professionals and their managers engaged in and focused on the day-to-day activities that ultimately deliver results.

Redefining Sales Goals

What hasn’t changed is that goals should be within your control, measurable, and aligned with your current stage of professional development. However, your sales goals should also be focused on the activities that are leading indicators of success in the modern buying environment. Standard goals and metrics like opportunities created, meetings scheduled, and proposals sent are still valid, but sales reps should expand those metrics to include ones like warm introductions and connections-per-account.

Don’t Confuse Sales Goals with Sales Quotas

Pretty much every sales pro is given a goal to generate a certain amount of revenue in a set time. That’s called a quota, and isn’t the type of sales goal we’re talking about. Don’t get us wrong, quotas matter, but they can be deceiving. Technically a sales pro could be lighting up the leading indicators scorecard only to give up too quickly because the efforts haven’t yet translated to quota attainment, but would have if the sales pro continued down the path.

Modern Goals for Sales Reps

Here are a few goals today’s sales pros should consider adding to their lists. Timeframes for tracking will depend on your goals, organization, and the length of the buying cycle. If you’re not sure how long to track and measure, start with three months and adjust as needed. Once you’ve tracked and measured your performance for a set period, you will have a baseline to measure against going forward.

Improve the performance of your LinkedIn profile

Why this goal matters: Today’s buyers are likely to find you online before you identify and reach out to them. The goal is to establish your personal brand and thought leadership by sharing content and insights that demonstrate your credibility and set you apart from the competition.

How to pursue it: Develop and maintain buyer-focused, content-rich social profiles on LinkedIn and other platforms where prospects invest time. Since most B2B reps are pursuing accounts and not individuals, develop your profile with accounts in mind. Also, be sure to avoid these five mistakes that sink LinkedIn profiles.

How to measure: Track your LinkedIn profile views and the number of targeted profile viewers (the viewers whose industry, title, or other firmographics match your ideal customer profile).

Identify and engage a higher number of promising prospects

Why this goal matters: Prospecting is a given but how you go about it matters. Buyers are looking for sales reps who can provide unique insights that aren’t easily found elsewhere. So, it’s essential to conduct research that can help surface trigger events and clues about top priorities.

How to pursue it: Set aside time to search for prospects on LinkedIn that match your ideal customer profile. Explore their LinkedIn profile, Twitter accounts, company websites, and blog posts, and your CRM system for relevant information. Conduct a Google search on prospects and their companies.

How to measure: Track the number of new prospect outreaches, number of saved leads in Sales Navigator, or number of Google Alerts you create.

Hone your consultative skills

Why this goal matters: With buyers in control of their purchase journey, sales reps need to position themselves to be the ones prospects choose to engage.

How to pursue it: Establish yourself as a valued, trusted resource by freely sharing relevant insights and content via your LinkedIn profile, in LinkedIn Groups, and anywhere else your prospects spend time. Remember: it’s perfectly fine if the content is produced by someone other than yourself – the point is to establish yourself as a valuable resource of relevant information. Break free of the pitch mindset and stay focused on adding value once in conversation with a prospect by developing sets of questions to ask.

How to measure: Track the number of personalized questions prepared for each prospect, number of personalized assets shared each week, or the number of consultations you’re engaged in.

Engage in meaningful social interactions online

Why this goal matters: Social interactions lie at the heart of your success as a sales rep. These interactions need to occur regularly on social media to keep you top of mind with prospects that no longer respond to cold calls and are researching their options online.

How to pursue it: Establish yourself as a go-to resource for information and content on topics that matter to your prospects. Share and comment on these resources via your LinkedIn profile, posts, in LinkedIn Group discussions, and anywhere else your prospects are looking for information.  

How to measure: Track the number of shares, likes, and comments you give on others’ content and discussions and how many you receive on your content and discussions.

Achieve trusted advisor status

Why this goal matters: Most decision makers don’t respond to cold calls or emails. 

Instead, they carefully select who to interact with, and they often narrow in on the sales reps providing value in the form of insights and helpful guidance.

How to pursue it: While your products and solutions provide value, you can offer prospects value in many other forms. This is especially important to do when buyers are not ready to make a purchase. Learn your industry and prospect pain points inside and out, and share information and content that sheds new light on top-of-mind issues. Study the buying process and come up with ways to streamline it. Your prospects will appreciate it, and you’ll set yourself apart from your competitors.

How to measure: Track number of inquiries or referrals you receive via LinkedIn.

Continually cultivate your existing relationships

Why this goal matters: The best salespeople build and maintain strong relationships with their prospects and customers. By doing so, they position themselves as a resource to consult when a need arises.

How to pursue it: Don’t reach out just to check in. Only do so when you can offer value, such as by sharing a relevant article or a new insight. Be patient in developing relationships. Early interactions should be professional. As you build rapport, your interactions will likely feel looser and flow more naturally.

How to measure: Track number of responses to outreach and accepted invitations to connect.

Expand your network of high-value connections

Why this goal matters: Your network provides access to the connections who can introduce you to decision makers and can also demonstrate that you are a sales rep worthy of connecting with.

How to pursue it: Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online business card – it’s how potential connections find and vet you. A complete profile and regular sharing of quality content and insights show you’re active in the LinkedIn community and a worthwhile connection.

How to measure: Track the number of senior buyer connections or connections with buying committee members at key accounts. If you dig math, consider calculating the percentage of your connections among mapped buying committee members.

Top Trackable Social Selling Metrics

Here’s a summary of the top metrics associated with key goals for modern sales pros and leaders. Keep this handy to make sure you’re focused on the activities that matter.

LinkedIn Profile

  •  Number of LinkedIn profile views 
  • Number of targeted profile viewers 
  • Number of articles posted to the LinkedIn publishing platform
  • Number of page views those articles are getting
  • Number of followers gained

Prospecting

  • Number of personalized outreach messages
  • Number of saved leads in Sales Navigator
  • Number of Google Alerts created

Engaging with Insights (disclaimer: you’ll want some way to qualify the relevance of social interactions to ensure you’re not just drumming up activity, but activity among the right people)

  • Number of shares, likes, and comments given on others’ content and discussions
  • Number of shares, likes, and comments received on content and discussions
  • Number of saved accounts (companies) in Sales Navigator
  • Number of inquiries and referrals received via LinkedIn

Network and Relationships

  • Number of personalized invitations to connect
  • Number of “get introduced” requests
  • Acceptance rate on connection requests
  • Number of new connections
  • Number of senior buyer connections
  • Number of connections at key accounts

Across the board, social selling can help sales teams achieve better results. Adopting and applying best practices for establishing your personal brand, building a strong network of the right relationships, and leading with insights puts everyone on the path to higher performance.

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