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Are Your Sales Goals Achievable? It May Be Impacting Your Motivation

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Written by Erica Stritch
Vice President, RAIN Group

Everyone needs motivation to tackle different types of tasks/challenges. Whether it's hitting your personal sales goals or achieving your weight loss goals, people can't do it without some type of driving motivation.

In our Top-Performing Sales Organization research, one of the areas we studied was the correlation of various motivation factors with sales goal achievement. Organizations that met their sales goals were significantly more likely to agree they have a motivating culture with respect to selling. This includes areas such as seller attitudes, the perceived role of sales, and leadership's ability to create and sustain selling energy, among others.

What's more, when respondents believed sales goals were achievable, they were even more likely to agree their company has a motivating culture. In fact, this significance holds true for every single motivation factor we studied, and is depicted in the chart below.

 Motivation Factors by Sales Goal Met

After reviewing the chart above, you might think, "Why not set lower, more attainable goals?" Not so fast. Psychological studies show a linear relationship between challenging goals and improved performance.1 Our Top-Performing Sales Organization study confirms this. We found that Top-Performers are significantly more likely to both have challenging sales goals and meet their sales goals.

Sales goals need to be perceived as achievable, but challenging. To maximize results, you must find the right balance.

It also requires that sales managers set the stage for seller success by helping sellers see how they can achieve challenging goals, foster a supportive culture, and create maximum selling energy.

In the end, sales management is responsible for creating an environment favorable for sales goal achievement, but sellers have to own their goals and believe they can achieve them.

1 Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham, "New Directions in Goal-setting Theory," Current Directions in Psychological Science 15(5): 265–268, October 2006.

Topics: Sales Research