How to be a Sales Manager Without Targets

By Bob Morrell on November 26, 2016

To answer this question, we must first define what a Sales Manager ‘with targets’ actually does.

   1. Creates the targets.
   2. Have them amended by someone higher up.
   3. Argue with that person.
   4. Accept the new targets.
   5. Impose them on your team.
   6. Argue with the team.
   7. Forecast against those targets for 12 months.
   8. Argue about the forecasts with someone higher up.
   9. Threaten your team to try harder to hit those targets that you set months before.
 10. Celebrate when you do actually hit and worry on the months that you don’t.

If you are lucky enough to become a Sales Manager without targets then the following becomes possible.

   1. Use the time you would have spent creating targets developing your team to perform their jobs better than ever before.
   2. Have your senior managers help motivate your team and motivate you.
   3. Spend almost no time in meaningless arguments over figures that were only ever guesses.
   4. Incentivise your team by encouraging them to do their very best all year long.
   5. Motivate your team by rewarding them with fair salaries and by not imposing targets on them.
   6. Spend more time developing business instead of fudging forecasts.
   7. Coach your team to perform more effectively. Work as part of their team.
   8. Allocate time to help less experienced people to do better, working directly with them.
   9. Accept variance in performance and reward effort.
 10. Celebrate success, and any failures the you learn from, as a team.

Does this all sound like a Utopian view – the very best of all possible worlds?

And yet many commercial organisations are run in this way. Look at your business model and layer in the theories above. What would be the positives and negatives you would experience by trying this way of sales managing?

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