7 SMART Sales Goals Examples [Sales Manager Edition]

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There's this guy who at the beginning of every year would set a jogging goal, never meet it, and then set the same goal all over again year after year.

It's a running joke.

Now, we certainly don't want any version of that happening with our sales goals, right?

That's why it's important to set goals for your team that are actually achievable.

If you set sales goals without putting any thought into them, you are setting yourself—and your team—up for failure.

In fact, a whopping 40% of companies fail to meet their sales goals.

However, you want to help them along the way by setting realistic and achievable sales objectives.

But you're not sure how to do that. Or even where to start.

Have no fear. Because we do.

This article will outline different types of sales objectives, tips and considerations when creating them, and different examples of them.

But first, we'll start with what sales objectives are.

What are Sales Objectives

Sales objectives are like mini-goals set for the sales department of a company so that the sales team can successfully achieve the company's sales goals. Essentially, the sales objectives build on each other so that the sales goals will be completed by the end of the month, quarter, year, etc. The first break the sales goals down into smaller, more achievable parts.

On the other hand, sales goals are the primary targets of what a company wants (or needs) its sales team to achieve. They can deal with essentially any part of the sales department, from individual performance goals to goals that deal with the number of sales or revenue generated.

Sales goals and sales objectives are part of the overall sales strategy of your sales team.

What's the sales strategy?

We're glad you asked.

It's the blueprint for what your business wants to achieve in sales (the sales goals) and how they'll achieve those goals (which may include sales objectives).

Your sales strategy is an important part of your strategic sales plan, which provides information like budgets, past sales history, and other necessary information to analyze when deciding how to lead your sales team forward and predict realistic sales goals.

So basically, it goes:

  1. Strategic sales plan
  2. Which includes sales strategy
  3. Which includes sales goals
  4. That gets broken down into sales objectives
  5. So that everything can be achieved successfully.

Make sense?

Good. Then let's move on to the different types of sales objectives.

Types of Sales Objectives

Types of Sales Objectives

There are many kinds of sales objectives. Some of those types can include:

  • Sales Target Objectives
  • Sales Performance Objectives
  • SMART Objectives

There are others as well, but these three act as good umbrella categories, so we'll start with them.

Sales Target Objectives

If you Google sales target objectives, you'll likely get results that semi ignore the ‘target' part. You can think of sales objectives as objectives that target specific sales targets head-on. Sales targets are the goal for the number of sales. So this type of sales objective is to help your salespeople hit their sales targets directly.

Sales Performance Objectives

Sales performance objectives, on the other hand, are sales objectives that target the performance of your salespeople. Rather than now encompassing sales, these objectives focus on the roles of your sales team, similarly to the sales performance goals outlined in 6 Pro Tips to Exceed Your Sales Goals.

SMART Objectives

SMART sales objectives are also outlined in our 6 Pro Tips to Exceed Your Sales Goals article. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These objectives are written to make sure they fit into these guidelines. When it comes to creating practical, achievable sales objectives, the format SMART provides is an excellent place to start.

More Sales Objectives

Other sales objectives are typically split into various versions (like here, here, and here) of the following categories:

  • Cycle Time
  • Churn Rate
  • Customer Retention
  • Upselling and Cross-Selling
  • Revenue
  • Profit Margins

We've outlined these sales objectives and what they mean in the table below:

Types of Sales Objectives


Cycle Time Sales Objectives

A cycle time sales objective is an objective that aims to shorten the sales cycle, which can also be referred to as the sales process or workflow.

Churn Rate Sales Objectives

A churn rate sales objective is an objective that targets the number of customers churning out of business with your company.

Customer Retention Sales Objectives

A customer retention sales objective is an objective that aims to target the amount of time the sales team can retain a customer's attention.

Upselling and Cross-Selling Sales Objectives

An upselling and cross-selling objective is an objective that targets selling other features, products, and/or services to the same customer on top of the sale already (being) made.

Revenue Sales Objectives

A revenue sales objective is an objective that targets the revenue being generated from sales.

Profit Margins Sales Objectives

A profit margins sales objective is an objective that targets the profit margins from sales (so how much is made in a sale when all other costs are considered).

6 Tips for Setting Realistic Sales Objectives

Tips for Setting Realistic Sales Objectives

And now, what you've come here for. Our tips on setting realistic sales objectives. Well, our six tips are:

  1. Divide your sales goals into their smallest parts
  2. Look to the past
  3. Understand the sales budget
  4. Use your sales team's strengths
  5. Find ways to motivate your sales team
  6. Use a CRM

Divide Sales Goals Into Their Smallest Parts

A giant end-of-year or end of five-year sales goal can seem pretty intimidating for your sales team.

And really, the whole point of sales objectives is to break those goals down so they can be achieved.

So, make sure you're dividing those sales goals into their smallest parts with your sales objectives. Do the math, too. If the sales goal is to make 45 million dollars by the end of the year, and that's $10 million more than was made the previous year, figure out by how much your sales team needs to increase their monthly revenue (or how much they need to increase each month). Make it a sales objective.

And do that with all the sales goals. Divide them into multiple parts rather than just one sales objective, if necessary, too.

By doing this, your sales objectives will essentially act as benchmarks for achieving your sales goals. As your team achieves these objectives, you'll know you're on the right track.

And if your team isn't succeeding in achieving these objectives, you know that it's time to adjust. Maybe the sales goals were too ambitious, and maybe you started with too high an objective; maybe more objectives need to be created to change your sales process. Whatever the reason, you need to find it and adjust accordingly.

Look to the Past

Sales goals should be created by looking at what the sales team achieved in the past years, including goals that weren't successfully reached.

Sales objectives can be created using the same principles. Which sales objectives were successfully reached in the past? Which weren't? Why weren't they?

If you do this analysis, you'll better understand how to develop sales objectives for your team. You can develop strategies for achieving sales objectives that weren't successful the year before. And you'll have a good idea of the types of objectives your team is good at achieving vs the ones they struggle with.

And if your team achieved all the objectives the year before, even better! It might give you less to work with for analysis, but you'll have even more knowledge of your team's successes and how and why it worked.

Understand the Sales Budget

Whenever you're doing anything that affects the sales department, make sure you check it against your budget. Don't create lofty sales objectives that will cost too much actually to achieve. Be realistic about the sales department's resources and what it'd need to reach the sales objectives you're setting out.

All this is to say that when you're developing sales objectives, make sure you're budgeting out how much they will cost to achieve.

And make sure they fit into your budget.

If they don't all fit into your budget, it might be time to go through the list of objectives you've created and consider the most important ones. Which could directly lead to sales goal success. Which should be prioritized.

And any that don't cut should get cut.

Sales objectives that wreck your sales budget aren't realistic. If it costs more than the gains will reap (both financial and otherwise), it's not worth achieving. That's just bad business practice.

Use Your Sales Team's Strengths

Not all sales objectives need to be the same for all the members of your sales team. Instead, your sales objectives should play to the strengths of your salespeople. If you have better closers, give them sales objectives dealing with closing. If you have those who're good at cold calls, assign them sales objectives dealing with cold calls and cold call scripts.

If you create sales objectives with the strengths of your sales team in mind, you're more likely to develop achievable sales objectives rather than if you just create them arbitrarily using the established sales goals.

That being said, you'll still want to be careful that you don't overestimate the strengths of your salespeople and give them goals that their strengths would need to be superhuman to achieve.

Use their strengths, but be honest in your analysis of what those strengths are and what those limitations are.

Find Ways to Motivate Your Sales Team

Motivate Your Sales Team

You may want to find ways to motivate your salespeople to achieve their goals. This can be baked right into the sales objective creation or added after the fact.

There are many ways you can incentivize your team members:

  • Add bonuses or prizes when achieving objectives
  • Create friendly competition amongst the sales team (you may need to be careful to make sure it stays friendly)
  • Combine the two by providing bonuses for the first to hit certain objectives
  • Emphasize the importance of what your team is selling (the benefit for the clients, the difference it can make for people, etc)

Or any other incentives you can think of.

According to a study reported by Forbes, the highest motivator for salesmen is a sense of purpose. So creating a motivating factor while keeping that in mind is an intelligent idea.

A team that's motivated is more likely to go out there and sell sell sell so the members can hit their objectives.

And, to an extent, your salespeople should be motivated to do well just to be good at their job. But, it never hurts to give them that little extra push. Especially if you know that the sales objectives you've accomplished are achievable, but only if they really put their noses to the ground and work hard.

Use a CRM

Your entire sales cycle will be much more streamlined because a CRM will help with it every step of the way.

From the lead generation to the closing of the sales to the referral process, a CRM can help organize and navigate the process.

Ringy, for instance, includes several features that can help your team through the sales process including:

  • Calling
  • Cloud VOIP Softphone
  • Local ID
  • Email
  • SMS
  • Drip Campaigns
  • Integrations
  • Contact Organization
  • Pipeline Management
  • Progress tracking

Think of all the ways you could use these features so that the sales process is easier to go through. Your team will be able to spend much less time on tedious administrative tasks and more time actually selling.

This is important because, according to HubSpot, salesmen are only talking to prospects for a third of their workday.

A CRM is one of the most beneficial tools you can provide for your sales team so your salespeople can sell more and nail their sales objectives.

Considerations When Setting Sales Objectives

Stop right there. You may have some tips, but you're not quite ready for sales objectives creation yet. Not until you understand the following considerations:

  • The capabilities of your team
  • The resources available to you
  • The number of changes being implemented

Capabilities of Your Team

When you're setting sales objectives, you need to be brutally realistic about the capabilities of your team. As a team, what are their strengths and weaknesses? As individuals, what are their strengths and weaknesses? How are the roles in your team set? Do different salespeople focus on different types of leads? Do different salespeople focus on different aspects of the sales cycle? Should it be set up that way due to the strengths and weaknesses of your salespeople?

Understanding as much as you can about your team (in relation to your salespeople's work) and making sure you consider when you set your sales objectives will make a huge difference in how realistic and successful your sales objectives are. It may mean that not everyone on your sales team has the same objectives. And that's okay.

The Resources Available to You

This consideration is twofold:

  1. The resources available to you, as in those your company already has
  2. The resources available to you, as in the ones that exist that could be purchased for your company

When you're setting your sales objectives, you'll want to take into account the resources your company already has, which include things like:

  • Different technological resources (phones, cellphones, desktops, laptops, iPads, etc.)
  • Different sales apps
  • The number of salespeople (plus their roles)

You get the point. It includes everything your company owns, and your sales team can use that.

However, you may not be limited to just what your company already owns, depending on your budget. There may be resources available to your company that could make a significant purchase to help your salespeople achieve their sales objectives.

For instance, if your company doesn't have a sales CRM, you should consider getting one. As previously mentioned, CRMs are hugely beneficial to the sales team regarding automation and organization. They can find and track leads, send automated emails, and some, like Ringy, allow you to take notes about a lead when you're on a call.

The Number of Changes Being Implemented

Whether it happened when you were considering our last two points or because of the sales goals that your sales objectives are supposed to be helping achieve if your sales team is going to have to adjust to several changes to the sales process and/or their roles in it, you may need to slow down with your objectives. Or, those objectives may need to incorporate those changes, so they're more staggered.

You don't want to throw too much change at your sales team all at once. That will setback your salespeople's productivity (at least at first). Which is probably the opposite of what you want.

So, when you have an understanding of what needs to change for your sales team to be more productive and achieve the overall sales goals, you will want to include those changes into your sales objectives, but staggered, so your team never has to learn and adjust to too many new things at the same time.

Sales Objectives Examples

Sales Objectives Examples

In our table below, we've provided some examples of sales objectives for the types previously listed. These are just examples. They may not be realistic or achievable for your business.

Sales Objective


Sales Target Objective

We're going to increase our revenue by 5% every month to stay on target to accomplish our annual sales goal

Sales Performance Objective

A particular salesperson will be tasked with increasing the number of leads generated each month to 5.

SMART Sales Objective

We'll be expanding the number of customers we have going through the sales cycle by the end of the quarter, and we'll be doing this by decreasing our cycle time by 10% and increasing our number of leads by 20%.

Cycle Time Sales Objective

Decrease cycle time by 10% by the end of the quarter

Churn Rate Sales Objective

Decrease churn rate by 25% by the end of Q2

Customer Retention Sales Objective

Increase customer retention by 20% by the end of Q2

Upselling and Cross-Selling Sales Objective

Increase upselling and cross-selling rates by 35% by the end of the year

Revenue Sales Objective

Increase revenue by 5% by the end of the month

Profit Margins Sales Objective

Increase profit margins by 10% by the end of the quarter


Are sales objectives qualitative in nature?

Sales objectives can be qualitative or quantitative, but they should be measurable. Therefore, even sales objectives that can be qualitative in nature (like sales performance objectives) should include a measurable (and consequently qualitative) aspect. Otherwise, it can be much more challenging to track your objectives and make sure you're achieving them and hitting your sales goals.

How to write sales objectives?

The SMART sales objective format is excellent for setting and writing your sales objectives. Your sales objective should be specific, measurable, attainable, and time-bound, and that can be expressed in a statement of a sentence or two. (See the examples in the previous section.)

Why have sales objectives?

Sales objectives can be an essential part of accomplishing its sales goals and following its sales strategy. Sales objectives:

  • Help a company make progress toward sales goals
  • Help a sales team track its progress towards sales goals
  • Help improve the sales process

And these are just a few of the benefits sales objectives provide.

So, why have sales objectives? Because they're helpful! They can be a huge benefit to the members of your sales team in directing them towards the success of goal completion and in sales strategy.

To Conclude

When creating your sales objectives, think about the bigger picture of what your sales team needs to accomplish with the sales strategy and sales goals. You'll want your sales objectives to direct your sales team down the road for success to those bigger goals.

And, to keep objectives practical and realistic, remember our six tips:

  1. Divide your sales goals into their most minor parts
  2. Look to the past
  3. Understand the sales budget
  4. Use your sales team's strengths
  5. Find ways to motivate your sales team
  6. Use a CRM

And make sure to consider:

  • The capabilities of your team
  • The resources available to you
  • And the number of changes being implemented.

If you're able to keep all this in mind, you'll create achievable, realistic sales objectives for your team, no matter the types you choose to implement.

To make setting and achieving those goals even easier, you'll need a CRM like Ringy. If you want to know more about what Ringy could do for you, request a demo.