Sales: How to go about setting targets and goals for your team


Setting specific targets and goals increases motivation beyond simply telling your sales team, “just do your best. "It’s been proven that goal-oriented performers often perform better than individuals that don’t. Below we explore how to support your team so they succeed with sales goals we all are comfortable with.

Setting failure as a target

To be able to set targets, you first need to be clear on how to get there. Targets should be realistic, appropriate, and strategic. At Jiminny we love to set our new recruits’ failure as a target to help them learn. For example, we recently took on new staff as SDRs. Like many companies the goal for an SDR is to book meetings and create opportunities for the sales team, however, the biggest mistake we could possibly make is to focus only on the numbers. To reduce the pressure of such an early unachievable target we decided to set them a challenge where their goal of the week was to mess up at least 5 cold calls. Doing this gave them more confidence to simply give it a go no matter what the outcome. In other words, this tactic allowed them to relax and let them know failure is fine and to be expected!

Novelist, journalist, and broadcaster Elizabeth Day in her popular podcasts How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is a big believer in this concept. She loves to interview an A-list of celebrities or people who have been successful in their fields and gets them to share their biggest failures. In her words learning to fail is ultimately learning how to succeed. And therefore celebrates failure as an important stepping stone in becoming successful.

One of my favorite How to fail episodes was with an olympic athlete and double-gold medal winner Dame Kelly Holmes ( (S5, Ep5 How to Fail). Kelly talks about her failure at school and how she joined the army at 16 but then failed her first Physical Training Instructor selection. Kelly is open about her own vulnerabilities and the episode shows how her character and strength are forged through her resilience as a person. Her experiences of failure were important steps to making her more determined and achieving what she has done today!

kelly H

Failure happens throughout our personal and working lives and setting it as a target and then learning from it shows that we are comfortable with our teams failing. Failure can be an important step to achieving the long-term goals of any company. In fact, failing and learning from it can be what each rep needs to get them closer to new levels of success.

⚫Circle of Influence (things we care about and can impact)

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Covey explains in Circle of Concern will normally be very large as it includes all those concerns you have in the world, your work, and your personal life. It includes your health, your family, your finances, the country’s economy, political events, and everything else that you are concerned about.

Everything you include inside the Circle of Concern is something that concerns and matters to you. However, when you look at those things within our Circle of Concern, you quickly realize that you have no control or influence over many of the things in it.

Your Circle of Influence is a smaller circle that sits inside your Circle of Concern. It contains all the things from your Circle of Concern that concern you and that you can do something about. After all, we have no control over the weather, but we can improve our health by exercising more, eating more green stuff, and drinking less alcohol. This is why it is important to take time to identify the things in your Circle of Influence within your Circle of Concern.

3 examples of things we CAN’T control at work

  1. You can’t worry about your competition (but you can learn from them)
  2. You can’t control the economy such-as Brexit and Covid-19 (but you can adapt to your situation)
  3. You can’t control your customers (although a great product and the right influence can have some sway)

3 examples of things we CAN control at work

  1. You can own your successes and failures
  2. You can make sure you have a clear meaning and purpose for every sales call
  3. You can be creative and proactive about your prospecting

Create ownership of targets and goals

At Jiminny we like to avoid dictating targets and goals to our sales team and giving them ownership to set up their own. Ownership means taking responsibility, and not leaving it to someone else. You care about the outcome the same way you would care as an owner of the organization. When we have a strong sense of ownership, we get a higher level of self-motivation. This is fundamental to doing well in sales. It motivates our drive to succeed and gives us the energy to pick ourselves up. 

In general, if people feel like they own what they are working on they tend to contribute and work harder to achieve it. When we encourage the sales team to set their own targets we see driven individuals who are self-determined and work hard. We would say by owning and setting their own targets and goals they are more emotionally attached to the outcome - and to the result.

How can we encourage ownership?

  • Involve the sales rep with decision-making related to their performance. Make it clear to them why their performance is important and where it fits into the bigger picture. Understanding why something is important leads to people doing a better job.
  • Create an environment where they feel comfortable to be creative and use their initiative. When they can share their ideas without fear or anxiety this will enable them to take responsibility and have more control.
  • Do ask them what tools they need support with to do their job during your sales team training. Knowing they have had input into the process makes them more accountable to their own target

To read more about encouraging ownership read this blog


  1. Set failure as a target with your new hires
  2. Focus on targets you CAN control
  3. Encourage your team to set their own targets and goals