There’s no question that sales careers can be lucrative and fulfilling, even with stressful sales targets lurking in the background. But how do we deal with moments when we’re really feeling the pressure?
Stress and burnout can be debilitating. So much so that the World Health Organization recognizes it as “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Luckily, we at Uvaro have developed industry-proven methods to empower sales professionals to handle any situation — from knowing how to answer tough sales interview questions to exceeding sales targets. North America’s leading tech companies partner with us because our programs produce high-performing sales pros with all the right tools to succeed. These are just a few of the methods our graduates use to excel under pressure.
Develop Actionable Sales Goals
Strategy is key in competitive sales, and one of the best strategies is to develop informed, actionable sales goals that help us succeed. Even though the ultimate goal of sales is to bring in more revenue, effective sales goals should be built on the organization and people working towards them.
Research by Dr. Gary Locke and Dr. Gary Latham — two pioneers in business goal theory development — found that “employees who were allowed to participate in setting goals set higher goals and had higher performance than those were assigned goals by the supervisor.”
Evaluate the Sales Process
Performance research proves that as sales professionals, we need to develop our own goals that fit our sales style and offer a clear bridge to our ultimate sales targets.
In developing informed strategies, we need to balance our quotas with our methods. Start by thinking about the sales roadmap at your company from point A to point B and beyond. If you have experience behind you, use a client that you brought on as an example. Then, make a list of:
- The stages of the process that were the most successful and why.
- Identify areas of the sales process that could have been better.
- The sales targets you fulfilled.
- The things that motivated you the most when dealing with the client.
Develop the list thoughtfully so that you have the best information possible to build off of. Reflecting on past successes (and failures) really helps us to break down which aspects of the sales process are our strengths and which can be improved.
When you are feeling stressed about sales goals, that is the time to identify and rely on your strengths. We can use our strengths to develop effective, actionable sales goals. Remember,the personal sales road map that we use on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis may not (and probably should not) be the same as the broad revenue goal of the company. The more we personalize our sales goals to work with our strengths, the more empowered we will feel that we can meet them.
Examples of Effective Sales Goals
Setting effective sales goals can reduce the stress of meeting them. Part of setting successful goals is identifying the best types of goals to set based on our sales process and motivators.
1 – Activity Sales Goals
From emailing and networking to developing leads, there are a ton of actions we take in the process of closing new business. Which activities are your favorite and most effective? If focusing on a monetary quota becomes overwhelming, set goals that focus on the activities that lead to revenue. Commit to sharing content on your outreach platforms X number of times per week. Set a minimum number of potential leads every day.
2 – Optimizing Sales Goals
Sales stress can come from different aspects of the sales journey. For example, it may be taking too long to close with a client. Maybe the quality of businesses and new customers is low for your company. If that’s causing stress, set goals based on optimizing the sales activities you have. Identify a stage in the sale process that’s causing delays in conversion. Set goals aimed at speeding up that specific area.
3 – Development Sales Goals
Development is a huge part of sales success, both in networking and professional development. Attending events in your area and industry can go a long way in improving these areas of your sales. It will also feel better and less stressed because you will be engaging with actual businesses and people instead of sending emails into a void. Set goals to identify and attend X number of quality events in a certain time period.
4 – Competitive Sales Goals
The competitive nature of sales can cause stress, but it can also be a huge motivator for some of us. If that’s the case, there are many effective ways to set competitively motivated goals for ourselves. Set goals that compete with your previous targets, other salespeople in your company, other competitors in your space, or even with the sales targets set by the company.
Find Solace In Sales Data
When sales goals become overwhelming, it is common to feel like we are floating out at sea with no support insight. That is when it is most important to go back to concrete data and use it to our advantage. There is so much insight that can be drawn from good sales data. Once you find and identify that information, you can leverage and build on it to move forward. You will feel less stressed when you have valuable data you can put to use to meet your targets.
Evaluate the Data
Evaluating the sales data your organization has will make you feel less stressed. Depending on the resources and data collection available to you, there is a wide range of data and KPIs you can use to your advantage. We should always be using sales data to build informed sales strategies. Even so, going back to it when feeling overwhelmed will help get us back on track. Sales data to look at:
- Outreach Data
- Lead Generation Data
- Sales Funnel Data
- Sales Activity Data
When evaluating sales data, look for metrics that indicate success. On the other end, identify metrics that can be improved. The next step in moving towards your sales targets may start with simply increasing a certain sales activity that has declined recently. Maybe you have been busy closing clients so your recent outreach efforts are less than usual. Whatever thread you can identify in the data that may lead to a sale, pull it.
Examples of Useful Sales Data
Using sales data is essential to the modern-day sales process in the tech space. However, it can be equally overwhelming. When going back to the data, we need to extract meaningful data that is actionable. Here are examples of some of the most useful sales data to start with:
- Lead data: percent qualified leads, response time, follow-up timing, and cost-per-customer acquisition
- KPIs: revenue by product, cost of sales, potential customers lost to competition, market penetration
- Sales activity: meetings, referrals, proposals, sales presentations
Work with data that you can build success onto and work with the data that reveals shortcomings in the sales process. Look for data that supports a strategy or technique that you are really good at and build around it.
Work With Your Team
Anymore, sales is a team effort. So much so that companies are blurring the line between marketing and sales teams (or completely merging them together). When we’re feeling stressed about sales targets, it is important to remember that other members of the sales team and company are there to support revenue goals as well.
Address Sales Obstacles
When sales objectives become overwhelming, that means there is some obstacle in the way or something dragging the process. Especially after evaluating sales data and reviewing sales goals, you should be able to pinpoint the exact problem areas at the moment.
Most likely, other members of the sales team are experiencing the same issues and stress points. It takes a village to make a sale, so hold a collaborative meeting with team members to address those problem areas. A results-oriented, collaborative meeting will decrease feelings of pressure all around. You will likely leave with new, solutions-based approaches to the issues you’re experiencing.
Examples of Effective Sales Collaboration
Sometimes venting about stressful sales targets releases some of the pressure. Ideally, though, you can work with other team members in a meaningful way to produce solutions that lead to success.
1 – Brainstorm With the Sales Team
No one knows your sales woes better than your sales team. Brainstorm ways you can work together to improve one another’s sales goals. Identify exact areas of the sales process that you can help each other out with.
2 – Query Marketing
Marketing efforts and lead generation are key to effective sales enablement. Connect with team members who are working directly on these efforts. Learn more about exactly what campaigns are happening and the data that is coming back from them. This might provide insight into current stresses, especially if they are coming from the beginning of the sales funnel.
3 – Engage Management
Part of the stress of sales targets can come from management. Good management, however, wants team members to succeed. Stress from the sales process comes from a legitimate place, and sometimes that place is a lack of resources or support. If after looking at data and collaborating with others it is clear there is an organizational issue holding the sales process back, vocalize and explain it to management. It shows thoughtful engagement and that you really care about the success of the company.
Become a Better Sales Professional with Uvaro
Sales is a process, and so is becoming a high-performing sales professional. At Uvaro, we strive to provide aspiring sales professionals a career in the tech space with invaluable tools and information. Our courses provide a real work environment experience that goes beyond any written advice.
If you really want to feel empowered about your ability to excel in sales, contact us today to learn more.