Setting Smart Sales Goals

Sales teams are largely, and some would argue entirely, driven by goals. Sales goals are essential for tracking personal and team performance over time, and for giving salespeople, their managers, and department heads or executives, something tangible to reference.

SMART goals have become quite popular in the sales world over the past decade or so. However, not everyone today realizes that the concept has been around for 35 years, when they were first published in the November 1981 issue of Management Review. They have become more popular lately because managers and increasingly sales people themselves have found great value in their use, because they help create the right types of goals.


SMART stands for:


We will briefly go over each one of these elements, including what they mean, why they’re important, and tips on how to create goals that include those elements.


“Specific” goals are goals which have a definitive quality to them. In other words, if someone asks whether you achieved a specific goal, you can say “yes” or “no”, and there is no way to objectively disagree with that statement.

An example of a specific goal would be: I will arrive at work each day by 9am. You either arrive by 9am or you don’t.

An example of a non-specific goal would be: I will arrive at work early each day. How one defines “early” will determine whether they consider this goal achieved or not. If you think “early” means 9am and the boss thinks “early” means 6am, you’re going to run into problems!

Tip to make a specific goal: When creating the goal, simply ask yourself whether it is at all possible for two people to have different interpretations of that goal. If they can’t, then you’re good to go!


Similarly to specific goals, “measurable” goals are goals that can be objectively viewed as successful or not. The difference is that measurable goals can be calculated on a sliding scale, which makes it easier to see how far above, or below, the goal you were.

An example of a measurable goal would be: I will sell $10,000 worth of product this week.

An example of an unmeasurable goal would be: I will sell lots of products this week.

Just like the “specific” example, “lots” of products can mean different things to different people!

Tip to make a measurable goal: You should be able to calculate what percentage of the goal you achieved. For example, $9,000 of product would be 90% of the goal, while $20,000 world of product would be 200% of the goal.


“Attainable” goals are goals which can be achieved given your resources and skill set.

An example of an attainable goal would be: I will research a new sales method and implement it.

An example of an unattainable goal would be: I will research a new sales method and write a best-selling book about it in the next week.

Tip to make an attainable goal: Think about what you are capable of doing if you push yourself, but make sure you can actually see yourself doing it.


“Realistic” goals are similar to attainable goals, with the difference that they incorporate the bigger picture into the mix. While a goal might technically be “attainable”, it might not be realistic given the other demands in your life, such as family obligations, health, etc.

Attainable and realistic goals are intertwined, and so the attainable example would also apply here.

Tip to make a realistic goal: Think about your commitments and challenges outside of work, and make an honest assessment of how much time and effort they will take away, before setting your SMART goal.


“Timely” goals are goals which are linked to a specific period of time, whether that’s one day or one year. Timely goals are important because without them, there wouldn’t be any way to know at which point in time you succeeded or failed in your goals.

An example of a timely goal would be: I will sell 20 products by the end of the week.

An example of a goal that was not timely would be: I will sell 20 products as quickly as possible.

Tip to make a timely goal: This one is fairly straightforward — simply make sure there is a specific “deadline” for your goal.

By incorporating all of these SMART elements, you will see dramatic growth in your sales potential almost immediately!

Once you’ve got your sales goals, you’ll need to take steps to meet them. Our sales lead capture and qualification services are ideal for helping you sift through leads so your salespeople can focus their time on the most qualified candidates. Happy selling!

Here are some related articles you might be interested in:

Sales Funnel Management – Developing Your Sales Funnel

Maintaining Relationships After Closing a Sale

Boost Sales with an Order Processing Solution