Coaching for Sales Performance: Goal Alignment
When business environments become tumultuous, they often take with them those ambitious goals your sales managers, sales reps, and sales enablement teams have shared with you. Asking employees to create and share their mission and initiatives is only the first step in effective coaching around goals. Once that information is available, individual goals must be aligned to the overall company strategy and mission to generate the most powerful tool for carrying action forward and sustaining momentum.
Individual goal-setting is an essential first step, but without goal alignment, this information will not drive revenue growth for several reasons. First, a collection of personal goals that do not coalesce into a larger one may result in people moving in different directions. Secondly, sales managers cannot communicate something they do not know, and must first be clear on company goals before being able to align employee goals.
When sales managers are clear on the team’s individual goals and the company’s strategic goals, they can find the intersection between these sets of goals. Alignment occurs when the manager gets buy-in from the team and can frequently reference these goals as part of their coaching routine. We find that unfamiliarity with coaching cadence and lack of coaching skills often prevents sales managers from following up with Goal Alignment.
Effective goal alignment can have a significant impact on revenue
- Improves and accelerates operational execution as teams move quickly from strategy planning to execution
- Creates ownership in the organization’s success, resulting in more engaged employees and increased retention rates
- Reduces or eliminates time wasted on unrelated tasks due to communicated and aligned goals
- Provides sustainable motivation and momentum by minimizing the “roller coaster” of inevitable sales ups and downs as managers weave individual goals into the coaching process
Goal alignment is critical to maintaining momentum.
Statistics show that 40% of results happen in the last one-third of the program. This reinforces the goal gradient theory, which says the closer people get to the goal, the more effort they put into achieving it.
Goal alignment enables management to make strategic decisions quickly. Since teams will already be working on the most critical initiatives, changes can be made on the fly; this reduces the time wasted by confusion over objectives or conflicting priorities.
Goal Alignment results in more engaged and focused employees who won't leave their jobs.
Goal alignment is a useful tool to communicate expectations, document progress, and identify employee strengths and weaknesses. When employees understand the company’s mission and how their contribution impacts that mission, real organizational success is possible.
Tapping into the intrinsic motivation of a person is the most powerful tool you can have as a sales manager. Know what makes your people tick in terms of career goals or personal goals (within reason). Coaching provides an excellent tool for asking the right questions to get at the heart of a person’s intentions.
But knowing the company mission and the goals of an individual is of little strategic value without finding a way to align them. The genius of an effective sales manager is their ability to align overarching company objectives to the sales rep’s individual goals. It establishes a “want to” vs. a “have to” outlook for the sales team. If the manager has excelled in aligning personal career goals with organizational goals, they make it much easier for their individual sales team members to take ownership of the goals and move towards them with a greater sense of accountability.
It's All About What Drives Revenue
As a manager, your sales reps’ energy to drive toward a revenue goal is one of your most renewable resources. Consider that it is challenging for sales professionals to sell when they are not engaged, but it can seem effortless when they engage with a well-aligned goal; that intersection where the individual’s WHY meets the organizational WHY. Consistently bringing coaching conversations back to goals – the professional and personal WHY – can redirect attention, reduce distractions, and provide an energy boost to get the job done.