Setting sales expectations that challenge your team to succeed may by the secret to unlocking their potential—here’s how to get it done.

You’re coming up on the busy season for your business. It’s the time of year with the most leads and opportunities to close deals. You’re dependent on your sales team to meet the challenge—they are the central figures on your chessboard, and you need them on the offensive. So how do you lead a team towards success? If setting sales expectations is your answer, that’s correct! But there’s more to it than you might think.

Communicate openly with the team and explain the company’s goals

The first step to getting your team in the right mental place is to meet with them face-to-face. Prepare your talk and define the sales goals in a clear way. Get them excited about making sales! However, setting sales expectations should challenge your team, not scare them. Be realistic with your goals and how you expect to achieve them.

  • Present an actionable plan to your team. Outline the behaviors that will bring about real results (numbers of calls per day, follow-ups, etc.).
  • Define the exact monetary goal you want to achieve.
  • Give your team a strong incentive to succeed as a team and individually (what’s the reward for their hard work?).
  • Create a timeline with an end date. Post it in your office and mark the milestones along the way.
  • Meet with salespeople individually to discuss any issues, questions or concerns.
  • Focus on metrics that point towards effort, action, and desired sales.

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Give them the tools they need to measure success

What metrics should you be monitoring? It’s a question that many sales managers and business owners ask.  Most follow the obvious metrics (number of sales, number of calls, closed deals per salesperson, and similar metrics). It’s great to have these measurements, but they don’t necessarily help your team as much as they help you monitor. In fact, your salespeople might think of it as Micromanagement 101. You don’t want to come off that way, right?

Instead, share metrics with your team that reinforce (and reward) the behaviors you want to see. For instance, measure and share your team’s rejection metrics.

Don’t make your team feel as though they’re incompetent because of rejections from prospects, though. Reward their efforts. Encourage your sales team to acquire more rejections! Why? Outbound sales and gaining new business is mostly a numbers game. Setting sales expectations means that you’re expecting plenty of rejections, too.

Try to establish a ratio of rejections to closed deals that makes sense. Three to one, five to one, or ten to one—it doesn’t matter. As long as your salespeople are putting in the effort, the sales will come. In sales, it’s like Wayne Gretzky said: “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.” Your team needs to take every shot that’s available.

Important metrics you need to follow when setting sales expectations:

  • Following up on leads after the first try
  • Establishing a realistic ratio for rejections to closed deals.
  • Response time to receiving a lead
  • Average time it takes to close a deal from beginning to end

Setting Sales Expectations: How to Get What You Need From Your Team

Monitor results, give feedback and watch for red flags

Having metrics in place will make it easier to find weak points in your sales pipeline. At what point do leads decide not to continue with the sale? How many times is a prospect contacted before he becomes a customer? These are the questions that provide a clearer picture for readjustments and setting sales expectations in the future.

Meet with your salespeople individually. Ask your high achievers what they can teach the team; ask your underperformers what the issues are and how to make adjustments.

You might come across a few red flags. Maybe one of your salespeople isn’t making the required amount of calls or has shown a slow response time to follow ups. If lack of effort is the problem, there is only so much you can do to change his mind. Lots of persistence and less than average results is a fixable issue. But the bottom line attitude needs to be there. Otherwise, you may need to reevaluate his or her place on the team.


lead-managerlead-managerNeed an easy way to track metrics and calculate sales reports? Let us show you how: Schedule a free demo of our lead management software today!


Have you used any of these guidelines to create realistic sales expectations? Don’t be shy—share your story!