Sales goals are perhaps one of the most hectic items to prepare in an organization. They are often referred to as the “manager’s nightmare”.  (Etzel, 2000) The preparation of sales goals is a complex process involving several steps in the making. The different factors that have to be kept into account are high in number and variant in nature. Some of these criteria, in drafting effective sales goal include the accurate measurement of the situation in which the goals are being formulated. It is highly necessary to be able to evaluate the environment in which the goals are being formed. The environment plays a major role in the effectiveness of goals. For example, an environment without the capability of supporting the performance of those goals is not one where such goals should be formed. More specifically, goals should be designed and set according to the environmental characteristics.  (Four Keys to Developing Effective Goals, 2008) There are different theories on effective goals. One theory suggests that the characteristics of effective goals are as follows:

They are owed by those affected
Demanding: The goals should be challenging and must require supplementary effort.
Achievable: No goals should be unrealistic and too far-fetched. Goals should lie within the possibility of being fulfilled.
Measurable: Goals are incomplete without a standard against
(Characteristics of Effective Goals, 2008)

Now that the characteristics of effective goals have been defined, the importance of sales goals being effective is to be understood properly. The various factors that constitute the sales goal formation include the environment, the previous goals, past performances, existing resources, capacity and diligence of the workforce, time frame (comes normally under resources) and the manager entrusted with the task of achieving the goals. It has repeatedly been observed that the leadership style of a leader plays a significant role in the overall achievement of sales goals.  (Kremer, Rizzuto, & Case, 2000)

When drafting sales goals, it is important to note this fact and adjust the targets accordingly. It is very important to be specific in deciding sales goals; the measurability should be consistent and fair. It is also important for sales goals to be as specific and as narrow as possible. For example, the sales goals for US can easily be broken down into separate sales goals for different states. Thus, sales goals should be drilled to the optimal possible specificity so as to ensure greater locus of control over the achievement part and reduction in the uncertainty of the environment.  (Defining Goals: Preparing an Operating Budget, 2008)

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Goals are also necessary to be aligned with the organization. A telecommunication company is reputedly expected to have soaring sales and climbing profits. This rapport and organizational objectives should be considered equally important and much emphasis should not be placed on just the former. Goals and objectives should always be aligned with organizational aims and objectives otherwise they loose their focus and tend to backfire. Sales goals defined for a telecommunication company may be very challenging to achieve yet there my be enough budgets and resources for the task to be more possible than not. This perhaps is a situation where the goals are not aligned with the organizational goals for the organization may be geared towards economizing on costs and working on optimal solution strategies. Thus the goal needs to be redefined and perhaps resources may have to be reduced for achieving that goal.  (Kremer, Rizzuto, & Case, 2000)

In conclusion, a detailed sales plan is composed of a variety of different fields and considerations that make it a rational plan to follow. Goal plans have lots of room for contingent plans. Contingent plans are the alternate paths to follow in case of a blockade from any factor on the original plan. Sales goals are made keeping into view uncertainties and thus seek to define alternatives for contingent events which may interfere in the predicted future. The effect of those events is simulated to the maximum extent so that the ultimate objective – making realistic goals that are achievable – remains intact.

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