It’s around this time of year when we start thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. Did we stick with the ones we made 12 months ago, or did they fall by the wayside once things got hectic? What are we going to do next year to better ourselves? Can we stick with our goals? And what plans do we have in place to make sure we achieve them?
With these questions in mind, I turned to ID Plans CRO Seth Garber. He’s all about goal setting and accountability no matter what season it is (just ask our sales team), but he does use this time of year to reflect on what went well, what didn’t quite pan out, and what he’s going to do differently in the new year.
In this installment of Conversations from the Corner Office, I talked with Seth about realistic ways to create goals and resolutions. It’s advice that can be implemented no matter what time of year it is so if you’re reading this on the beach in the middle of July, good news! It’s never too early – or too late – to sketch out a roadmap for where you’d like to see yourself in the future.
SG – It’s like the whole gym membership thing. Everyone gets a gym membership at the beginning of the year and then they stop going a month later. People lose focus easily, and the thing is, when you set a goal, your goal should be so important that nothing gets in the way. The whole “life happens” thing can’t be an excuse. The people who are most successful – their goals are so ingrained and they’re so passionate that nothing really distracts them.
SG – If someone is in a sales position and their goals are to move up and do bigger jobs and make more money, they have to be very real with themselves. I always challenge my team by asking them three questions every year:
Addressing these questions is a good place to start. From there, you can begin to create realistic goals for yourself. Maybe it means changing jobs if you’re not committed to your product or industry, or that you look for a different role in your organization.
SG – It’s not so much that they’re unrealistic, although they certainly can be. It’s more that people just don’t have a plan to execute them, or they make a goal because it sounds good and they’re not really personally invested in seeing it through.
I also think sometimes you see people trying to set goals independently without any feedback or research. If you want to set a lofty goal, which is fine, you should ask questions of people who have achieved that goal. They can give you guidance on things you should think about in your quest – you can really learn from their mistakes, as well as their successes.
SG – I don’t think the number should really matter. One thing I do advise is not setting goals that depend on other goals. For example, say you want to make $150,000 and that relies on you doing 50 deals. You should pick one of those goals and work from there.
SG – I always use the SMART methodology. For me, it’s the best one out there.
Note: in case you were wondering, here’s what SMART stands for:
S - specific, significant, stretching
M - measurable, meaningful, motivational
A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented, assignable
R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable
SG – One common goal you hear is, “I want to make more money.”
I’d break it down more. Say, “I want to make 100K this year.”
Then, you look at the steps you’re going to take. You can say, “I will do that by identifying 50 accounts that are worth $2,000 in commission which will equal $100,000, and I’ll do it by using our CRM. I can be on target to achieve my goal if I do 12.5 accounts per quarter.” That’s a very comprehensive plan that specifically lays out the steps you need to complete to get to the number you want.
SG – I often hear people who are sales reps say they want to be the VP of sales in a year. The problem is there are three more senior people ahead of them. The better way to set a goal like this is to say something like, “This year, I’m going to perform my numbers from last year and let executive leadership know I’m interested in becoming VP of sales.” You could also let the leadership team know you’d like the opportunity to interview for other roles if they come up. You can track this using SMART, using a vision board – whatever works for you.
SG – People often talk about wanting to land a large enterprise sale with a Fortune 100 customer. This is a great goal, but it can take a lot of time and the reality is, most of these companies won’t deploy a massive project all at once. They’ll do it in phases to make sure it will work out on a large scale. A better approach would be to try and penetrate a piece of the opportunity rather than go for the whole thing right away. When people try to do too much too soon, it can sometimes mean they lose the whole opportunity. Take it in stages, show successes, and ideally, you’ll close the deal in the future.
SG – The most important part is to look yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself. Do you have the support around you to achieve your goals? Do you have people who hold you accountable? To me, that’s huge. Then, check in with yourself on your progress regularly. I keep my goals posted on my bathroom mirror so I can see them every day.
SG – In 12-15 years, I haven’t missed too many of them. So I’d say pretty well!
What are your New Year’s resolutions? How will you make sure you stick with them? Leave your comments below.
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