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Working Towards Sales Targets

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Working Towards Sales Targets

Sales targets can mean very different things in retail. They can mean the actual sale of a product or in some case, generating leads and qualifying prospects. The retail sector is quite different to how it was, say, 50 years ago. You’ve got face to face sales in retail stores, telephone shopping via both catalogues, press adverts and TV and also online shopping. Therefore, different types of targets might be set, depending upon the retail environment in which you’re working.

Retail Stores

If you’re working in a retail store, you’re going to be interacting face to face with the customer. Sales targets here will often be set according to the ‘footfall’ which passed through the store. Footfall is simply a retail term which describes the number of people who pass through your store each day. Here, it’s important to recognise that footfall is basically split up into two distinct groups – those who know what they want to buy and are coming into the store with the specific aim of purchasing a particular product and those who are just ‘browsing’.

The ways in which you’ll be trained to improve your sales figures will include asking people who may simply be browsing if you can help them. This can sometimes prompt a ‘window shopper’ or browser into becoming a buyer.

Then, the other two areas where you may be able to increase sales are through cross-selling and upselling. You’ll be trained in both of these techniques. Cross-selling is where a person has expressed an interest in a particular product and you can identify an opportunity to sell them additional related goods. Upselling is where you try to sell a more advanced (and more costly) version of a particular product to somebody who has expressed an interest in a product.

Telephone and Online Shopping

Different types of sales targets can be set when it comes to telephone, catalogue and online shopping as you’ll be able to use existing databases and things like telephone directories to increase your revenue. Therefore, if you work in a sales role, you may be targeted on the following:

  • New sales – this is where you may need to refer to things like phone directories or databases to try to identify new people who may have a need for your products but, as yet, are not yet aware of them. This will usually involve cold calling or sending out e-mail adverts or mailshots
  • Renewals – good sales figures very much depend upon keeping your existing customers happy and regularly informing them of new products or calling or e-mailing them to ask if they want to renew their existing supplies
  • Lapsed customers – this is where you’ll be contacting people who have previously bought products from your company but have not done so for some time. Here, you may be targeted on the number of customers you can get to shop with you again

In setting targets for the above groups, the company is likely to set higher targets for renewals, then lapsed customers and then a lower target for new sales.

Activity Targets

In telephone sales, in particular, you may also need to hit particular targets based around certain activities in order to qualify for pay bonuses or other benefits. These can include:

  • Number of completed phone calls
  • Leads generated – measuring how effective the staff are at generating new leads and potential new custom
  • Leads followed up – measuring how effective field sales staff are at following up the leads that have been generated
  • Qualified prospects – measuring how successful field sales staff have been in converting the leads that have expressed a potential interest in your products over the phone into actual conversions to sales

When Targets are Missed

Good sales people are usually extremely motivated to hit and even exceed the targets which have been set for them. In many cases, this often forms a significant part of their annual salary. Therefore, if targets are being missed, it’s important to find out why. Some of the questions the company should ask in this instance should include:

  • Have we provided the salesperson with the proper training and product knowledge?
  • Is the area we’ve given the salesperson too difficult or too broad?
  • Is there a particular problem or issue with the product we’re trying to sell?
  • How are our competitors faring in the market and could lower sales just be due to a slump or a seasonal variation?

Measuring Success

Whether it’s in a store, over the phone or on the Internet, it’s important that a company listens to any concerns that the sales staff might have when it comes to reaching targets. It’s also important to gauge feedback from customers which can be done by carrying out occasional customer perception surveys and through call monitoring.

Sales are the lifeblood of all retail companies and salespeople understand the importance of being set targets and often thrive within such an environment. Therefore, if targets are being met, the rewards and benefits should reflect that. However, if targets are not being met, it’s important to try to get to the bottom of the problem and to put that right quickly as lost sales inevitably mean gains for your competitors.

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