March 22, 2006

Salt, Pepper, and Sales Target

Posted by Bizaholic | 11:54 PM | with 2 comments »

What is common between salt, pepper, and sales target? All three have their real value only if used in right proportion. Another similarity is that all three are essential ingredients. You cannot really do without them.

When used in right amount salt and pepper can enhance the taste and generate appetite. A little more or a little less spoils the dish and kills appetite. Similar is the story of sales target. It has to be in exactly right amount to generate enthusiasm and zing in the sales force. A little more or a little less and the results are either desperation or complacency.

Sales targets have basically three roles to play:
  1. In making budget
  2. In measuring the effectiveness of sales team.
  3. In motivating the sales team.

Of the three roles, the role of target in motivating the sales team has the highest impact potential. Yet it is the most neglected role. Many a time, sales professionals dance in illusion while designing their annual targets. They dream and visualize the members of their sales team to be supermen who can achieve any kind of sales goal. And result is often an unrealistic target based on day dreaming. But this euphoria generated by dream-target is short lived. Very soon they go to the market place and face reality. And within a month or two, it becomes clear that something is wrong. The team realizes that however hard they try they are not going to achieve their unrealistically grand target. It is not difficult to guess what happens next. Desperation and decline in motivation sets in that in all probability would disturb even the achievable part.

Another typical approach is to set a target that is very easily achievable. Here also there is a big problem. Everyone knows from the beginning that it’s going to be a cake walk. As a result complacency sets in and achievement of the true potential is missed. No body cares to go the extra mile because all that you need is within your hand’s reach.

The third approach, though very rare, is to make a target that is just in right amount, neither more nor less. It’s what I call “a designer target”. Here the target aims at making the entire sales experience blissful by design, where the goals, satisfaction, enjoyment, bottom-line, and rewards are perfectly balanced like a culinary delight. It is like a honey dipped dart. It stings but it is sweet as well. Similarly, it stretches but exhilarates as well. It demands but it rewards as well. To sum up, all “designer targets” appear appetizing and motivate to go ahead and taste it. They simply add zing to the sales process just as salt and pepper give life to an exotic dish!


  1. Atul // March 26, 2006 at 10:42 PM  

    Good one Mayank. From my days in GE, I can relate a concept which I find relevant. Everybody has targets (mostly in sales but even other functions) and then they have stretch targets. If you miss the target then run for cover. But even if you meet the target then don't be satisified rather you will be asked about your stretch target. If you meet that then you can ask for rewards and of course for next time around your stretch become the base.

  2. Mayank Krishna // March 27, 2006 at 11:22 AM  

    This concept of dual target sounds so interesting. Had I known it a little earlier I would have persuaded my senior managers to try this dual target concept while making annual target. But we have already completed our target setting exercise for next financial year. May be next time.

    Thanks for bringing up this nice concept.