Have you set your sales goals for 2015? And at least as importantly, do you have a plan or road map in place for how you are going to achieve them? Most sales people fail to achieve their goals because they lack a detailed plan. In fact, very few of us understand what we need to do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to achieve our goals.

This is the time of year when it's natural to reflect on what has passed these preceding 12 months, and to set new goals and resolutions for the year ahead. That's because by nature, human beings are goal-focused, and certainly any sales person or sales-driven organization understands the role and value of sales goals. 

Goals provide focus, direction, clarity, motivation and so on. But having them - and achieving them - are very different degrees of difficulty which is why many resolutions and sales goals go unmet. 

So let's give a little bit of structure to this process to increase the chances of success. 

A Sense of Urgency

Lots of sales trainers and human behavior experts for that matter contend that many, or maybe even most, goals or resolutions are never realized because they simply aren't important enough to us.

Simple, common goals such as "increasing sales" and making more money (either for yourself or your company) are vague and may not be intrinsically motivating at all. They may increase our activity levels, but not our urgency levels. 

A little over a year ago I met a supercharged sales guy by the name of Eric Golden who helped me reframe my thinking about this. He says, "Urgency does not come from a decision to be urgent, it is the natural byproduct of an existing dream and a willing belief. It isn't something you make happen; it is something that happens to you. It isn't something you fight to change; it is something that fights to change you."

I don't want to comment any more about that passage, so as to take you down a path of what it means to me. I do encourage you to think about it though, and reflect on how it might apply to your life. 

Defining Objectives

Colleen Francis is the founder and president of Engage Selling Solutions. She suggests beginning this sales goal setting process by defining your objective and making the definition quantifiable. What, specifically, are your sales and production goals for this year? Some suggest not overthinking this number at first blush, but simply writing down whatever broad income or revenue goal that comes to you.

Then you can begin to question that number, and begin to break into down into bite-sized chunks of quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals. So if you want $50,000 in new business for 2015, over and above your current clients, and the average transaction is $1,500, you need 33 new clients. Then you can break that down even further by the number of qualified prospects you need to begin with, the number of attempts (phone calls, voice mail, e-mail, etc) you need to get the necessary numbers of meetings, and so on. 

Francis suggests tracking your attempts, meetings and close ratios constantly, and then consistently measuring your results. Then adjust your plan based on your real metrics. This might sound like a no brainer  but despite all the sophisticated CRM tools and other technology sales people have available to them, as we all know, many don't use them!

She says to "commit yourself to detailed accountability. The top 10% of sales performers have one thing in common: they are committed to detailed accountability. Mark the time you're going to spend attempting to reach customers in your calendar each day or week, and close your office door until you've completed it. While you're at it, turn off your e-mail and don't take in-bound calls. If you work in a cubical, find a closed office in which to do your prospecting. In other words, force yourself to stay focused and avoid distractions. The fewer distractions you have, the faster the work will get done."

My Golden sales friend says you either pay the price of commitment - or regret. And as attractive as some goals are, you may not be willing to do what is necessary to achieve the goal. For example, if you set an income goal and decide you need to put in an extra hour each week prospecting to achieve it, but you don't really like prospecting, and certainly don't want to devote any additional time to it, your goal will likely be unmet. 

Daily Diligence

Now that the sexiness of the shiny new sales goals have worn off, and your daydreams about how you might spend all that extra money rolling in begin to subside, you can begin the real work of accomplishing your goals.

Colleen Francis says the difference between top sales performers and the rest of the field is that top performers have a plan to achieve their goals, and they act on that plan every day. "Design a daily and/or weekly plan, act on it consistently and monitor your results."

Take advantage of the fact that our brains are hard wired to set - and achieve - our goals. Ultimately your success depends on your ability to plan the work and work the plan as the saying goes.

I'll let best selling sales author Jeffrey Gitomer have the last word.  

"Obstacles can't stop you. Problems can't stop you. Most of all, other people can't stop you. Only you can stop you."