Wednesday 26 October 2016

Problem solver: Why does my company need sales targets anyway?

Feargal Quinn

Published 09/04/2015 | 02:30

Feargal Quinn. Photo: Tom Burke
Feargal Quinn. Photo: Tom Burke

Q: I don't understand the need for sales targets in my business and perhaps you could elaborate on the benefits?

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A: The purpose of targets in any business is to create focus and get the management team to work to achieve a predetermined outcome. When setting the targets the business owner/board of management will usually set the targets so as to stretch the performance of the business to its maximum.

By knowing what the weekly or monthly sales/profit target it then ensures that managers and supervisors have a clear point of focus and know what is expected of them. I have met several businesses which not alone have a target for the overall business but break this down by department and in many cases by individual staff member.

Quite typically businesses which operate to a target driven system will outperform businesses which simply wait and see what sales they achieve. The non-target driven system tends to be quite passive and removes any elements of pressure to achieve certain figures and that is the biggest risk of not putting targets into place.

To some degree the target becomes the policeman/woman who ensures the business stays focused on the task in hand and acts as an alarm when targets are not being achieved so as to refocus initiatives being taken, and in some cases reformulates the strategy being used if the current one isn't sufficient.

In summary, targets can be an excellent tool in ensuring that your business maximises its potential.

Q: What are the traits of a successful business in 2015?

A: I have noticed several patterns among businesses that are over performing currently which suggests that if you take certain actions these will improve your chances of success.

Quite typically strong businesses will have a good management structure which is target driven and where the owner uses focused weekly management meetings to drive progress of the business forward. The combination of being target driven with a routine monitoring and measurement meeting ensures that the business stays on track and develops a culture of becoming results driven.

Quite typically many of these businesses are driven by a passionate owner or senior manager who is not afraid to defy convention where there is a better way to get results. Communication with its consumers in these successful businesses is also usually at a very high level and more often than not successful enterprises are nimble and can move faster than their competitors.

These businesses are ofren great at marketing and will be masters of both digital media and traditional marketing strategies. If I were to pick one single attribute it would be ability to remain focused and keep the single key objective in their sights when competitors become distracted.

Do you have problems with your small business? Email Feargal at

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