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Norman Behar

By: Norman Behar on January 24th, 2017

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Setting Sub-Goals Results in Achieving Sales Goals

Sales Management

On this episode, Jeet Vadher asks: What should be the sub-goals for achieving sales goals? Our CEO Norman Behar discusses the distinction between results (the goal) and behaviors (the sub-goals); and shares a four-step framework to manage performance.


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Video Script

That's a great question. It gets to the distinction between results and behaviors. So think about your revenue goal as a result, and reflect on the activities that drive that result as the sub-goals, to use your terminology.

What happens in a lot of organizations is that they're very results-oriented. There's nothing wrong with being results-oriented, but the thing to think about is results are inherently backwards-looking. They're something you can monitor, but not necessarily manage.

Let's say the result is a new account acquisition. Think about what are the key activities that correspond and align with your goal? Those could be things like prospecting for new business. Then we're seeing a lot of interest in pre-call research and planning to prepare for sales calls that are not easy to get: thinking about mapping organizations, who are the key decision-makers and influencers and putting together territory plans.

The reason that new account acquisition is getting much attention is that many salespeople and sales organizations are overly reliant on too few customers. So when you think about the result, think about that as being a goal—and the specific activities salespeople need to engage in to achieve it.

We use a four-step framework in our new book, The High-Impact Sales Manager, where managers begin by communicating expectations. The important thing to remember here is that (1) you want to communicate your expectation, both regarding the result you want to achieve, and also communicate expectations around the activity levels that align with that result.

The next thing you want to do is to (2) monitor results. I use the word "monitor" because we can't manage results. They're inherently backwards-looking, but it's crucial to understand where you stand.

Then (3) monitor and manage behaviors. Those behaviors are the activities that you're observing. In other words, is there enough prospecting activity? Is there a good job of pre-call research and planning going on? Those are things you could visually observe and inspect in your one-on-one meetings.

Finally (4) provide regular feedback—another area where there's significant room for improvement. If you wait until the end of the quarter, it's too late to provide that feedback. If you're engaging in weekly one-on-ones, you can review quickly what the results are, and then take a look at the underlying behaviors. Provide positive feedback if those activities are running ahead of plan and search for areas to course-correct for those activities that are running below plan.

To recap, I like the question. I think you're hitting on a critical point of results. Those results are what you want to achieve. The activities that you need to engage in are the behaviors (or the sub-goals that drive those results). Lastly, use weekly one-on-ones to meet with your salespeople and make sure they're staying on track.

Thank you very much for your question. Good luck, and good selling.

SRG Insights is a Q&A video series where we answer your questions on the topics of sales, sales management, sales coaching, and sales training. Featuring sales experts with over 25 years of sales and sales management experience.  

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About Norman Behar

Norman Behar is a Managing Director at the Sales Readiness Group, A Part of SBI. He has over 25 years of senior sales management experience and is recognized as a thought leader in the sales training industry. His blog posts and whitepapers are frequently featured in leading sales enablement publications, including ATD,, and Selling Power.