Q. I would love any thoughts on how often management should reset the goals for a sales team? I have seen everything from annually to quarterly and would love to hear how other sales organizations parse out budgets.

A. The challenge I see with your question is that it is one-sided. When its only management deciding the goals, then its management talking AT the sales team. It should be a joint decision when they are decided upon. Yes the company needs a certain amount for growth, but the team may have individual goals they would like to accomplish. When management and the team work together, then better results are generated.

Another thing to take into account is how the goals are set. Does the company use BHAGs or extremely conservative goals? In either case, an extreme was considered more valuable than the actual result and I recommend that the company learn how to set goals so they don’t need to worry about ‘how often’ they need to visit this concern. For a company to put a plan together, the average time it takes is 3-6 months. If a company is constantly worried about re-setting goals, they are wasting a lot of time!

As for market conditions, on average the market does not change overnight. Yes there are exceptions to this, but if a company is regularly following the market, they should be able to set reasonable goals that are still achievable or close to it.