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Engagement & Performance

The power of self-selected goals for your sales team

To achieve big sales results, goals need to be set. At BI WORLDWIDE we know how important it is to set goals in order to achieve the best sales results. Take a look at how we advise our clients to optimise their sales performance by using self-selected goals…


Goal setting that leads to measureable results are most effective if they are self-selected, structured and time-specific. By setting clear and defined goals you will see the following:

  • Increased sales performance and engagement
  • Business growth and overall company objectives achieved
  • Transparency and improved collaboration within teams

“Do your best” is not a good enough attitude towards goal setting and does not embody any specific commitment. Incorporating a timeframe and specific desired outcome when setting any type of goal ensures it can be measured.


The most common use of goal setting in business is in the establishment of quotas, incentive plans, and compensation bonuses for the entire company or set of teams. As a rule, such goals are established unilaterally by management, with the process being top-down, with little or no opportunity for negotiation or dialogue.

Many companies traditionally offer cash incentives with no requirement for sales reps to strive for specific goals. The same rules and rewards are offered both to senior sales and the junior sales rep. This makes the goals for newer sales reps seem impossible and they mentally “check out” of the incentivised target. The inevitable result is that only the top 20% or so of the sales team actually provide any incremental effort and productivity. What about the other 80% of your sales team?

It’s well known that many companies set targets with the assumption that the majority of sales come from the top 20% of performers, meaning the middle 60% and lower 20% are not given as much consideration when setting goals and targets. We know this as the 20/60/20 rule. At BI WORLDWIDE we believe in Moving the Mighty Middlewhich involves incentivising and setting goals for your lower 20% and middle 60% sales performers to achieve target. A 5% performance gain from the middle 60% can yield over 70% more sales revenue than a 5% shift from the top 20%.


A corporate objective handed down to the sales team is not a personal goal unless the receiver accepts it as a goal. It may seem straightforward to make an entire workforce work towards the same goal; however this does not always provide the best sales results. Rather than providing a blanket target or goal for your sales team, consider tailoring goals to each individual, taking that even further and allowing them to choose their own reward to aim towards.

Would you expect a sales team of 50 to all work equally as hard to reaching a target that is the same for everyone, and the prize is a designer watch? This may not appeal to each person for a number of reasons. These types of goals are often rejected or ignored, and have little or no impact on individual performance and effort level. The result is at the end of the year fewer than 35% of sales reps reach their assigned goals.

At BI WORLDWIDE, we use the principles of behavioural economics to understand the complexity of different goal applications. The Goal Gradient Theory suggests the closer people get to achieving their goal, the more effort they put into meeting it. To enhance this theory, our sales incentive programmes have the capability to send updates to participants on what they need to achieve to meet their goal and remind them of the reward which awaits them at the finish line. Our incentive programmes such as GoalQuest® help sales people stay focused on their goals and encourage them to exceed previous targets.  

Our incentive programmes such as GoalQuest help sales people stay focused on their goals and encourage them to exceed previous targets...


BI WORLDWIDE developed a patented incentive programme called GoalQuest with a particular methodology that implements goal setting for a direct or indirect sales channel audience. GoalQuest integrates proven goal-setting principles on an interactive platform to capture individual goals selected by those enrolled with a sales incentive platform. The platform tracks sales performance, communicates progress and issues rewards for goal attainment.

For 17 years GoalQuest results have shown that implementing a personal goal-setting incentive results in the engagement of many more sales reps at all levels of productivity. Top, middle and lower performers all become engaged to create incremental results. Results have also shown that, when given the opportunity, most sales people will set higher goals for themselves, and will be more committed to the goals they set.

Only the sales reps themselves can assess the possibilities and decide the extent to which they’re willing to tap into their energies. So it’s logical that, when given the opportunity to participate in setting their own goals and reward levels, they are more likely to become engaged.

Giving sales reps the ability to select their “Dream Reward” from a set of tangible incentives drives the sales individual even more towards their personal goal. By implementing a personalised incentive, results show higher engagement at all levels of sales productivity. Engage your sales audience even further by tailoring the incentive programme communications to the individual, giving the illusion the programme has been designed specifically for them; we call this Idiosyncratic Fit. 

GoalQuest drives performance by engaging the emotions of participants through personal commitment to a goal. The design uses an all-or-nothing achievement structure. This approach is already used by most companies in one way or another. Any company that offers a travel programme for top performers already utilises this tool. For example, performers who qualify can earn a trip to Hawaii, however falling short of the qualifying level means no reward, and exceeding it does not enhance the reward: it’s still just Hawaii.


If you want to learn more about setting goals for your sales team or about our GoalQuest methodology and how it can be used in your business to drive sales performance, we’d love to have chat! Get in touch with the team …

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