September 13, 2021

Why your sales team needs OKRs

Lucy Hitz
Lucy Hitz

If you’re looking for a new way to motivate your sales team and achieve exceptional business outcomes, you’ve come to the right place. 

OKRs, or objectives and key results, are a proven way for organizations, teams, and individuals to turn goals into results. That’s why companies like Adobe, GE, Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce use the OKR methodology to help them achieve their goals.

If you noticed, those companies are pretty spectacular at driving sales. Are OKRs to credit? Yes, in part! For sales teams, OKRs will help you:

  • Work together as a team to achieve business results
  • Establish accountability and motivate individuals to contribute to business success
  • Perform at a high level

The importance of teamwork in achieving sales goals

As anyone on a sales team knows, it’s easy to get wrapped up in your individual quota. But if you really want to win, it’s best to work as a team. One of the many benefits of OKRs is that it helps contribute to a more collaborative culture, and gets everyone working together to achieve shared goals.

With OKRs, you’ll work together to set three to five objectives for the entire sales team. These determine your priorities for the time period, giving your team a unified vision of where you want to go. 

You’ll then break each down into a few (usually three) key results, which will describe how you’ll measure your success in accomplishing those objectives.

Make sure to get feedback and input on OKRs from the entire team (not just sales leaders) so that everyone feels invested in the process and the outcome. After all, a Harvard Business Review study found that 71% of employees rank “a high level of engagement” as one of the top factors contributing to business success. 

Here’s an example of what an OKR may look like for a sales team:

Objective: Move to a territory-focused sales model

Key Results: 

  • AE and SDR pairings create 10 outbound-generated opportunities in their territory
  • 100% of AEs have completed their territory strategy presentation
  • Leads per territory are within 20% variance

Establish accountability and boost motivation

From there, each individual member of your sales team will create their own OKRs in context of the larger goals set for the team. In doing so, each member of the team will know exactly how and what they’re expected to contribute, and by when. This promotes ownership of their piece of the business, while ensuring they’re still aligned with larger organizational goals.

OKRs also make progress toward goals visible to everyone – across the entire organization – so you can get a complete picture of how everyone’s individual contributions are driving organizational results. This transparency is key to ensuring an OKR program is effective, as it establishes accountability and further promotes alignment across the organization.

Perform better than ever before

Sales teams are always looking for the next “win,” earning them the reputation of a high-output, hard working group within any organization. For sales teams looking to increase their performance, OKRs can be a fantastic tool to drive success.

Our 2021 Goal Management Report found that 80% of our customers say their OKR program with has helped them create a higher performing team. There are reasons aplenty for this, but one that’s particularly relevant for sales teams is that with OKRs, progress isn’t tied to compensation. 

For sales teams who are used to being compensated based on their ability to hit quota, this can take some adjustment. However, a good OKR program encourages teams to develop ambitious, stretch goals in order to enable innovation and progress – not to introduce a new way to measure compensation. 

To learn more about how taking controlled risks with OKRs can boost the bottom line, check out this blog post.

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