Q: How do I set realistic sales goals for my employees?

A: John Doerr, co-president of Rain Group, a sales training and consulting firm in Framingham, Mass., offers this approach.

  1. Determine your company’s goals. “The toughest thing for entrepreneurs to ask is, ‘All right, if I get to this level, will I be happy?’ The first step is to figure out where you are and what you want.”
  2. Assess market potential. “That’s going to influence how big the quota should be. If [you’re] in a brand-new space, the quota could be really high. You have to adjust your goals to the overall market potential.”
  3. Evaluate your salespeople. “You want your goals to be an incentive that people can reach. You don’t want people to be discouraged. What’s possible for them based on their previous sales level and their skills set?”