How to Calculate Monthly Sales Targets Based on Prior Performance

Last Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2017 by Robb Sands
increase sales message with graph showing upward growth

Updated: January 12, 2017


Executive Summary

How to Calculate Monthly Sales Targets Based on Prior Performance
 → why sales targets must be near-term  → the simple method of calculating  → simple method example  → the advanced method of calculating  → calculations explained with examples Approx. Skim Time: 1min 10sec ~ 120 wordsFull Read Time:4min 30sec~ 835 words

Importance of Targets

Sales managers the world over will tell you, universally, that they want team success. No doubt your company is much the same - if the team can make a certain number for the year, they'll be pleased, you'll be pleased and most importantly, your boss will be pleased.

That magic annual number is nothing more than a goal, or target. Hit that and "Bob's your uncle" (a British equivalent to the French expression "et voilà!").


Targets - Near or Far?

The only problem with annual targets is that they are so far distant that they don't seem real. People will procrastinate, make excuses, get distracted and do other things.

So how, as managers, do we get the team to focus on the targets in the distance, today?

We divide up the annual targets into monthly (bite size) pieces and then focus the team on their goals for the current month.

Near-term targets motivate salespeople to deliver sales results.


Simple Method: How to Calculate Monthly Targets

As end of year approaches, management meetings are filled with recaps of the past year, post mortem analysis of why things happened as they did, and new goal posts are set for the year ahead. A departmental sales goal is set and it's one that managers have to live with for the next 12 months.

Turning an annual departmental sales target into individual monthly targets:
  •  Divide the total annual target by the # of sales reps
  •  Divide the annual rep targets by the number of months in a year


Example Simple Calculation

Manchester Toys needs to achieve £12.0 million in sales next year to make plan.  To do this, the team of 5 sales reps each will each need to generate 1/5th of the £12,000,000 - giving them each an annual target of £2,400,000.  Dividing this by 12, each rep is then left with a monthly target of £200,000.

targets and sales combined

Intermediate Method: How to Individualise Monthly Targets Based on Last Year

In order to account for differences in salesperson experience, time in position, skills and pay grade, targets can vary accordingly. One approach to handling these differences is to use performance from last year in making the calculation.

The below example assumes last year total sales of £11,000,000, thanks to the results from each:
     £2,530,000 - Bob
     £2,310,000 - Jill
     £2,200,000 - John
     £2,090,000 - Ailsa
     £1,870,000 - Aaron


Example Intermediate Calculation

First, subtract sales order value for last year from the target for next year and divide by the last year total, to get the percentage increase, then round up to make sure targets will combine to beat the team total needed by end of year:
     £12,000,000 - £11,000,000 = £1,000,000
     £ 1,000,000 / £11,000,000 = 9.09090909% increase
     Round to 9.1%

graph showing salesperson share of sales last year


Next, calculate % share of total sales for each salesperson last year:
     (£2,530,000 / £11,000,000) = 23% Bob
     (£2,310,000 / £11,000,000) = 21% Jill
     (£2,530,000 / £11,000,000) = 20% John
     (£2,310,000 / £11,000,000) = 19% Ailsa
     (£2,530,000 / £11,000,000) = 17% Aaron


Note: If your developing salespeople (Ailsa and Aaron) are expected to deliver more, based on their increasing skills and pipeline development, you may want to modify their percentages upward from their levels shown in example B.

Also, if Bob is going to be called upon for mentoring and development of the sales team, based on his obvious success, he may need his target brought down accordingly.


Now, calculate the last year total x salesperson share percentage + 100% (109.1% total) for each person:
     £2,757,700  (£2,530,000 x 109.1%) - Bob
     £2,517,900  (£2,310,000 x 109.1%) - Jill
     £2,400,200  (£2,200,000 x 109.1%) - John
     £2,280,190  (£2,090,000 x 109.1%) - Ailsa
    £2,040,170  (£1,870,000 x 109.1%) - Aaron


Now, divide this figure by 12 to get the monthly individual target for each person:
     £229,808 - Bob
     £209,825 - Jill
     £200,016 - John
     £190,015 - Ailsa
     £170,014 - Aaron

Compare these numbers to the simple example, where each salesperson had a flat £200,000 monthly target for each. Set clear, achievable, near-term goals by using monthly targets tailored to each salesperson's skills, pipeline and tenure.   Use the previous year sales order volume to tailor targets.
tv leaderboard listing salespeople volume for the month

Next Steps Forward

For additional strides ahead, consider combining your targets with actuals into a single leaderboard-style view, put it up on a wall-mounted TV for the entire team to see and watch as the recognition drives your team by motivating them to achieve at peak!

See how you can easily create leaderboards and push your team to beat target each and every month.

Take the next step forward and combine targets with actuals and put those numbers on a wall-mounted TV leaderboard.

See It In Action
Find out how easy it is to beat target with Target Dashboard software for sales managers. Start building your competitive advantage, today.