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Establishing “Bulls-Eye” Targets – Best Practices

By Scott Gilmore

A key challenge facing most Sales Leaders is balancing the short-term drive for results, with a long range strategic view of where the business is headed.

Like it or not, as Sales Leader, your Executive Team; your Board; and your Shareholders are all asking you to predict the future.

One way to address the challenges of tomorrow is to create the future, today.

A key step in creating your long range sales strategy, is to establish a clear set of Bull's-Eyes – each with a crystal clear target.

Once you have established your Bulls-Eye Targets, you must identify Business Goals that align to and support each Bulls-Eye. It's the combination of these that will produce the results you are striving to achieve.

Creating Strong Bulls-Eye Targets

Step 1
Review your Strategic Intents (i.e. Sales & Service Excellence; Solution Dominance, etc).

Step 2
Brainstorm different ways of articulating the target (incremental, breakthrough, quantum).

Step 3
Select the target that feels right in your gut.

Step 4
Articulate the Bulls-Eye Target for each Strategic Intent using the format: What's the Focus? How Much? By When?

Three Type's of Targets

Incremental Target – ask yourself what “playing the game better” looks like relative to your Strategic Intent. For example, increasing your market share for your flagship product by 10%.

Breakthrough Target – ask yourself what “changing the rules of the game” looks like relative to your Strategic Intent. For example, creating a technology extension to an existing product that opens up new Customer opportunities.

Quantum Target – ask yourself what “changing the game” looks like relative to your Strategic Intent. For example, creating a new product that establishes a new category will change the way Customers perceive you in your marketplace.

Select the Bulls-Eye target that seems most worthy of pursuit. By definition, it must either be a “breakthrough”, or “quantum” target. An incremental target just does not cut it in the world of Bulls-Eyes.

Now, you must ask yourself what it is you are trying to achieve. What are you focusing your efforts on? What do you want to change, improve, reduce or add?

For instance:

  • Be #1 or #2 in Every Market We Serve
  • Fastest to Market with New Applications
  • Be the Most Trusted Brand

The target does not get into the details of “how to” accomplish the goal – it simply states the end point – what are you focusing your efforts on?

Bulls-Eyes – Examples
These examples are likely not important to your organization, but they are meaningful to the organizations that established them.

Keep in mind that the Bulls-Eye represents the ultimate target for each Strategic Intent. If your overall Shared Purpose speaks to “Proudly Building on Our Global Reputation” – then what is the ultimate target you are aiming for? For example:

  • By December 31, 2008, we will be recognized as the most respected brand in our industry
    Or if your Vision has a strategic intent such as “Solution Dominance” – then your Bulls-Eye Target could read:
  • By December 31, 2008, we will generate 50% of our revenue from solutions that do not exist today

In summary, taking the time to establish Bulls-Eye Targets is an important step to creating tomorrow's reality.

As Sales Leader, it's your responsibility to inspire people to a “shared purpose”, so that they can believe and embrace these goals with the commitment and energy required to achieve them.