Refocus Your Team Using OKRs

When your sales team falls behind the competition

The sales department is a company’s lifeline; no sales, slower cashflow. In fact, having an ineffective sales team can lead to dire consequences for your company. There’s a lot at stake here, so the pressure is always on for sales teams to nurture, keep, and acquire new clients or vendors.

So what if your sales team is underperforming, lacking motivation, or losing focus? Or maybe the situation at your company isn’t so bad, and all you want is for your sales team to push a little harder? A lack of focus, motivation, or performance could mean that your sales team is aiming for goals that are either unattainable or too-easily attainable. One creative way to set challenging, measurable, and achievable goals is to set Objective Key Results (OKRs).

The OKR framework should be able to help improve your sales team’s performance by reviving their motivation, bettering understand their individual roles, and stimulating their creativity—the three ingredients for a mean machine sales team.

Brief Overview of OKRs and What They Are

OKRs is a framework for setting goals purely and solely based on strategy. Starting off the quarter by thinking strategically can help turn your sales team from one that thinks at task-level, to one that thinks in terms of the “big picture.” You sales team will start setting goals that better align with company goals. They’ll start thinking more “outside the box” and become bolder decision makers.

Applying the OKR framework is simple; every team needs to set an overarching goal. It shouldn’t be complicated, it shouldn’t be any more than a few sentences. The overarching goal is then broken down into smaller, measurable, and attainable goals for the quarter (or month, or week), and then start working their way towards those goals by setting their own, individual goals as well.

OKRs, as you can tell, creates a sort of “ripple effect” throughout an organization—The c-suite team set objectives that align with the company objectives. And then heads of department will set goals that align with the c-suite team’s goals. And then teams will set goals that align with the heads of department’s goals. At this point, everyone’s goals are all just micro-goals that branch out from the main goals, which is company goals.

Remember, there is no “hierarchy of priority” when writing down these goals and key results. These aren’t the same tasks that you would normally delegate to your team members—they’re outcomes, and its your and your team’s job to do whatever it takes to achieve these outcomes. Once you’ve talked about the outcomes, each team member, according to their own level of experience, ability and skillset, will perform tasks that should ultimately result in those outcomes.

Your teams now have a better understanding of exactly what they need to do because they’ve set clear, attainable goals to work towards. With a common goal in mind, your team should work in a more cohesive and collaborative fashion.

How to successfully implement the OKR framework in the workplace

Determine the ultimate goal or objective before setting micro-goals

This should be on top of your list. You can’t expect individual teams to set their own goals when there isn’t an “ultimate” objective that they can all work together to achieve. If you start mapping out your micro-goals then you might risk veering into “tactical thinking” territory. When you don’t have an ultimate goal to start from, you start thinking in terms of “tasks” rather than in terms of “the big picture” or “ultimate goal.”

Once you have your ultimate objective, teams and team members will start following suit, and setting their own departmental or personal objectives that align with the ultimate goal. There’s a better understanding of the outcomes and what’s expected of them.

Have a timeframe

It doesn’t make sense to let your teams “roam free” and achieve those outcomes at their own, slow pace. You want your organization to be fast and efficient, and OKRs are an efficient way of getting quick, disruptive results.

Setting a timeframe is one of the rules of setting “measurable” OKRs. You need to give your team members a specific date on which they will have to have delivered those outcomes and results. We see most CEOs or business owners check in on their teams’ OKRs on a quarterly basis, but that also depends on your goals.



Set measurable Key Results

Again, your key results should be measurable, attainable, and can be done within whatever timeframe you’ve set for your team.

If you’re struggling to set key results for your team, follow this helpful template to ensure your key results are realistic, measurable, and accurate:

  • First major result: 80% of the goal or objective is achieved.
  • The second key result: 50% of the goal or objective is achieved.
  • Third key result: 20% of the goal or objective is achieved.


Follow up with your team on a regular basis (we’re talking weekly or even daily) to ensure that the tasks they’re keeping their eye on the ultimate objective or goal when performing or executing any task.


Give your team a little push by giving them a a great, big “why”

OKRs is a great model to use to set your company’s strategy, for both long-term and short-term goals. OKRs give your teams a sense of purpose and a meaningful to work towards.

However, OKRs can be easy for some but difficult for others. So you can get a clearer understanding of your team members, there are tools out there that can analyze your team members’ personalities using advanced AI that can determine their strengths, weaknesses, fears, triggers, and other aspects of their personalities. You’ll learn how to best commun

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