What do your sales goals for the coming year look like? The most successful sellers usually have two numbers in mind: their quota, which is their piece of the company's yearly revenue target, and then another higher number that represents what they need to sell to achieve their own personal goals.

The second number is the more important one, since the best goals come from inside your own mind. Just as you can't lose weight because someone else wants you to, neither can you feel excited or motivated about a target that has been imposed on you from the outside.

In order for a goal to motivate you to work, you really have to want it; and only you really know what you want.

Regardless of what solutions you sell, there is one thing I'm certain of: you do have a goal in your mind that you want to achieve. It might be a certain house, a nicer car, a dream vacation you have always wanted to take, money for your child's college education, or any number of a million other things.

In fact, your goal may not be financial at all.

I meet people in sales who are motivated by the desire to win the company trip, be in the top one percent of their company, or secure a promotion.

The point is that there is no such thing as a bad goal. It simply must be your goal; a goal that motivates you!

And, to be most effective, it can't be a vague notion of something you'd like to have sometime in the future. You must turn it into a plan of action that's as realistic as it is motivating.

Here are some tips on how to turn your goals into a realistic plan of action for a stellar 2011.

1. Turn your dream into a number and then shoot higher. As I mentioned, it's not important that your goal be financial; but at a certain point, you will have to turn your goal into something measureable and most likely in sales, something focused on incoming revenue.

As you set your measurable goals, estimate a little bit on the high side.

When you shoot for higher than what you actually want, often you'll achieve at a higher level or at least exactly where you originally hoped and planned. Next to not planning at all, the biggest mistake a seller can make is aiming too low.

By selling yourself short, you miss out on a lot of great things you could be enjoying. There is no need to be unrealistic, but make sure to aim high.

2. Translate your number into monthly, weekly, and daily activities. Now that you have established something measureable to reach what you want most, think about it in terms of what you must measure and accomplish over the course of the year.

If for example, you have a goal of how many new accounts you want to secure in a year in order to generate your revenue goal and take that fabulous trip, turn that number into a specific number of leads, attempts, meetings, etc. that you'll need to get there. Base your number on your closing percentages from the past.

Finally, you'll want to know how many cold calls, prospecting emails, networking events, or other lead-generating activities you'll need to do to get things started.

From there, you should be able to set some weekly activity goals that'll carry you to your personal goal and that spectacular trip you're planning.

3. Compare what you need to what you've been assigned. I mentioned earlier that there isn't any such thing as a bad goal. That's true, but if what you need to sell to achieve your dream is a lot less than the quota assigned to you by your manager, then you'll most likely have a problem!

To remain successful in your job, your quota and your own sales goal should at least match.

If there's a big discrepancy between what you expect of yourself compared to what your manager expects of you, perhaps a consultation would be time well spent. This will improve communication and accountability on both sides.

As we move into another year, you're probably going to have sales goals that have been given to you by someone else. While it's important that you meet those expectations, you'll be most fulfilled when using your talent, ability, and time to work towards the things that you most want in your life!

Author's Bio: 

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, to read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter, visit www.klagroup.com or call +1 303.741.6636.