Introducing OKRs: 7 Tips for Winning Sales Goals Using OKR Framework

Introducing OKRs: 7 Tips for Winning Sales Goals Using OKR Framework

Any sales team needs mainly two things to succeed. One, a set of well-defined goals. Two, a proper plan and execution process to accomplish them. OKR framework (Objectives and Key Results) is all about helping your sales team to set such goals/objectives and measures the key performances.

However, most of the business willingly set a target and work hard to become successful. But, if you try to analyze why a company fails to reach that target, you may notice a common pattern to it. That they too have goals. Hence, they didn’t realize to set them with the right plan and lacks the enthusiasm to measure the key metrics.

Here comes the OKR. It is designed to make you capable to overcome this major problem. Measuring key performances of your objectives let you make the right decision, make remedies to the mistakes, and monitor the whole activities of the team.

Therefore in this blog, you will learn more about OKR, how it helps your business to grow, and the necessary tips to set winning sales goals with the OKR framework. Keep reading.

OKR Framework at a Glance

okr tips for sales team

Finding out the objective of a sales team, and measuring the key results of the activities is crucial. OKR framework is a strategic process to do that in the right way.

OKR Framework at a Glance
An Example of OKR Spreadsheet

The term OKR is developed by Andy Grove who introduced the method when he was working for Intel. Then he described the total framework in his 1983 book High Output Management. Since then, Grove is called the “Father of OKRs”.

You can break down the thing like that-

anatomy of okr framework
Source: Mint

As for objectives, the OKR framework emphasizes your sales team to clear about the destination. In a given time, how many sales you want to make, or where do you want to go? You need to be specific about that.

The next phase is all about examining the sales process, quantities, and activities of the sales team.

The combination lets you improvise, recuperate from the wrong decisions, and eventually get closer to the destination.

However, the OKR framework can be useful to any team of your business. And practically, the process works like a mirror where you can observe all of your activities towards the goal you have set.

How to Set OKRs for Your Sales Team

In an OKR implementation, the objective is qualitative and answers the question of what is to be accomplished. Objectives are supported by key results that benchmark and monitors how we achieve the objective. Key Results (KRs) are specific, measurable, and time-bound.


Implementing OKR isn’t a complex thing. You can apply it to anywhere in your life where you need to achieve something. The whole OKR follows a strategic pattern and process.

However, if you want to apply OKR, there are several steps you should maintain one by one.

Step 1 – Set Goals that You can Achieve

winning sales goal

Setting goals and objectives are the first steps of OKR. It should be based on the size of your investment, market position, and competitor analysis. For example, you have just begun a startup. Your team shouldn’t set a target to beat the top competitors in sales. Though, eventually, you are going to set such a goal anyway.

Sarah A. White, a senior writer at CIO noted establishing OKR in the sales team is the most crucial thing. She emphasized the word “establishing.” And it starts by setting sales goals by defining each individual’s role in the team, keeping them super active by asking a question like – “What are the most important impacts we need to make in the coming quarter?”

Sarah also suggested, “You will want to hold a brainstorming meeting where your team can establish which goals will have the most impact in the next quarter.”

Step 2 – Find Out the Measurable Key Results of Each goal

In this step, you must set some key metrics. These metrics will be measurable, and well-aligned with your goals/objectives.

Suppose, your sales team wants to increase the sales funnel in the next 3 months. How will you know if the team going toward achieving that target? Your key results will let you know and analyze this.

Look at the example below –

OKR example

The example shows the main objective was to increase the sales funnel by 35%. The sales team set 4 key results that lead them to reach the core goals. Like, the number of salespeople, monthly active prospects, lead conversions and reducing churn rate.

If these results are assuring, you are all good. If not, you should work on them step by step. That’s how it works.

Step 3 – Explain the Objectives to the Team Members

Team collaboation

You have your goals. And also, you have set the measurable key results. In this step, your main job is establishing balanced communication throughout the team.

So, here’s what you should do –

  • Explain the objectives to your team members.
  • Follow up with them.
  • Work closely with each other.
  • Inspire each other to accomplish the goals

The whole process will be teamwork. Though, each goal is distributed to individuals. But only the combined effort can make it possible to reach the target you have set.

Step 4 – Tracking Results Regularly

Track key results

In this step, you will be tracking your OKR key results. This will let you know either your OKR process is working or not. The key results also let you know how well you are performing, and where to improve more.

According to Workfront, “assigning percentage benchmarks for each Key result is crucial. Just because an Objective has four Key Results does not mean that when two are completed, the OKR is halfway done.”

Tips to Set Achievable Sales Goals with OKR Framework

Work in a team for forecasting inventory

OKR is a shared goals system used to align, engage, and connect everyone at the company around measurable business goals.


If simply put, OKR is a system that will let you reach your goals through teamwork. Of course, with measurable strategies. Hence, let’s find out some of the most useful OKR tips to set winning sales goals for your business.

1. Set One OKR at a time

Is it a good decision to set too many objectives? This should be the first thing to think about. As the framework follows a specific time period, you need to prioritize your goals and distribute them one after another in different quarters of a year.

WebFx suggested, “You don’t want to overload your team member with too many goals and leave them distracted.”

Therefore, the tactics is simple: set one OKR with precise and minimal amount of objectives.

2. Keep Your OKR Process Simple

This is a progression of the first tip above. Your OKR is going to be simple if you breakdown your objectives throughout the different quarters. Therefore, it will also help you to avoid messed up approaches.

How to make OKR simple? The simplest way is focusing on one objective at a time for each team member, and one measurable key metric. Don’t set such goals that are uninspiring. It doesn’t matter if they are big or small. They should have logic, best-laid plans, and high possibilities to achievable in the designed timeframe.

Look at the example below shared by Hubspot, it shows an OKR of a sales team –

sales team OKR

This means only one thing: don’t overload. Therefore, be specific about your objectives.

3. Establish Transparency and Proper Collaboration

Each one of the team members should share what they are doing to achieve the respective targets. It is necessary. It establishes transparency, and throttle the combination.

Ex-Googler Agata Krzysztofik shared one of his OKR experience when he first land on Google, “my manager asked me to draft personal OKRs. Each employee would add them under their profile in Moma (Google’s intranet). This way, individual goals would become visible to anyone at the company.”

This is also a valid reason you should implement OKR. The framework itself is designed to establish bridges the gap between the team members.

4. OKR Goals Must Be Specific and Clear

specific and clear goal

Vague and unspecific goals can drown your OKR process in the first place. If your goals are not precise, and clear, the team members feel confusions. Eventually your boat end up to nowhere practically.

Here’s a fun fact from a study by Harvard Business Review: “83% of the population do not have goals; 14% have a plan in mind, but goals are unwritten, and 3% have goals written down.”

The study further states, “the 14% who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals. The 3% with written goals are three times more successful than the 14% with unwritten goals.”

For common people, setting a goal is hard. Because they don’t understand the cruciality. But in your business, where you want to a winning sales results, setting measurable goals should more prolific and reachable.

Mindtools mentioned these five golden rules of goal setting that can help you to set a specific goal for OKR –

  • Your goal should be motivating
  • SMART (Specific, Measurable, attainable, Relevant, Timebound)
  • Write them down (You will be doing it as you are going to follow OKR)
  • Make action plan
  • Stick with your goal

Hence, if you look closely, OKR emphasizes the second rule. SMART approach include all the things you need. OKR gives you a step by step way to implement this.

5. Try to See the Bigger Picture

In OKR, you do little things consistently to earn big in a certain period. Hence, a little success can lead up to larger things.

Your yearly sales target is divided by quarters. As a result, you typically see the current quarter in motion. However, if you can understand and able to estimate what your sales result would be after one year, or even after five years, this will help you to act more strategically in the present.

Marketer Nicole Munoz explained the big picture in OKR like this –

It’s easy to get so focused on the details that you lose sight of the big picture. By tying your team’s output directly to achieving a strategic goal, you’ll keep the focus on where the company is headed and how each task helps you get there. This also gives your team the incentive to ensure everything they do furthers your company’s strategic goals.

Hence, you should expand your thinking and observation. Bridge the gap between teams would be the most significant step that lets you grasp the whole thing.

6. Cascading OKR Throughout the Team

You want your sales team to achieve target. But it is more convenient when you cascade your goals with other teams at the same time. This means allied approach and strategic co-ordination among all the teams in the company.

If you are having a hard time achieving your teams KRs, ask another team and get help. The same thing also applies to other teams. Helping each other, sharing information, learning each other’s strategies, and progress would be a great help to establish a strong OKR process. An alignment can save your effort to become fruitless.

Your objectives can cascade upwards or downwards throughout the organizations. Sometimes, the whole company can combinedly work for sales teams objectives. On the other hand, the company’s objectives can be adopted by sales team.

cascading OKR

Though, Google’s former VP of People Operations Laszlo Bock suggested the opposite, “having goals improves performance. Spending hours cascading goals up and down the company, however, does not. It takes way too much time and it’s too hard to make sure all the goals line up.”

This also means, cascading could be difficult when you have a larger team. But also we mentioned above, Google’s OKR is open to all the team members. This allows them to monitor what others are doing. Most of the case, this is enough to make remedy for your mistakes, and get motivations.

7. Use OKR to Adapt Difficult Goals

The philosophy behind OKR is that if the company is always reaching 100% of the goals, they are too easy.

Felipe Castro, OKR Trainer

Our first advice was to make your OKR simple. This isn’t contradictory with adapting goals that look difficult in the first place. If it has possibilities, you believe your team can win this, you are all set to go. Therefore, OKR can make your progress even easier.

There is a significant distinction between simple and easy objectives regarding OKR. It’s a matter of establishing logic, data, inspiration, and planning. These elements can make your difficult goals looks highly achievable.

All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.

Orison Swett Marden

Giants like Apple or Google may never able to make it if they failed to takes risks and set hard objectives.

So, if you want to grow your business, you can guide your team to overcome any exhausting objectives. Though, it is not suggested by experts to do this regularly. But in a given year which consists of four quarters, you can set hard objectives in one of them.

Concluding OKR Tips for Your Sales Team

We set ourselves goals we know we can’t reach yet, because we know that by stretching to meet them we can get further than we expected.

Ten things we know to be true

Goals can be small and big. Most of the time you should set small goals that connect your main goal. Little by little, that progress your way toward winning results.

OKR is all about setting goals for your sales team and keep the team members moving with them simultaneously.

OKR trainer Felipe Castro wants to share the same thought, “Adopting OKR is a journey, not an event. As in any cultural transformation, change does not happen overnight. But it is possible to modify the company’s dynamics in a few months, aligning and engaging the team.”

So tell us what do you think about OKR. Do you believe it can help your business to overcome the growth challenges?

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