What is the SMART model?

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In simple terms, the SMART model is a clear description of an objective. The model comprises five words, and each word is a question to be answered to specify the goal in question. It is used in a number of different areas. These include sales, but also personal development and project management – to name a few examples.

So what does SMART stand for? The five words are as follows:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Accepted
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Sometimes attractive or ambitious is used as an alternative to accepted. Time-bound can be exchanged for timed or time-limited.

How is the SMART model used to achieve objectives?

As you probably already know, goals are crucial to your success, especially in sales. And with SMART goal setting, the goal is easier to achieve. SMART is one of the most effective models, but also one of the most used, when it comes to goal setting. That said, it is important to know this useful model – no matter the goal. Below are the five steps that you work with to set SMART goals.

Do you want to increase your chances of success in sales? Then it would be best if you also had a clear sales strategy. Read more about strategy development and how Salesonomics can help you improve your sales strategy here.

1. Specific – formulate a specific objective

We start with the first word – specific. A SMART goal should always be clear and specific. When the goal is specific, it is also much easier to achieve. You know what efforts to focus on. Formulate a specific goal by answering the following questions:

  • Who is involved in the goal?
  • What do I want to achieve?
  • Why is it important for me to achieve this goal?
  • Where should the goal be achieved?
  • What are the resources or constraints?
  • When do I want to achieve this goal?

2. Measurable – what can be measured?

To achieve your goal, the SMART model suggests that progress toward the goal should ideally be measurable and it should be clear what it means to achieve it. Some examples of goals you can achieve using the SMART model are:

  • Generate 50 new customers
  • Increase sales by 10%
  • Achieve a profitability of at least 10% on the business

Measuring progress is important to keep you (and possibly others involved) motivated. Otherwise, you won’t be able to tell if you’re getting closer to your goal, or if you’ll be able to reach it at all. By measuring progress, you will stay focused, meet deadlines, and feel motivated by constantly getting one step closer to the finish line.

A measurable goal should address the following questions:

  • What measurable unit should be used?
  • How many or how much?
  • What is required for the goal to be considered achieved?

3. Accepted – is there acceptance?

Have you and others involved embraced and accepted the target and is there motivation to achieve it? It is important to keep control of the goal. Make sure there is a plan that drives everyone forward.

An accepted goal usually answers the following questions:

  • Am I prepared to implement the goal?
  • Is the goal worth the work required?
  • Is the timing right?
  • Does the goal match my other efforts?
  • Am I the right person to achieve the goal?

4. Realistic – can the goal be achieved?

A SMART goal should also be realistic. The goal will need to push your boundaries in order to achieve results, but it should still be achievable. A realistic goal can answer the following questions:

  • How can I achieve the goal?
  • How realistic is the goal based on current constraints?
  • Are the necessary resources available? If not, what is needed to achieve the goal?
  • Have others achieved the goal before me?

5. Time-bound – when should the goal be achieved?

A SMART goal should have a start and end date. You need a deadline and something to work towards. When the goal is timed, you ensure that everyday tasks are not prioritized over your long-term goals.

A timed goal can answer the following questions:

  • Does the goal have a deadline?
  • When will I have achieved the goal?
  • What can I do in six months?
  • What can I do in six weeks?
  • What can I do today?

What is double-SMART goal setting?

It is also important that you check the emotions that the current goal should create. The goal should feel:

R-fun (a direct translation from Swedish)

Don’t forget to always check the goal on the double-SMART checklist.

Advantages and disadvantages of the SMART model

As with all models, there are of course advantages and disadvantages to SMART. Below we look at some of the most important ones.

Disadvantages of the SMART model

  • Less effective for qualitative objectives
  • Can make long-term goals less flexible
  • Lack of activities to achieve goals

Advantages of the SMART model

  • A clear path to the goal
  • Easier to track progress
  • A clear plan for success
  • Motivates to focus on future profitability
  • Breaks down large goals into smaller pieces

Why should I use the SMART model?

Clear and concise goal setting is always important, no matter what the goal is and whether you’re achieving it alone or in a group. When working towards a goal, it is important that you feel motivated and inspired. It is very important that you understand the project and believe in the work being done. If you are a group, everyone involved should have confidence in the project and feel motivated. This is how you achieve efficient work that also brings you one step closer to the goal every day.

When the going gets tough, when you hit a slump and feel like you’re not getting anywhere, SMART goal setting is crucial. With the SMART model, you are aware of your successes and you know what it takes to take the next step. What’s more, you know what to expect at the finish line. The best results come from good, well-thought-out goal setting, and that’s what SMART gives you. But remember, training is needed for the SMART model to work optimally.

Have you just recruited new salespeople who need to quickly get on the right track and work towards set goals? Or do you feel that your existing salespeople could reach even higher levels? Then we at Salesonomics are here for you. We train your salespeople so that together you can achieve goals and the desired results of your investments.

Picture of Simon Blanche

Simon Blanche