One of the things that every team needs to figure out is how they’re going to work with OKRs.

Sure, you might have heard great success stories about the OKR framework, but once you’re setting up the OKRs for your team, you might come to realize that it is more difficult than you thought it would be.

Perdoo is all about creating transparency, and that’s why we want to be transparent ourselves and show you exactly how we work with OKRs in our Sales team.

How it all Starts

When setting the OKRs for our Sales Team, we always start by looking at the top-level OKRs of the company for inspiration. We always ask ourselves: “If this is where the company wants to go, what can our department do to help us get there?”

So what does it look like?

In 2016, we’ve had 2 company-level Objectives that have driven every single Sales Objective this year:

  • Massively accelerate our revenue growth
  • Make our organization highly scalable

Each quarter, we’ve derived several Objectives for the Sales team from these, like

  • Take new business sales to a whole new level (aligned to Massively accelerate our revenue growth)
  • Build an incredibly adaptable Sales team (Make our organization highly scalable)

These are 2 Objectives which the Sales team has also held all year and copied from quarter to quarter after we review them. At the same time, we’ve had Objectives aligned to these same 2 company level Objectives that have changed from quarter to quarter.

For instance, in Q2 we were also focusing on setting up partnerships. We, therefore, had an additional Objective:

  • Build a powerful network of service providers (aligned to Massively accelerate our revenue growth)

In Q3 we’ve spent quite some time improving our use and configuration of our CRM, so we had an Objective

  • Drastically improve our Salesforce instance (aligned to Make our organization highly scalable)

It’s important to note that these were both quarterly objectives. While being aligned to annual objectives on the company level, our sales team’s objectives changed from quarter to quarter to correspond with our shifting priorities throughout the year.

Each of these Objectives had Key Results that helped make them measurable, as well as Actions that we used to indicate the projects we were going to complete in order to try and move the needle on those Key Results. For example:

  • Objective: Build a powerful network of service providers
  • Key Result: Have 30 Partnership agreements signed with consultancies
  • Key Result: Have 50 Referral Agreements signed with agencies
  • Action: Scan the market for suitable service providers
  • Action: Update our referral agreement

Our Objective Massively accelerate our revenue growth is measured each quarter by 2 different Key Results; one that outlined the volume of deals we wanted to close and one that outlined the actual monetary revenue we were hoping to bring in in total. Obviously, these numbers grew from quarter to quarter.

Where the people come in

At this point, it’s time to break down all of these OKRs into what they look like at the individual level. We at Perdoo ask all employees to study existing OKRs on the company and team level, and then try to draft their own OKRs. That’s how we give individuals autonomy to choose what they should be working on, based upon the priorities set by the company or department as a whole.

I, for example, this past quarter set an Objective to Recruit a great new SDR (aligned to Build an incredibly adaptable Sales team). I knew that if we wanted to scale, filling another Sales Development Representative role to support more Account Executives was a crucial step.
Under this Objective, I set several Key Results such as Have an employment contract signed and New hire takes ownership of 4 prospecting processes. I weighted each of these differently and used tags to designate priorities, as Have an employment contract signed was a prerequisite for New hire takes ownership of 4 prospecting processes. I also had an action, Interview Candidates, that I knew I’d had to do in order to meet the Objective.

Meanwhile, Account Executives in the Team such as my co-worker Sathwik set their own OKRs based on the examples I listed in the last section. Seeing that the Sales Team had an Objective to Take new business sales to a whole new level, Sathwik aligns his own Objective to it each quarter to Close an exceptional amount of deals. His associated Key Results correspond to the total volume and revenue he needs to bring in that quarter to support meeting the company’s quarterly revenue targets, while his Actions relate to projects he undertakes to try to meet those targets.

What it means for you

I hope the examples above helped illustrate how OKRs can work on a team level and how they relate to the company’s and individuals’ OKRs. Every company, department, and team is different. What works for us likely won’t be the same exact breakdown that’s applicable for your organization type in your industry. Nevertheless, this should be a good outline which you and your team can start with.