Effective management and evaluation of sales teams are crucial for organizations aiming to achieve their objectives and boost sales performance. In this regard, Management by Objectives (MBO) offers a valuable strategy to track employee contributions through measurable activities that directly impact sales. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of MBO, its benefits, and when to implement it for optimal results.

Understanding Management by Objectives (MBO)

Management by Objectives (MBO) is a business strategy that aligns individual-level goals with organizational objectives to enhance overall performance. MBO enables organizations to evaluate employee contributions effectively by establishing measurable activities and behaviors. Additionally, employees are compensated based on their ability to accomplish the goals outlined in their personalized MBO plans.

Employee Involvement and Goal-Setting: Active employee participation in decision-making and goal-setting is crucial in driving motivation and commitment. Each employee’s MBO plan should emphasize their tasks and desired actions right from the beginning, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability.

When to Use Management by Objectives?

Appropriate situations for implementing MBO: While MBO is not always the ideal solution, there are specific scenarios where its implementation can be critical. Consider utilizing MBO in the following situations:

  1. Impacted sales data that cannot be easily aligned with a salesperson
  2. High variance in sales data
  3. Limited availability of data to measure individual sales performance
  4. Stringent regulatory environment
  5. Delay in the availability of final performance data
  6. Non-sales activities such as coaching and training
  7. Sales cycles that do not fit neatly into a quarter or year

Implementing measurable non-sales-based or activity-based performance metrics is vital for the success of an MBO incentive plan. By defining a time-bound framework with measurable results, objectives can be evaluated, and individual performance can be assessed by reporting managers, facilitating effective tracking and evaluation.


Pros and Cons of Management by Objectives (MBO)

Pros of MBO:

  • Enhanced communication:

    MBO fosters increased communication and collaboration between employees and management, promoting a cohesive work environment.

  • Better Goal Alignment:

    Clear goal communication facilitates understanding and alignment among employees, improving performance.

  • Improved Incentive Control:

    MBO provides better control over incentive distribution, ensuring rewards are directly linked to goal achievement.

  • Effective in Complexity:

    MBO’s structured approach in complex selling scenarios helps define and prioritize actions, enhancing effectiveness and results.

Cons of MBO:

  • Lack of Performance Differentiation:

    Limited differentiation based on performance can result in similar compensation for employees, potentially undermining motivation for higher achievers.

  • Administrative Overhead:

    Implementing MBO requires significant administrative effort, especially with large sales teams, which may increase operational complexities.

  • Perception of Favoritism:

    The subjective nature of MBO can raise concerns about favoritism, affecting employee morale and trust.

  • Performance vs Perception:

    There is a risk of focusing more on managing managers’ perceptions rather than objectively assessing their performance.

Benefits of Management by Objectives (MBO)

Engaged Employees and Reduced Attrition: 

Engaged employees are essential for every company’s success, as high attrition rates incur significant costs. An effective MBO plan improves alignment, job satisfaction, and engagement, reducing the likelihood of employees quitting.

Fostering Teamwork: 

MBO fosters a sense of teamwork by emphasizing actions and encouraging salespeople to seek assistance and guidance. This nurturing environment promotes healthy workplace relationships, enabling employees to support one another in achieving better results.


Job Appreciation and Motivation: 

Employees require recognition and a sense of loyalty to the company. Management by objectives divides work based on each employee’s strengths, making them feel crucial to the organization and appreciated for their skills and talent. MBO’s goal-specific nature serves as an internal and external motivational tool, catering to diverse employee preferences.

Rewarding Non-Measurable Objectives: 

While quantitative goals are easily measured, MBOs can also drive behavioral changes when dealing with qualitative objectives. For instance, maintaining a clean CRM or developing industry-specific demo instances can be effectively incentivized through MBOs.

Wrapping up:

Implementing Management by Objectives (MBO) can significantly benefit organizations by aligning individual goals with overarching objectives and improving sales performance. MBO enhances employee autonomy and self-motivation and fosters a positive workplace culture. To effectively track team performance and optimize results, consider leveraging a comprehensive incentive compensation management solution like Aurochs Solutions.

Remember, MBO is a powerful tool that can help your company achieve its objectives while simultaneously boosting employee morale and driving success.

How can you evaluate the performance of your sales teams if you don’t have a good way to track their sales progress? It’s not possible. This is where Management by Objectives (MBO)

Read more ...

can help your organization by allowing you to track your employees’ contributions to the company through measurable activities that may have a direct impact on sales performance.

What is Management by Objective?

Management by Objectives (MBO) is a business strategy that allows organizations to define individual-level goals based on desired activities and behaviors in order to improve an organization’s performance. Objectives are fully aligned with organizational goals, and employees are compensated based on how effectively they complete the goals outlined in their personalized MBO plans.

Employee involvement in decision-making is essential because participation in goal-setting drives motivation and commitment. Each employee’s MBO plan should define and emphasize their tasks and desired actions from day one.

When to use Management by Objective –

MBOs are not always the best solution; however, in certain situations, they may be critical to driving the right behavior and retaining top performers. MBOs can be used by organizations in the following scenarios:

  • Impacted sales data cannot be easily aligned to a salesperson
  • High variance in sales data
  • Company has indirect or insufficient data that limit the ability to measure individual sales performance
  • The regulatory environment is stringent
  • Delay in the availability of final performance data
  • Non-sales activities such as coaching, training, etc
  • When a product’s sales cycle does not fit neatly into a quarter or even a year, the company must still motivate its salespeople through incentive pay

The use of measurable non-sales-based / activity-based performance metrics is crucial for the success of the MBO incentive plan. The tracking framework is defined to evaluate objectives in a time-bound environment with measurable results. Individual performance on each defined objective is rated by reporting managers, which aids in tracking manager performance.

What are the Pros & Cons of Management by Objectives (MBO)?

MBO plans facilitate communication and provide greater control over sales incentive outflow. However, in general, there are significant risks associated with this MBO:



Easy to communicate and understand Less differentiation based on performance. People often paid similar amounts
Better control over incentives outflow Significant administrative overhead and burden, especially when applied to a large sales team
Increased communication between employees & management Subjective nature may spread the perception of favoritism
More effective in complex selling situations where actions needs to be defined clearly This may result in “Managing the Manager” instead of “Managing the Performance”

What are the Benefits of MBO –

  • Engaged employees always reduce attrition –

    The primary reason that engaged employees should be a priority for every company in every industry. All leaders understand that attrition is one of the most significant costs a company faces and that retaining top-performing employees is critical to success.An effective MBO plans improves alignment, increases job satisfaction and enhances engagement while decreasing the likelihood of employees quitting.

  • Increase the spirit of teamwork among the employees –

    MBO also helps foster a sense of teamwork among employees as focus is more on actions and makes it easier for salespeople to ask for help and guidance. This also helps create a nurturing environment and promote healthy workplace relationships. Leaders gladly assists their coworkers in achieving better results.

  • Encourage employees to appreciate their job –

    Employees require recognition and perception of loyalty to the company. MBO divides the work in such a way that each employee’s strength is used to achieve the goal. By doing so, an organization makes its employees feel crucial to the organization, assuring them that their presence is critical and that the organization requires their skills and talent.

  • Increase motivation –

    One goal of MBO is to make individual KPIs as specific as possible. Consistency of roles and responsibilities is crucial for personal and business success so that direct rewards are served as positive feedback for achieving desired results.An MBO serves as both an external and internal motivational tool that caters to diverse employee preferences. Some will be more motivated by monetary gain, while others will see the purpose and meaning of meeting company objectives as the primary driver of success.

  • Rewarding Non-measurable Objectives –

    When your goals are quantitative, they can be easily measured. However, when they are qualitative, such as maintaining a clean CRM or developing an industry-specific demo instance, MBOs can also help to drive those behavioral changes.


Final Thoughts –

MBOs can be an excellent way to help your company achieve its objectives and improve employee morale as you all work towards a common goal. This is a critical component of fostering a positive workplace culture.

The underlying principle of providing an MBO is to increase employee autonomy and self-motivation. Above all, when it comes to tracking your team’s performance, a comprehensive incentive compensation management solution like Aurochs can help.

Aurochs Solutions Testimonial Blog Section