Evaluating the Performance of your Sales Team

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This blog post aligns with the themes of our Growth Evaluation; an intuitive tool which allows you to quickly uncover the areas of strength and weakness in your sales & marketing organizations. Click Here to learn more or take the Growth Evaluation. 


Contributed by: Mark Magee, Director, Business Development

Why Frequency Counts in Making your Sales Team More Productive

Many sales leaders and sales reps alike dread the performance review. It’s true that the performance review can be both unpleasant and at times inefficient. But when properly conducted, the performance evaluation can be an incredibly useful tool for defining goals, training and coaching, and boosting win rates.

The best performance reviews contain zero surprises. If a sales rep falters, the sales manager should immediately offer coaching to the rep to help them overcome the challenge at hand. The performance review should never become a forum for springing criticism. Similarly, a sales rep who performs exceptionally well should receive appropriate praise from leaders as their successes occurs.

Frequency of Performance Reviews

Many sales leaders will conduct monthly, quarterly or even annual reviews. However, weekly reviews realize greater performance, and greater results. Weekly reviews give leaders and sales people the opportunity to evaluate performance over a set timeframe, remain aligned, and maintain the high energy needed to deliver consistently great results.

Less frequent touch points may give rise to problems with account management, lead nurture, prospect focus, and ultimately lead to missed opportunities. Deals that should have closed end up with the competition, and low productivity often goes unnoticed.

Great performance evaluations go beyond bottom-line sales results. They often delve into the specifics of how and why the salesperson either achieved or fell short of their results, and often identify the triggers that can improve performance.

Setting regular performance reviews with sales reps encourages a culture of accountability.

Why You Need to Measure Quantifiable & Non-Quantifiable Performance

Measuring sales activity metrics is critical to the accuracy of performance reviews. When a rep generates adequate levels of activity but lacks final success, leaders are equipped to identify causes such as a gap in skillset, shortage of training, or lack of motivation. Transparent activity metrics motivate sales reps to optimize their efforts and increase productivity.

Non-quantifiable items cannot be assigned specific values, but are nevertheless important. Such items include the salesperson’s attitude, team-working abilities, delivery of client experience, adherence to brand standards, and even how criticism is handled. Non-quantifiable metrics are inherently more difficult to track, and are open to subjectivity, but regular touch points with reps will provide plenty of qualitative data.

Performance Successes and Failures

The performance review is an ideal time to review past successes and failures. Regular performance evaluations uncover patterns of behaviour that are influencing win rates. For example, if a salesperson consistently performs best during the periods of high cold calling activity, we have a pretty clear indicator that increasing cold calling activity may bring even greater success. Throughout the year, sales managers should record each salesperson’s successes, failures, and their potential triggers, to keep on hand for the formal review.

Neglecting to conduct regular performance reviews means that underperforming sales reps remain with the company (and on the payroll), for far too long. These reps will consistently perform below quota, draining time and money.

Employees should look forward to performance reviews because they are fair, results-oriented, aligned to career growth, and leave them feeling engaged and inspired.

How to Rate Performance

For salespeople, many leaders prefer to use four benchmarking categories:

  1. Exceptional salespeople consistently outperform the rest of the team, regularly exceed their quotas and, even in difficult times, still do relatively well. Such salespeople deserve lavish praise, but should also be encouraged to keep exceeding their past performances.
  2. Good salespeople meet or exceed their quotas every time, except for rare occasions. They are the backbone of most sales teams – solid performers without being superstars. These salespeople should receive praise as well, and sales managers should work with them to help them hone their skills to reach the next level of performance.
  3. Marginal salespeople: produce sales every month, but often struggle to meet their quotas. These people can become good salespeople with sufficient coaching from sales management.
  4. Poor salespeople struggle to make any sales at all. Many are masters at making excuses for their performance, but usually, their problems stem from the fact that they don’t like selling, don’t want to be salespeople, and do as little actual selling as they can. The best move is usually to remove these people from their seat on the bus.

Boosting Sales and Company Morale

Measuring both quantifiable & non-quantifiable performance and conducting regular performance reviews allows leaders to have a panoramic view of how well a sales team is performing.

By identifying top performers and disseminating the methods and processes they are using to obtain success, most sales reps can move up through the ranks to improve performance. Naturally, salespeople will be motivated to fill their pipeline and reach or exceed quota benchmarks.

 


Mark Magee, Director, Business DevelopmentMark Magee

Mark leads GrowthPoint’s Business Development team with a primary role of educating the market about the strategies GrowthPoint offers to accelerate profitable growth for clients. Mark has consulted with organizations in the transportation, logistics & professional services industries throughout Canada. 

 

 

This blog post aligns with the themes of our Growth Evaluation; an intuitive tool which allows you to quickly uncover the areas of strength and weakness in your sales & marketing organizations. Click Here to learn more or take the Growth Evaluation. 

 

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