Once you have a sales team in place, it’s essential to measure performance against targets, but simple sales revenue numbers don’t tell the full story of how individual sales people are operating. Of course, if the individual is meeting targets, then this may not be a problem, but if it typically takes 6 months to find new sales prospects and convert them into sales, it’s no good only finding out that a particular sales person isn’t performing when they fail to meet target. Wouldn’t it be better if you knew in advance so you had time to address the issue before it becomes a major problem?
Without regularly reviewing productivity, time management, and communication skills, there is no tangible way for a manager to monitor and improve sales success. This is where holding regular sales performance reviews helps.
Performance reviews are personal experiences; avoid the temptation of providing similar feedback to each person.
Typically, you should be reviewing an individual sales person’s performance against a number of criteria, not just their top line sales results. Factors to assess might include communication skills, effective prospect research and qualification, presentation skills, volume and consistency of sales activity, conversion rates, effective use of CRM systems, forecast accuracy, negotiating and closing skills.
Once you’ve defined the criteria against which each sales person will be assessed, rate each sales person against each of the criteria, using one of four assessment descriptions:
1 = Does not meet expectations
2 = Needs improvement
3 = Meets expectations
4 = Exceeds expectations
When making assessments, bear in mind that not only should you be able to explain the reasons for the assessment to each sales person, but also be able to identify what they need to do to gain improved assessments in the future, and you should assign skills development activities and objectives for each sales person to help with their personal development. The purpose of the assessment is not to provide you with a stick to beat your sales team, it’s to provide you with the constructive feedback to give to your team to help them improve specific elements of their sales activity.
Running regular performance assessments will help you manage short-term performance issues and provide a solid basis for developing your team in a range of necessary skills. Sales teams who understand how they’re performing and what they need to do to improve performance are more likely to be motivated to achieve success.
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