One element of sales performance management is conducting a sales performance review of each salesperson on your team. There is always variability in a sales organization, with some reps producing better results than others. The objective of the sales performance review is to assess each rep's results and help them improve.
Your sales performance should be a positive event for the salesperson. It should identify the individual's strengths and the areas they need to develop to increase their overall sales effectiveness. The more it feels like coaching, the more the sales performance review fulfills its purpose.
How to Write a Sales Performance Review
The best way to write a sales performance review is to list the elements you’ll use to measure the salesperson's results and skills and the areas they need to develop. This should also include character traits that B2B salespeople need to succeed. The sales performance review should focus on results. If you need more help, visit the Sales Team Management Guide.
How to Describe Sales Performance
There are a few ways to describe sales performance. Much of the time, sales leaders look at revenue and quota attainment. While these metrics provide a view of sales performance, there are other elements you must address to help your sales force grow and improve. They include things like the quality of the salesperson’s work, their grasp of sales fundamentals, how they manage their time, their interpersonal skills, and how they sell.
Step 1: Sales Goals and Objectives
Every salesperson must achieve their sales goals and their objectives. The sales performance evaluation needs to take a retrospective look at the prior period. Did the salesperson meet or exceed their goals? The best way to measure a salesperson's sales effectiveness is by looking at their win rate.
You also need to look at the salesperson's results as they relate to your sales objectives. For example, if your objective was to cross-sell to your largest client, you need to measure the contribution they made to that goal.
Step 2: Time Management
One of the major challenges for sales organizations is time. Salespeople must produce enough real opportunities to achieve their goals. A performance review needs to address how the salesperson uses their time. The best way to approach this is to assess the salesperson’s sales efficiency.
Most salespeople need to exert greater control over their time to improve their results. To explore this topic, you might review their calendar—and don’t be surprised if you find too much white space.
Step 3: The Sales Approach
How sales reps sell is more important than what they sell. The sales conversation is the largest variable to winning or losing deals. It's important that sales managers observe their team in the field and sit in on sales calls. This is the only way to determine how well a salesperson’s approach creates the experience B2B buyers want now, regardless of your sales process.
Even though you might use a modern, insight-based sales approach, many salespeople fall back to using something that makes them more comfortable without creating value for their prospective clients. The performance review provides you with a forum to discuss the change your salesperson must make to have value-based conversations. This is the best way to improve results and find sales success.
Step 4: Attitude and Intrinsic Motivation
A good sales leader knows their team. A salesperson's attitude affects their results. Their attitude often affects their intrinsic motivation. Your conversation here needs to consider the salesperson's situation. Everyone goes through down periods. By recognizing these ups and downs, you can better coach and develop the salesperson.
I place a high premium on intrinsic motivation. I score salespeople high when they do their work without fail and who never need to be motivated.
Step 5: Interpersonal Skills and Relationships
You need a blend of hard skills and soft skills in B2B sales. Measuring performance on interpersonal skills may reveal areas where a salesperson might improve skills like active listening or emotional intelligence. In this step, you might assess the salesperson's relationships with their existing clients and how they perform with new contacts.
The better the salesperson is with people, the better their results. Even if you have heard otherwise, relationships based on trust are still critical to success.
Step 6: Communication
Salespeople communicate a lot. Assess the quality of your team’s oral and written communications. For example, some salespeople have particularly strong talk tracks. Your communication assessment might lead you to have your team spend more time in role plays that surface the most effective talk tracks and sales scripts.
Step 7: Solving Sales Problems
Sales is a set of problems to solve. It starts with gaining a first meeting, then poses more difficult problems like getting an executive into a meeting and building consensus. A salesperson's performance is largely due to their ability to solve the problems of B2B sales. By identifying the problems the salesperson has solved and the ones they struggle with, you can provide help and sales strategies that improve the salesperson's results.
Step 8: Growth and Development
By ending on growth and development, you can address the salesperson's progress in the past year and provide an improvement plan. If you have a B2B sales competency model, you can use that to guide this discussion. If you are a leader and don’t have a competency model, sign up for my newsletter.
- Gather data: Before beginning the review process, gather all the available data on the sales performance of the individual or team being reviewed. This should include sales figures, customer feedback, and any other relevant data that will help inform your review.
- Set goals: Define the goals and objectives for the review and make sure they are measurable and achievable. This will help you evaluate the salesperson's performance against what is expected of them.
- Analyze performance: Carefully analyze the gathered data to identify areas of strength and weakness in the sales performance. Also consider any external factors that may have influenced their results.
- Provide coaching and guidance: This allows you to identify areas of improvement and provide actionable feedback that can improve your team’s performance. Focus on the positives and the negatives during the review. Highlighting successes can help motivate employees to strive for further success. When providing guidance, be clear, specific, and direct. These are elements of an effective sales coaching system. Listen carefully. This will allow you to better understand your team’s challenges and adjust your coaching.