Sales, like all things in an organization, must adapt to the dynamics of the business environment. While the process and tools that enable better sales performances can be taken care of through technology, sales professionals must get the human touch.
Sales professionals need their reporting managers to help evaluate and improve their performance. This point is where sales performance reviews come into play.
What is a sales performance review, and why is it needed?
According to Nutshell, a sales performance review is an evaluation wherein managers meet with sales reps to discuss important topics like sales processes, productivity, personal development, team-wide goals, and more.
Usually, reviews are done annually, but there is definite scope for more frequent and ad-hoc reviews. Forward-thinking companies opt for regular reviews to break out of recency bias and ensure sales agents have the opportunity to continuously improve throughout the year rather than wait for 12 months to hear how they are doing and what improvements they must make to fare better.
How to conduct a fair sales performance review?
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Reviews need to be fair, unbiased, and comprehensive. They should look at the entire period for which the review is applicable and not be influenced by the employee's performance in the last month or so. Recency bias can have an extremely damaging effect on morale and business prospects.
Providing accurate, meaningful feedback and conducting reviews regularly are other factors that must figure out in your review process.
Let’s now look at five key factors that will make your sales performance reviews more effective:
1. Set goals ahead and compare performance against them
Sales professionals must know the goals and KPI (Key Performance Indicators). Letting the sales representatives know the complete details of how their goals will be tracked and measured gives them full transparency into the process, increasing trust and honesty.
2. Get the correct data from an effective sales management platform
Managers must conduct sales performance reviews against fairly and accurately collected data. A company cannot just speak to a few peers and complete a review. Data on attempts made, deals completed, deals lost, upskilling, mentoring, collaboration, etc., must be considered. An effective sales management platform will help the company derive all this information with just one click. It provides them with accurate real-time data, enabling an impartial review process.
3. Look at the process and the learnings, not just the results
Reports say that the average success rate of sales calls and attempts is extremely low. This low average indicates that sales representatives often deal more with failure than success. If a review process doesn't consider how they learned from those failures and whether they followed due process, it will miss a significant chunk of the sales professional’s journey.
4. Let feedback be two-way
Reviews are a great time to share feedback; they must come from both sides. A sales manager could give detailed input on improving the success rate. However, sales managers may not be in touch with the ground realities of the sales reps. Ensuring feedback on process loopholes, challenges, and the review process will lead to improvements at both ends.
5. Set an action plan for course correction
If the review for a sales representative is negative, don't just leave it there. Sit and work out an action plan to help the sales rep perform better. This step will give them the confidence and motivation to improve their past performances.
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