A veteran salesperson once said to me, “Performance reviews for salespeople are silly. Either I hit my number or I didn’t.” Eloquent in its simplicity, her comment is still spot-on. We live in a numbers-driven culture, and sales teams are ground zero.
My friend judges her own personal performance by these numbers. If she hits her number, it’s a good month; if she doesn’t, it isn’t — and I suspect many other salespeople do the same. The task then for sales organizations becomes finding a solution that allows as many salespeople to enjoy a good month as possible by turning in results that replicate those of top earners.
The key, once again, is in the numbers. Here are four strategies to improve them across the board.
1. Make it personal. When you track, monitor and display performance data, be sure to do so on an individual basis. Each sales person should have their own unique reports/dashboards that show their own statistics and where they are in comparison to their teammates. This not only improves overall visibility but can also provide a hefty dose of competition for your sales people. For those struggling reps, for example, the data provides motivation by letting them know where they stand and what they can aspire to be. Activities, forecasts and total pipeline are essential metrics and should be reviewed not only month to month but week to week as well.
2. Coach. We all have places where we can grow and improve in our job, and this is where sales organization management can be of real value to individual reps. Establishing a weekly checkin between the rep and their manager allows both sides to thoroughly review their dashboard and resolve blockers that are blocking an opportunity from moving forward. Is the rep calling enough? Are they contacting leads enough? Are the using the tools provided to them? How well are they managing their pipeline? All of these questions should be considered during these meetings.
3. Spread the wealth. Not all salespeople are created equal. It’s also true that not all territories are created equal. To this end you might consider spreading the wealth by switching up your salespeople’s territories from time to time or dealing leads in a round-robin format. Lower-performing salespeople can gain a confidence boost from success found in easier quarries and you’ll be placing your most veteran reps in difficult territories that may ultimately allow you to increase your ROI in this area.
4. Increase visibility. Your best salespeople are at the top of the ladder for a number of reasons, but some of it is their processes, and those processes can be replicated. Are your top reps using a unique process outside of the norm? Do you have a documented process for following up through the sales cycle? What information are they storing on their records? Can these processes be automated to help other reps? Finally, what time of day are they making these calls and sending these emails? Finding the answers to these questions for your top reps can help you create a how-to guide for your underperforming reps. And if those underperformers start to replicate the contact numbers of higher-achieving salespeople, their close-won numbers stand to increase as well. And that makes for a lot more positive — albeit slightly silly — performance reviews.