An effective approach to Sales Performance Management is a fundamental requirement for success.
Effective performance management should be a positive forward looking experience that adds value to an individual, when this is done right it will raise the performance bar across the whole team. The performance of an organisation is driven by the sum individual performances across the team, yet many sales leaders do not prioritise this due to a claimed lack of time.
A few fundamental success factors for sales performance management are:
1. Feedback must be regular not just once a year.
Annual feedback reviews are not enough to influence changes to behaviour, for many companies they are merely a route to “score” an individual as a basis for salary reviews. Innovative companies are dropping these reviews in favour of continuous improvement that is focused on advancing the performance of the individual and company goals. Clear goals and strong coaching will help each person to achieve success but to be useful this must be more regularly completed.
2. Change the conversation
Often sales leaders discuss day to day sales performance in terms of pipelines and forecasts. On its own this is not enough to improve performance, these short term interventions are about fighting fires and do little to raise the capability of the team. Setting a regular cadence for account, opportunity and pipeline reviews whilst helpful to a disciplined selling approach does not necessarily improve an individuals skills and capabilities. Make sure that a performance reviews looks at how each individual is able to better contribute to the goals of the organisation , what skills and development they need and how they can work towards their career aspirations.
3. Goals need to reflect changing business requirements.
It’s rare that the sales environment remains static. Adapting to the changing circumstances means that new products, new competitors require new company strategic goals. Each person needs to know how they fit into the new landscape as things change. Regularly review the expectations you set for each person and where necessary communicate these changes to the individual.
4. Goal transparency improves the team.
Managing performance should reflect the different dynamics of a team. Improving the transparency across the team of how each member contributes to the team goal is essential if you want a performing team. Openly sharing well aligned goals will also create an environment where each team member can understand how they can help others more easily. Sharing goals, feedback and ideas in a team (rather than just in a management team) makes for a much more inclusive, collaborative environment which will help the whole team succeed.
5. Productive reviews require preparation
For performance discussions to be productive it is essential that both parties prepare well. Clearly defined goals and expectations for the future should be supplemented by objective assessment of current performance. Facts provide evidence to support discussions and they help to remove any subjectivity and personality bias from sometimes difficult situations. Companies use of third party intelligence including 360 degree feedback and more are embracing collaborative and social data is increasingly more available if you take the time to collect it.
Hopefully these few tips are useful when you start out on your performance management journey. If we can help more please do get in touch.