Sales performance reviews don’t have to be so manufactured.
Sales performance reviews are supposed to help you. If your reviews are done correctly, you'll come out of them with a clearer understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your team, as well as a course of action towards department-wide sales success.
Suffice to say, it's important to get them right.
What is a sales performance review?
It's pretty simple: a sales performance review is an evaluation, whereby sales managers and individual sales reps meet to discuss important topics like sales processes, productivity, personal development, team-wide goals, and more.
Most companies conduct sales performance reviews on an annual basis, though (as we'll cover in a bit) there's nothing wrong with conducting them more frequently. This is actually the preferred option for some companies.
Now that we've covered what sales performance reviews are, let's get down to business, specifically about how you can improve your performance reviews ASAP.
5 tips to improve your performance reviews
Sales performance reviews are important because they give sales managers the opportunity to critique, praise, and encourage sales reps—all essential things when attempting to improve your company's sales numbers.
Here are five tips to help you conduct more effective sales performance reviews:
1. Use a performance review template
How do you judge your team's performance? If you don't have a clear answer to this question, you aren't ready to conduct a sales performance review.
Without clear performance criteria, you won't be able to evaluate your team in a fair and effective way. Fortunately, there's an easy fix: create a performance review template, i.e. a standardized set of criteria you'll use to judge each member of your team.
Every sales performance review should touch on these three themes in one way or another:
- An evaluation of each rep's sales process
- A list of things the sales rep does really well
- A list of things the sales rep should improve upon
Once you've created your template, share it with your sales reps—preferably during the onboarding process. That way they know what's expected of them from the jump.
2. Analyze sales processes, not just results
Sales is a results game. So we understand the temptation to judge reps based solely on what they've achieved since the last time you conducted a sales performance review.
But here's the thing: results-based evaluations are rarely effective.
Yes, the number of sales a rep has made, as well as the amount of revenue they've generated for your company, are important and should be talked about during your review. But we suggest focusing more of your time on each individual rep's sales process.
Why? Because your team's processes are the foundation of their results.
If they have subpar processes, they'll achieve subpar results. If they have winning processes, they'll achieve the amazing success you want them to. Your job as a sales manager is to help your reps identify the flaws in their sales processes and fix them.
Here are a few process-oriented metrics to cover during your sales performance review:
- Number of leads generated
- Number of sales meetings held
- Upsell and/or cross sell rate
- Length of sales cycle
- Average cost per lead
A process-first approach to sales performance reviews also prevents managers from simply blaming their reps for not meeting quota, which will destroy team morale.
3. Set goals and suggest ways to achieve them
Sales performance reviews should be actionable. What do you want your reps to do after you meet with them? Make sure these things are understood before your review ends.
And, no, "meet quota" is not the only goal you should set for your reps. Do your best to give them practical objectives that align with company plans and take into account each rep's individual career aspirations. That way reps stay motivated while they work for your company.
What does this look like in a real-world scenario? Meet Jeff…
Jeff is a sales rep who's been working in your department for the last two years. He's an ambitious guy and hopes to lead the company in just about every sales metric one day. But, after analyzing his sales process, you realize he has a ways to go before he gets there.
See, Jeff is great at finding high-quality prospects to contact. He's also a hard worker and sends plenty of outreach emails on a daily basis. The problem is, Jeff's close rate is lower than many of the other reps in your department. This is because Jeff is too pushy.
He tries to sell at all costs, rather than identifying exactly what each potential customer needs and providing them with the right solution. This annoys a lot of Jeff's prospects.
So, what do you do? As part of Jeff's action plan, you ask one of your company's top sellers to take Jeff under their wing. That way they can teach Jeff how to close at a higher rate.
This plan helps the company because Jeff will learn how to make more sales. It also aligns with Jeff's personal goals because once he learns the art of the close, he'll be that much closer to becoming your company's top seller.