How to do a Performance Evaluation of your Salespeople

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You know they are important. Your HR colleagues remind you all the time. But the process to carry them out is tedious, disorganized and time-consuming, and as a manager, right now you have more important things to take care of. We talk about the much-dreaded performance reviews.

They are among the least used motivational factors to influence behavior in most organizations. However, these reviews get employees to abide by the rules, break bad habits, set priorities, and distinguish the responsibilities of sales reps from managers or the rest of the company. Successfully tackling performance reviews can reinforce the most effective leadership skills.

In the book Aligning strategy and sales, there is a chapter exclusively dedicated to performance reviews. The following summary will help you know what to do before, during and after a review. But first, let’s answer a few questions:

Why it is important to evaluate the performance of your sales force

Doing a periodic evaluation of your sales force will not only allow you to determine their performance and the possible causes of the numbers you are getting, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, as a consequence of your sales process. Additionally, it will help you find effective solutions so that your conversion rates yield better figures and you can grow your business from the increase in the number of customers.

Instruments for measuring and evaluating sales force performance

Although the measurement and evaluation instruments may vary depending on the niche of your company, there are some common indicators that provide valuable information to improve and correct, if necessary, the performance of your sales force.

  • Daily sales: are the profits that your sales force produces at the end of their work.
  • Sold units: reflects the average number of units of your product or service sold in the average invoice.
  • Approximate price per unit: reflects the approximate price of the units sold of your product or service.
  • Average bill: It is the money that each member of your sales force manages to obtain for each client, calculated on an average either weekly or monthly.
  • Number of clients– The number of customers with whom your sales force members reached the average invoice.

Without a doubt, your business may need to create or add other more specific indicators. For the area of ​​leaders and management, this information allows them to reach important conclusions, which will help them to draw the roadmap that allows increasing the number of sales.

Today’s technology allows you to find highly intuitive tools that make it easy to analyze data that might otherwise be a bit more complex. Thanks to technology, you can now obtain more precise and faster results regarding the performance of your strategy and sales force.

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Tools such as HubSpot’s Sales Pipeline Management are an excellent help for those in charge of the sales area, since they allow them to have control over a greater number of indicators, with more specific figures, in a systematic way and with more effective results.

Sales force performance evaluation example

Based on the previous indicators, a simple example of the evaluation of your clearly quantitative sales force would look like this:

Let’s say that a member of your sales force serves 30 customers, whose average bill is USD 100, where each customer purchased an average of 5 units of your product or service with an approximate price of USD 45. Additionally, this person works 20 days per month in total.

To better understand the data, we can use the following formula:

Average bill x Number of Customers = Total monthly sale

Thus, in this example we have: 30 x 100 = USD 3,000

That is, in this example the member of your sales force generated USD 3,000 in profits with a total of 1.5 sales per day. This last number can be obtained by dividing the number of clients who paid the average invoice by the number of days worked (30/20).

This allows us to conclude that if your strategy seeks to achieve sustainable growth, it is necessary that you analyze whether it is more achievable as an objective to have higher average invoices, or to increase prices, or to increase the number of units sold. Either of these strategies will lead to an increase in total profits.

However, this is not the only way to measure your sales force. There are also qualitative aspects that you must take into account.

Let’s now see how to carry out a complete evaluation of your sales force.

Let’s see each step in stages:

Stage 1: Before a performance evaluation of your salespeople

You review your schedule for next week and put your hands on your head. Performance reviews will take you a full afternoon. Stop complaining and act.

1. Define the standards

Sales managers must clearly define the ethical standards of the company and the industry. Identify the most important points and what you expect from your representatives. It might seem obvious, but it is something that is often overlooked.

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2. Schedule enough time

Reviews look at an employee’s role in the company, their salary, and opportunities for growth. These are important topics that should not be taken lightly. If you do a quick and cursory review, your reps will feel confused or undervalued.

3. Identify specific examples

For performance conversations to be effective, they must be part of an ongoing process and not be based on a single instance of performance. Take note of employee activities and behaviors throughout the year to provide concrete examples during your review, rather than simply lecturing on what is right or wrong with the company. This action highlights the importance of observing performance, creating reports after sales calls, and having an effective profit and loss analysis process.

4. Assess performance

Does any employee have motivation problems or lack any skills? Or both things? Some sales reps work hard, but they don’t have certain skills. In those cases, consider training or mentoring them to improve their performance. Other professionals are very capable, but they have no motivation. Perhaps implementing incentive or reward programs could motivate them more. These assessments are not easy to make, but they are necessary and require various action plans. Without this, the review will not be productive for either party.

Stage 2: During the seller evaluation

When everything is ready for your review, focus on these five factors so you don’t lose your way in the conversation.

1. Make your good intentions clear

Remind your reps that reviews offer tools to improve effectiveness. As a manager, you believe that your representatives are capable people and just having a meeting about it proves it. If you weren’t thinking about their abilities or motivations, what needs to be improved or what needs to be recognized, you would not be doing a performance review, but sending a letter of dismissal.

2. Make specific observations

Sharing specific examples helps people understand the situation more clearly and makes them more receptive to criticism. Telling a sales rep that their speech was terrible doesn’t help them understand how to improve it in the future and will only make them defensive. Try saying something like:

“Your sales pitch was not effective because it didn’t take into account demographics, long-term profits, or information about payment terms. Next time research these factors before the call for best results. This afternoon I will show you an example that will be useful to you.

This type of response predisposes you to receive negative comments better and to act to correct the problem, but, again, it requires a lot of preparation.

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3. Mention the impact of a behavior or action

This step is crucial for both the representative and the manager. For the sales professional, improving performance means changing behavior, so focus on specific actions, behaviors, and performance. It’s one thing to say: “You failed to connect with the customer”, and a very different one: “Because you interrupted the client during the meeting, he was less willing to listen to your ideas”.

Focus on the consequences of the behaviors that the representative can control, rather than commenting on their personality. Be objective: Does the rep really have a performance problem or is he just using a method that you wouldn’t use with clients? Always keep this difference in mind.

4. Listen to the other person

The Rashomon effect continues in sales. Two people can observe the same situation or event and interpret it differently. Dialogue is important not only for a matter of education, but because it tests assumptions and reasoning. But don’t turn this into an argument. If the conversation gets tense, it’s time to move on to the next step.

5. Identify an action plan

Turn the conversation around options and solutions. Be positive. It’s called a “performance review,” but ultimately it’s a conversation about the present and the future of sales, not about what happened yesterday at the office or at the training event. No review is complete without a discussion of next steps, in which both parties take responsibility for possible changes. Emphasize identifying opportunities that both you and the representative can take to improve effectiveness, and the benchmarks that you will use to measure progress after the review.

Stage 3: After the seller review

1. Follow up

As with trainings, the greatest impact of performance conversations takes place after reviews. Many times, no follow-up or subsequent evaluations are done. The review becomes an isolated annual event that has little impact on practice beyond a discussion of salary and incentives.

If you want real changes in your team’s behaviors, you must constantly set goals and provide feedback. To ensure that happens, schedule follow-up meetings and review progress using the metrics that were defined in the performance review.

If you want to read more on the subject, take a look at the book Aligning strategy and sales: the choices, systems, and behaviors that drive effective selling. sales).

Jerry Gordon

About Jerry Gordon

Webmaster, nature and tech lover. Jerry manages the day-to-day operations at DigiToolsadvisor. He loves enjoying his free time, but most of all, trying new tools to master.