Salespeople tend to have a competitive nature and are motivated by winning. But that doesn’t mean they’re able to constantly improve their sales performance without any outside help.
The foundation of great sales performance is creating a positive environment that’s designed to support the sales rep, providing the right metrics and reports to motivate them and increase sales effectiveness.
That winning environment needs to have two main components: A public side and a private, personal side.
The goal here is to use metrics and reports that increase visibility across the entire sales team. These public metrics should be simple and quantitative. By sharing some performance metrics throughout the sales team, you tap into the competitive DNA of the sales rep, encouraging everyone to participate and driving competition.
Here are three suggestions for public performance reports:
1) Current percent to target (revenue): This metric provides clarity and motivation across the team, driving sales productivity. The numbers are simple, accurate and unambiguous.
2) Reps with the most new opportunities: Here, you’re using quantitative metrics to praise top performers. It spotlights the salespeople who are working hard to bring new opportunities into the pipeline.
3) “What If?” calculator: The concept is simple. You create a calculator that shows sales reps what their commission check would be at certain performance levels: “If you do this, this is your paycheck. If you do that, this is your paycheck.” Sales reps can take a moment to see the possibilities. Very inspirational.
Personal or private environment
The performance metrics and coaching you provide to reps privately should be a mix of quantitative and qualitative feedback. Generalities aren’t effective motivators, so this information needs to be highly specific and relevant to each rep, focused on helping them up their game and their performance.
Here are three suggestions for private performance assessments:
1) Compare customer performance vs. their plan: Have a fact-based targeted conversation with the rep where you evaluate how their customers are performing against their sales plan. Using sales data provides a measure of objectivity, but the spirit in which they’re presented also matters. The goal is to offer insights and encouragement, rather than using the numbers to beat them over the head.
2) Compare rep performance against pricing guidance: This is an opportunity to improve reps’ ability to negotiate with customers and manage the profitability of the organization. Look at the product mix that customers are buying and identify opportunities with each customer. For example, you might see that the rep is selling a lot of product but not services.
3) Presentation style feedback: This is a qualitative measure of performance. Have sales managers go to presentations with the reps and give real-time feedback on presentation style. For example, a manager might note that, in telling the story, the rep didn’t emphasize an aspect that could resonate with the audience.
Some believe that presentation guidance should be delivered in a group setting, so that everyone has the same knowledge. But sales reps may respond differently and tend to tune out if they think the guidance isn’t relevant to them. There’s also an advantage to one-on-one feedback, in that it’s timely and delivered right after a presentation. This immediate feedback has a greater impact on sales effectiveness and is often highly motivating.
In both public and private environments, remember to focus on supporting your sales reps, presenting metrics, reports and feedback in a positive light.