Business leaders and sales managers are always concerned about sales numbers and how well their sales team is being taken care of, and rightly so. Sales is what defines the way forward for any business. For sales to be on the right track, sales teams need to review employee performance both at a team as well as at an individual level, on a regular and ongoing basis.
Sales performance reviews are essentially exchanges between the sales rep and the business. It is a discussion on what result was expected and how much has been delivered by the rep. Individual perceptions and interpretations come to the fore in these exchanges.
Business leaders see these sessions as a way to acknowledge, appreciate and reward good performances. They also see these sessions as an opportunity to encourage and push average performers to aim for more and achieve more. Lastly these sessions are used by business leaders and sales managers to call out non-performances and engage such resources in a performance improvement plan. Since these sessions involve performance ratings based on interpretations and perceptions, keeping it transparent throughout and involving an HR personnel in the session becomes critical.
An important statistic that highlights the sensitivity and importance of this performance evaluation exercise can be seen in a study done by SiriusDecisions(acquired by Forrester). The study says, about 50-60% of sales turnover is due to lack of connection with leadership. This typically happens when there are differences in the way sales managers and reps interpret employee performance.
In the sections that follow let's take a look at some of the best practices in the industry for carrying out a successful employee performance evaluation.
Base your performance evaluations on the foundation of transparency
With individual perceptions and interpretations playing a crucial role in employee performance evaluations, having a solid foundation based on transparency, visibility and accountability becomes essential.
Before you can have a successful employee performance evaluation, you need to have a system that allows transparency and visibility of team and individual goals. A system that can consistently, throughout the year remind of goals and their shortfalls. Goals that are clear, tangible and reasonably achievable.
It would not be inappropriate here to advocate for an intuitive, transparent and easy to implement sales performance management system like the one offered by Kennect. More on that later.
Formulate Strategic goals and outline a plan to achieve them
Sales Performance reviews are not just about past performances, they are also very much about how well a sales rep can do in the near future. How well you tie the individual goals to organization-wide goals will decide how well your sales team performs. A clear plan to achieve individual goals then, can go a long way in achieving team or overall business goals.
Helping the sales rep associate the individual goals with their own career goals can help in keeping them motivated and engaged throughout the performance cycle. This of course might need a lot of hand holding, you need to invest in your sales reps to get the best out of them in the long run.
Always wrap negative evaluation in constructive feedback
Wrapping negative evaluation in constructive feedback is in no way exhorting you to underplay non performance! It is a subtle and nuanced technique of highlighting the negative while also offering ways and means of overcoming and bridging the performance deficit.
In many cases employees do not know where they are going wrong and what needs to be corrected and of these many do not actively seek help. While giving them the assurance that they have it in them to be a successful sales rep, offer them opportunities to recollect and retrain themselves. Give them confidence that they are not alone in their journey.
How about that personal connect?
While it is understandable that it is difficult to have a regular one on one meeting with all your reps, meeting them once in a while in between annual employee performance reviews will go a long way in establishing a bond. As a business leader or sales manager you have to make an attempt to ensure that there is a sense of belonging and a sense of oneness among your employees. Sales managers connecting with their reps one on one on a regular basis can foster this sense of belonging among the employees.
Regular one one one meetings also allow the manager to guide the reps in the right direction, help them with their challenges and help them find the right resources to boost their performances.
Use Technology to remove operational hurdles
According to a study done by Salesforce, sales reps on an average spend only 34% of their time on core sales activities. Administrative tasks that can be easily handled by an intelligent tool can help your sales reps to focus more on sales related activities. Advanced analytical tools available today can give your sales rep the information they need to perform better. Business leaders should invest in technology that augments and enhances sales performances.
Regular self assessment and peer reviews
Reviewing an entire year's performance becomes easy to manage when employees regularly self assess their short term performances and document them. If their work involves interacting with team members, having regular peer reviews will keep them in good stead.
Self assessment is a great way to understand an employee's views on his/her own performances. It is critical in an annual employee performance evaluation to know how high does an employee hold his/her work relative to the work done by the rest of the team.
Investment in an intuitive, intelligent and easy to scale sales performance management system will be the best investment you can make in your sales team, that will ensure a robust sales performance year on year.
Kennect offers you a two pronged solution that not only allows your sales managers to efficiently manage employee performance evaluation, but also allows your sales reps with visibility and clarity on their sales quota and incentive compensation plans, anytime anywhere.