When your sales personnel meet or exceed quotas, you know they’re doing their job, but what about when they don’t, or what about when they’re not regularly making an effort to go above and beyond? How do you go deeper than the numbers to see what’s really driving (or depleting) performance? Here are some ideas:
- Establish regular and meaningful performance reviews.
Performance reviews encourage accountability, particularly if they happen frequently. You should have them with each salesperson at least quarterly, monthly if you’re in a fast-paced industry. And don’t let the performance review be all about sales metrics. A good attitude, strong leadership skills, initiative--all these things are important “soft” skills.
- Measure quality of customer relationships.
Don’t let your team view sales exclusively as a numbers game. Successful salespeople build relationships in order to establish an ongoing pipeline of business from both existing customers and customer referrals. How do you know if your individual team members are hitting the mark? Note how much repeat business they receive and the origins of their leads. Is a lot of their new business word-of-mouth, or do they fail on getting repeat and referral sales?
- See your team the way your customers do.
How do you know what your team members are doing out on the sales floor...when you’re not watching? Customer feedback is one way, but to gain a truly objective picture of how your salespeople perform with customers, hiring a trained mystery shopper is the way to go. He or she will be able to tell you if team members are asking the right questions, making the right suggestions, providing the right follow-up...without the salesperson knowing any evaluation is happening.
- Check for immediacy and persistence.
Do your sales team members return customer calls promptly, or do they suffer from full voicemail inboxes and hundreds of unchecked emails? Do they stay in touch with prospective clients, checking in periodically to see where they are in the consideration or buying process? There are an array of customer relationship management (CRM) systems out there that can help you track sales team response and follow-up. CRMs can also help you review and assess the sales process, not just results. Check out reviews to see which ones might work best for your company.
- Don’t just look at win rates; look at changes in win rates.
Looking at how a salesperson stacks up against his or her quota or against fellow team members doesn’t provide you the whole picture of the person. Keep track of whether or not individual team members are improving their rate of closings. If their rate of closure keeps going up, they’re learning and growing. If the win rates are declining or flat, you know it’s time for intervention and more training.