How to Evaluate Your Sales Teams’ Performance
Corporate sales training can be technical, complicated, and stressful, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, some of the best sales training in the world is that which keeps things very simple, very matter of fact, and doesn’t try to be too convoluted and fancy.
The same cannot be said for evaluating your sales teams’ performance - the simple ways are often too vague and lack the analytical depth and innovation that is required to make actionable decisions and lasting progress.
Read through the following section as we discuss the importance of regular evaluations, some of the different methods of doing so, and provide some tips for delivering feedback.
Why Regular Evaluations are Important
A sales evaluation is essentially the analysis of sales performance among your salespeople or the sales performance of a price or marketing change or campaign. An effective analysis will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of either the people or the processes. Done regularly, the sales training and evaluation team can improve the overall potency of sales efforts and hope to increase profits.
Another benefit of doing regular evaluations is to stop ineffective sales habits early and avoid damaging business outcomes.
Methods of Evaluation
‘How did we do?’ often reads the top of the customer feedback form, a tool designed to see whether the general sentiment of the customer is positive or negative and if it offers room for improvement. A favourite of senior management and HR might not be liked by the customer, so it’s important to know what those buying from the business feel about their experience.
Sales and Negotiation Simulations
Data is often more objective than humans can be, so running innovative sales and negotiation simulations on salespeople gives the evaluation team more concrete information to go by.
The added benefit of running simulations is that they provide an unbiased assessment method by using objective scoring and feedback. What’s more, a well-designed simulation can help embed a value creation mindset. Rather than simply testing someone for their ability to sell for the highest price, volume, or with the highest satisfaction, simulations help show how the salespeople can contribute to a company’s value creation mission. Creating a value creation mindset helps to develop authentic salespeople that work in a sustainable manner and support the business values, rather than only chasing revenues.
Comparison of Performance vs Quotas & Targets
The most traditional way of sales performance evaluation is to look at the past sales data and the present sales data and make comparisons. It can quickly be seen how well they meet their targets, how their sales figures have risen or fallen, and whether their sales performance is in line with the company as a whole. Computer software makes this process very interesting.
Salespeople are given quotas for things like volume, profit, and expenses. If they regularly fail to meet those quotas, it’s easy to say that they’re failing. If they regularly meet their quotas but don’t exceed them, it could be seen that they are doing the bare minimum of what’s required, and if they regularly surpass the quotas, perhaps the bar is too low.
Sales volume is the most important of these quotas or targets for the majority of businesses, but in reality, an overall view of performance for volume, profit, and expenses gives a more accurate view. Take into consideration the improvement that the business has made too, with new products, better facilities, more advertising, favorable economic conditions, a greater market share, and more training to name a few. If sales performances don’t improve with some of those things, perhaps your salespeople have no motivation to develop.
Many businesses divide their geographical sales territories among their salespeople for products and services. Each salesperson is given an area and they become responsible for sales there.
The data gained from this kind of exercise can give a lot of information about the territory if there is past data to compare it to. So, if a region has a fairly consistent past sales performance, it can be a great testing ground for salespeople. The training and evaluations team can send different employees to see how they measure up against one another in a certain area.
Observation Feedback from Leaders
Supervisors, managers, trainers, and executives can all weigh in with an opinion on the effectiveness of a salesperson. They might see something in their word choice, body language, their presentation, or their general style that they feel is their winning asset, or the thing holding them back. Even the smallest impression can make a big difference when it comes to feedback.
It’s mainly the responsibility of the sales trainer or supervisor to deliver this key actionable information, praising strengths, detecting weaknesses, and correcting any issues to help refine the salesperson.
This method is somewhat effective, but it’s all qualitative and subjective, which means that the feedback isn’t necessarily accurate. Fortunately, this kind of evaluation does help create actionable plans, strengthen communication, and create a basis for future appraisals, quality control, and training.
Delivering Feedback Basics
Here are a few tips for delivering feedback:
- Reflect upon your intentions for the feedback session
- Prepare both positive and critical feedback
- Ask for their permission to be honest and frank, as this allows feedback to be more openly received
- Discuss behaviours and actions, not the person or their character
- Finish with motivational words about impact and action
Delivering feedback without understanding your own intentions as a corporate sales trainer can lead to the session being confusing and without purpose. The goal is to address weaknesses, praise strengths, and together agree on a plan of action moving forward.
Final Words on Sales Team Performance
Thanks to innovations like sales and negotiation simulations, the world of sales evaluations is beginning to change. Whilst the old ways are still in, quantitative and objective data is starting to have more of an effect, and sentiment and opinion are on their way out.
There are so many ways to evaluate your sales teams’ performance, but what’s more important is to deliver that information with respect and consideration. Knocking someone’s confidence is never going to help improve figures. Equally, failing to show praise to a high performer may make them feel unappreciated.