Sales Performance Reviews: Fifteen Best Practices

 A well-conducted sales performance review allows companies to establish performance standards, address individual challenges and successes, and identify areas requiring improvement or restructuring.

To upgrade your performance evaluation process, implement these 15 strategies and practices proven to enhance your sales assessments. 

What Is a Sales Performance Evaluation?

A performance evaluation is an annual or semi-annual meeting between managers and their salesforce to discuss current successes and challenges.

A successful performance evaluation includes feedback on the employee’s professional development, performance targets for the upcoming year, and an outline of future direction and support from the company. 

What Should Be Covered in a Performance Review?

Performance review details vary according to industry, role, and company expectations. However, if you’re conducting a performance review, you can expect to cover these topics in detail.

  • Sales Metrics - Conversion rates, average sales per hour, and forecast vs actual sales are all great metrics to include. 
  • Performance Within the Team - The best salesforce is composed of team players, even if sales reps work independently in the field. An ability to cooperate and collaborate with their team exhibits the soft skills and adaptability crucial to effective selling
  • Client Feedback and Relationship-Building - Building relationships with new and existing customers is vital to your company’s profits. Bring relevant customer feedback to the review for discussion, and encourage sales reps to share customer satisfaction strategies. You will likely learn valuable insights about your entire salesforce.

15 Best Practices for Managers When Reviewing Sales Performance

Managers wondering how to review sales performance more effectively should consider implementing these 15 tried-and-true strategies: 

1. Reference Sales Performance Review Examples and Templates

For help constructing a B2B or retail sales performance review framework, keep relevant performance measures in mind while consulting guides and other resources.

2. Create a Review Outline

A systematic process is vital to minimize bias and ambiguity in sales performance reviews. Applying a standard sales performance review across the board gives your salesforce a level playing field and enables sales managers to make objective, data-driven assessments.

3. Be prepared for your role in the evaluation

Prepare any sales metrics, personnel files, and other relevant documents for each individual on your team. 

As needed, take a few minutes to speak with supervisors or team members about how sales reps fit into their teams and recent sales trends. 

4. Give Employees an Assessment Outline Before Meeting

It sounds counter-intuitive, but it can be useful to provide reps with a basic breakdown of their performance metrics and evaluation. Implementing this strategy allows employees to experience their initial emotional reactions in private. 

This can make face-to-face evaluations more constructive and less adversarial by facilitating productive and positive interactions.

5. Highlight Successes

Management recognition is a vital facet of employee satisfaction. At first glance, the happiness of your salesforce may not seem as important as other metrics, but sales increase 37% when sales staff report high levels of satisfaction. 

During this stage of the sales performance evaluation, be sure to mention individual and team successes. Highlighting the specific roles individuals played in securing team wins is great for motivation

6. Address Problem Areas Tactfully

Remember to view poor performance reviews constructively as windows into areas needing improvement and opportunities for individuals and teams to grow.

While lagging sales numbers are certainly a cause for concern, approach negative results of sales performance reviews with respect, compassion, and tact. Employees rank respect as the most important leadership quality. So employees who feel respected even during criticism and reprimand display more loyalty and higher productivity.

7. Take Advantage of Self-Assessments

Allowing team members to evaluate their personal performance and explain processes, strategies, goals, and challenges provides valuable information about your salesforce and sales strategies. 

Additionally, this is a fantastic tool for improving management success. Each success and challenge employees express offers valuable data, informing responsive implementation of new management strategies.

8. Create an Actionable Plan

Sales performance reviews should always be action-oriented. End meetings by laying out detailed expectations and goals for the upcoming year. Identify actionable steps to reach those objectives. Establishing an action plan grants employees a roadmap to success and increases accountability.

9. Be Constructive

Offer concrete paths to improvement while discussing performance shortcomings. Without constructive advice, underperforming employees will likely struggle to develop and may feel lost or unsupported. This can hamstring productivity in a downward spiral that is challenging to rectify.

10. Prepare for Pushback

It is best to separate performance reviews and compensation adjustments if possible. When these are linked too directly, employees may focus primarily on the compensatory outcomes of their performance review. If pay adjustments or bonuses are not what they were expecting, it can derail the whole process. 

Similarly, employees receiving poor or average performance reviews may attempt to argue their position. Back up sales performance reviews with accessible hard data, sales metrics, commendations or reprimands, and customer feedback. While you should never get into an argument defending the performance evaluation, providing clear facts and figures steadies disgruntled sales reps.

11. Set Goals Together

Working collaboratively to set goals during the performance review establishes motivating accountability for improving performance. Include employees in goal-setting to reinforce feeling valued by their leadership and company. 

Active employee engagement is critical in customer-facing sales positions. Employees with high levels of engagement display increased performance, longer average tenure, and less burnout compared to their disengaged counterparts.

12. Focus on Key Areas of Sales Performance

Insight into quantitative performance on key performance areas develops managers’ accurate grasp on employees’ contributions to overarching company goals and initiatives.

Focusing on the numbers prevents biased behaviors that skew performance evaluations and diminishes your company’s ability to make advantageous strategy and personnel decisions. 

PerceptionPredict is a decision support platform that employs machine learning to digest organization- and role-specific data into the KPIs and qualities equating to sales success at your company. Guide performance reviews with our predictive analytics software’s data-driven analysis proven to advance sales performance.

13. Evaluate Soft Skills

Sit down with your team for an opportunity to evaluate sales reps’ soft skills. Observe communication styles like active listening, emotional intelligence, and adaptability. Vital soft skills like these translate to customer connections and closing more deals. 

14. Ask for Feedback 

Provide an opportunity for reps to share. Asking for feedback is another way to increase employee engagement during sales performance. To reduce costly turnover, know what kind of assistance and encouragement the sales team needs to succeed.

15. Follow-Up

Follow up with your salesforce after performance evaluations to show your commitment to supporting growth. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on action-plan progress and cultivate motivation or accountability as needed to boost performance. 

Improve Sales Performance With PerceptionPredict

PerceptionPredict's Performance Fingerprints use predictive analytics to measure the ‘sales DNA’ of current and potential employees. This data-driven psychographic profile projects a variety of vital performance metrics, such as length of tenure, job behaviors, personal and professional motivations.

Book a Demo today to improve sales performance with data, not guesswork.

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