Sales is the heartbeat that gives life to your business.
Without successful sales, you wouldn’t be able to move your product, turn a profit, or expand your client base.
Whether sales are done by founders or designated sales reps, it’s up to your sellers to bring in revenue by getting your awesome product or service into the hands of customers.
So, it’s only natural that you do everything in your power to ensure your sales reps are able to perform their very best – which is where sales performance management comes into play.
Building an Effective Sales Performance Management Strategy
Sales performance management (SPM) is the process of training and supporting your sales team to allow them to perform at peak capacity. It involves optimizing onboarding for new reps, offering on-the-job coaching for anyone who needs it, and providing access to resources that help your team level up their sales skills.
Done well, SPM sharpens your reps’ natural abilities, streamlines your sales processes, shortens your sales cycle, and leads to higher ROI.
So, what’s the secret to effective sales performance management? A deliberate, goal-oriented SPM strategy.
As you can see below, a profitable sales performance management strategy is built on an in-depth understanding of your organization’s big-picture goals.
Let’s take a closer look at the key steps involved in creating and implementing an effective SPM strategy that aligns with your company culture.
Define Clear Goals: It’s important to know exactly what you’re trying to achieve before you start making changes to your SPM strategy. Consider what your company is aiming for in terms of sales targets and the type of value you can provide to the market. Then, decide what your sales team needs to do (and within what timeframe) to hit those targets consistently.
Obtain Stakeholder Support: Once you’ve planned out what you want to achieve, the next obstacle is obtaining buy-in from everyone involved. To get the whole team on board, explain why the changes are necessary and how your new strategy will positively impact ROI. For full transparency, tell your sales reps how you came up with any new quotas you’ve set. Outline the short-term and long-term benefits and, if necessary, adjust the compensation plan to motivate your sales reps to comply with the changes.
Hold Your Team Accountable: Establishing accountability takes a combination of responsibility and reward. Motivate your reps by setting specific quotas that are challenging yet attainable – and reward them generously for meeting or exceeding those goals. To leverage both positive and negative reinforcement, you should also communicate the consequences of consistently underperforming.
Empower Your Sales Reps: Once you’ve set clear objectives and established what your sales reps are responsible for achieving, make sure they have the power and resources to make it happen. In addition to providing the necessary support and tools for success, you can empower your team by allowing individuals to offer discounts and adjust packages to meet client needs.
Codify Repeatable Sales Steps: Revisit your existing sales process to look for opportunities to further streamline your pipeline. Identify any bottlenecks, leaks, or areas that need improvement. Then, adapt your sales process in response to these issues. Define each step and create a formal sales process to simplify, communicate, and clarify the changes to your reps.
Using Sales Performance Management to Increase Revenue and ROI
The best sales managers use SPM as a means to increase revenue and maximize ROI. However, those financial gains can only be unlocked once you learn how to motivate and manage your team.
You need to understand their strengths and weaknesses, provide the tools they need for success, and motivate them to continue producing results. That is, you need to assess, teach, and coach your sales reps if you want to maximize ROI.
By assessing your team’s selling abilities, you can develop a deeper understanding of how your team is currently performing. Evaluate each rep’s sales abilities, review their track record, and pinpoint any activities that could be stronger.
Reflect on your team’s performance overall and look for any obvious skills gaps that need to be filled. For example, do any of your reps lack critical product knowledge? Are your team members able to add value at every step of the sales cycle? If not, what can you do to help them do so?
Even if your sales team is made up of highly motivated, talented people, you need to provide the knowledge they require to succeed.
The better your sales team understands the product or service on a granular level, the better they can communicate the benefits to prospects and customers. This makes it easier to customize each sales pitch to a specific customer’s needs and identify which selling points will have the greatest impact on a prospect’s decision to buy.
Additionally, fantastic sales performance management involves coaching your sales team on a day-to-day basis to refine their soft skills, like communication and relationship building. Aim to provide ongoing support and coaching to bring out your team’s natural talent, ensure your reps know you’re available to advise them, and be prepared to deliver on-the-job inspiration and guidance.
Putting Strategy into Practice: 5 Tips for Improving Sales Performance
Whether you’re a burgeoning startup or established enterprise, a well-thought out sales performance management strategy is crucial to success.
The three ingredients of optimal sales performance are culture, strategy, and talent. Each plays an integral role in the success or failure of a sales team.
The most effective approach to sales performance management strikes a balance between hiring the right people, streamlining the sales process with data-driven strategy, and developing a motivational, collaborative company culture.
Here are some actionable tips for how you can use these three levers to improve sales performance.
1. Build the Right Team
Amazing sales performance begins with amazing sales reps. So, before you revamp your entire approach to SPM, step back to consider whether you’re hiring the right people for the job.
One way to build a stronger sales team is to seek out new hires who embody the traits of your current top performers. Not only does having a talented sales team ensure you’ll earn more revenue but hiring reps who fit your culture can also boost profits by reducing costs associated with turnover.
2. Standardize Training and Onboarding
Whether you’re expanding your sales team or retraining your existing sales reps, you can save time and effort by creating a standardized training program. It should encompass how your products work from a technical standpoint as well as how specific offerings benefit different types of clients.
To ensure your reps can sell to anyone, your training programs should focus on consultative selling skills. Host workshops that allow your reps to practice delivering sales pitches revolving around different selling points.
Furthermore, take the time to introduce your sales team to any relevant technology (like a CRM platform) that they need to use to do their job well.
3. Allow Reps to Use Their Time Productively
Increasing efficiency is one of the best ways to bump up your ROI. So, rather than conducting research or attending additional discovery meetings, you should allow your sales reps to focus on the most valuable aspect of their jobs: selling.
Good sales performance management includes making sure your reps have direct access to the sales intelligence they need to close. For instance, Prepperz provides the insightful sales intelligence you need to accelerate the sales process, so your reps can focus on client relationships and sales.
4. Celebrate Victories Together
Even the best SPM strategy won’t do you much good if your sales team isn’t motivated to put your initiatives into action. Getting excited about sales victories can do wonders for your team’s morale. Not only can this boost motivation but talking about a big win is also an opportunity to learn from each other’s successes – so your team can celebrate more often.
5. Track KPIs and Keep Improving
Measurable results are repeatable results. You can’t create a replicable sales process that works unless you know exactly what has worked for you in the past.
If you aren’t already, start tracking your sales metrics so you can compare how any changes to your SPM strategy impact sales performance. Remember to include metrics like time spent selling, win rate, sales volume by rep, and sale cycle length.
Tracking these metrics makes it easier to spot trends in rep performance, which allows you to identify and address minor issues before they turn into more serious problems.
As you move forward with your new SPM strategy, continue to look for ways to improve the entire team’s performance based on an individual’s success.
Human Intelligence Means Smarter Sales Performance Management
The more you know about your prospects in advance, the higher your odds of closing the deal. So, one of the best ways to ensure your reps can sell efficiently is to provide in-depth sales intelligence that makes it easier to connect with and sell to just about anyone.
Amazing sales performance management is all about setting your team up for success.
If you want to see how human sales intelligence can optimize sales performance and save you time, money, and resources, get in touch with our team today.