3 years ago
January 5, 2015

Sales Performance Reviews: Do’s and Don’ts

This article will go over a few tips to help you reinforce or straighten out your sales performance team when the time comes to look at the numbers.

Rhys Metler

There is more to reviewing the sales performance of your team than glancing at numbers in your analytics program of choice and giving a thumbs up or thumbs down. To understand how your team performed and give informative and valuable performance reviews requires a nuanced understanding of numerous factors and the ability to apply that understanding. This article will go over a few tips to help you reinforce or straighten out your sales performance team when the time comes to look at the numbers.

Do: Consider Hard and ‘Soft’ Data

A sales performance review should consider factors beyond the concrete numbers your metrics programs of choice spit out. Quantifiable data certainly plays a major role in analyzing team performance, but non-quantifiable items must also be considered for a full picture. That means considering team attitudes, team morale, the ability to handle criticism, personal grooming habits. All these little things add up in a big way when looking at end-of-the-year numbers.

Don’t: Surprise Your Team

This is the absolute first thing to avoid in sales performance reviews-they are not the place for big revelations. Problems arising in the sales team should be recognized and shared as they arise, not saved up for impact or ignored until convenient to address. Similarly, exceptional successes should be recognized when they happen, to reinforce good habits and raise team morale.

Do: Review Trends and Adjust

Sitting with sales performance data for a long period of time at hand is the best time to consider the strengths and weaknesses of your team. It can be easier to notice certain trends, such as a salesman who performs best when he’s focussing on a particular tactic or moving a particular product, or one that fails under the same circumstances. Shifting duties such that team members do what they do best more throughout the year should be a high priority during any sales performance review.

Don’t: Destroy Team Morale

This will be easier if you have been acknowledging problems and working to correct them as a regular habit instead of saving up issues to ambush your team with. Sales performance, even more so than performance in other fields, can be greatly influenced by the mood of your team. Hitting the team with a deluge of complaints can trigger a death spiral by demolishing whatever confidence your salespeople previously brought to the table. Even if the numbers are bad, look for the things that went right and mention them often-an atmosphere of fear won’t do your sales performance any favors.

Do: Recognize Hard Truths

Unfortunately, not everyone can cut it. Maybe you have a team member whose numbers never improve, who shows no inclination to change bad habits. They may be a nice person and put in a hard day of work, but hard work doesn’t count for anything if it’s done wrong. Sales performance reviews often divide sales people into the Exceptional, Good, Marginal, and Poor categories.

Realize when you have a poor salesperson and do what you have to. Just make sure you’re not overreacting to data without all of the information-even an exceptional salesperson can have a bad chain of months, especially if their personal life took a bad turn. Hard truths only hold value when you know all of the facts.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.