How to Manage Individual Sales Performance

Individual Sales PerformanceSales can be the harshest career on the planet. That’s because there is very little ambiguity in our measurement metrics – either we make our sales targets, or we don’t – everything else has little relevance. As a result, it’s fairly common to see sales people undergoing performance review. This is why individual sales performance measurement is so important. Non-performance for any type of sustained period usually results in performance review. While under performance review, set objectives will be agreed to, which need to be met if the sales person is going to ultimately retain their position in that organisation. [bctt tweet=”The problem with performance management is that the objectives are often not set objectively”], and in many cases they land up with the same goals they have already struggled to achieve.

To avoid this, more analysis needs to be put into the individual sales performance up to the point where performance issues have been highlighted. And I don’t just mean the financial results. What has the sales person been spending their time on? Where in the sales process are they coming unstuck? Are they not qualifying enough leads; are they not seeing enough clients face to face; are they getting verbal commitments, but no signed agreements; etc.? By understanding these metrics in Individual Sales Performance, you will gain valuable insights into the relevant strengths of your sales people. These insights should be monitored on an ongoing basis in order to prevent performance review but, especially in large sales teams, are often only addressed at the 11th hour.

So what will these insights mean to you and your sales teams? Consider the example of two opposite types of sales driven non-performance. John and Sally are both under their YTD sales targets by similar margins. John has a pipeline full of opportunities, but very few closed opportunities. Sally on the other hand has very few opportunities, but of the ones she does have, she has closed more. In this very simple example, we can tell that John has a problem closing opportunities, and Sally has a problem qualifying opportunities. What do these facts tell you about your sales team, their processes, and their governing strategies?

John may need training around sales engagement, or negotiation skills. But John’s issues may also relate to internal challenges that your organisation is facing. For example, he may be getting a slow response time on his contracts from legal or finance, or he could be getting proof requests that your company can’t provide. In Sally’s case, why is she not qualifying enough opportunities? Maybe she is uncomfortable opening the right doors. Or maybe there is an issue with the way your team acquires leads. In this case, it might be useful to team John and Sally up, where John opens the doors, and Sally closes the opportunities.

At the end of the day, this example could spiral into any plethora of different scenarios. But the point is that when you begin to understand the metrics that drive individual sales performance, especially in relation to the rest of your sales team, you empower yourself to make meaningful changes. These changes have the potential to not only improve on the performance of your team within you organisation, but improve the lives of your sales people, where they work more to their strengths.

So how do you get to the point where you are constantly measuring these individual sales performance insights? The answer is two fold. Firstly, you need a sales measurement tool, or CRM that has the ability to give you these insights. This CRM needs to be easy for your sales people to use, so that they can easily log leads, contacts, accounts, and opportunities. But just as important is the simplicity to log activity against accounts, contacts, leads and opportunities. [bctt tweet=”It is the the insight into the activities that will highlight strengths and weaknesses in your sales teams”]

Secondly, you need to spend the time focusing on your team members individually. We have spoken previously about management of your sales teams. But individual focus is just as important, if not more. Focusing on the individual does not mean micro management. It means spending the time gaining insights based on their activity vs opportunities, and addressing any concerns you uncover – either in casual chat or in scheduled one on ones. This will allow you to address problems before they arise and adjust accordingly. Not only will this help improve individual sales performance, but it will build trust with your team members, knowing that they are in a safe, open environment.

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