Sales Performance Management – by John Kypriotakis

Merely setting a goal (e.g. sell two million dollars this year) and checking whether that happened or not a year later (or monthly for the more sophisticated crowd) is a far cry from what is needed to develop a winning sales team.

Reviewing performance is only a small part of Managing Performance and the sad truth is that neither happens often or properly.

Sales Performance Management is a systematic approach to managing the performance of your sales staff and it consists of the following components:

Goal Setting and Planning

Ongoing Feedback

Performance Diagnostics

Skill development

Performance Review

You are likely familiar with some or even all of the parts of the system, but the magic comes from purposefully implementing all of its parts. Selective or partial implementation is counterproductive and may even be detrimental to the overall effectiveness of your sales staff.

Goal Setting and Planning:

The first step to implementing a Sales Performance Management system is to crystallize your thinking as to the vision and goals of your company. What follows is the definition of how your sales efforts should help in achieving or fulfilling your corporate vision as well as your more immediate goals. Next, you need to develop an effective way to communicate your sales mission to your sales staff and gain their commitment to work toward achieving this goal.

Members of your sales team should then be asked to develop their individual sales plan.  This plan must be a comprehensive blueprint as to how they’ll each contribute to the achievement of the sales objectives and any other corporate objectives as well.

Having a set of clearly defined goals tying into corporate objectives is a critical, but often overlooked, part of the process. Don’t miss this.

Ongoing Feedback:

Once goals are set and there is a clear understanding of what each team member is expected to do, you need to make sure that you provide them with ongoing feedback and coaching on their performance. Yes, in six or twelve months you will have a performance review, but feedback needs to be a natural part of your day-to-day business.

Ongoing feedback is needed to “recognize” exceptional performance, to “encourage” properly performing the right tasks and, as it may sometimes be necessary, to arrange for “course correction” to assure their performance meets your predetermined goals.

One last point that needs to be made here is that there is a big difference between Recognition and Reward. The two should be treated independently, as they address separate employee needs.

Performance Diagnostics and Skill Development:

As part of “ongoing feedback” it is important to monitor the employee’s performance in accomplishing each of the collaborative set and mutually agreed upon objectives mentioned earlier.  This feedback should be commensurate in both positive and negative situations.

To do this properly, establish performance metrics to measure progress and identify both areas of acceptable and exceptional performance as well as areas that may need improvement.

Where improvement is needed, provide the employee with the training and or development tools they need to perform at their best.

Performance Review

In addition to the ongoing feedback already mentioned, it is important to schedule a formal Performance Review on, at least, a yearly basis. If the previous steps are followed, there should not be any surprises at this meeting. This will be your opportunity to recap how the employee is performing toward achievement or last year’s goals, provide them with an opportunity to express their view of their progress and desires, and together set the goals for the upcoming year.

It is very important that what is measured as part of the Performance Review also coincides with the vision and mission set for the company as well as the sales function.

Your Reward:

So, what will you get out of all this work as the president, sales manager, or financial executive of your company?

At the very least, you will enjoy a more focused, dedicated, motivated and effective sales team. The reason for this is that with a properly implemented sales performance management system you will communicate your goals and vision more effectively, your team members will know what is expected of them and how they are going to achieve their goals, and ongoing feedback will reinforce the message, recognize their achievements and keep them on track for the long term.

That should be enough reward for you to reconsider your existing system and begin implementing a more effective one.

 

John Kypriotakis is the president of Lysis International, a sales and management consulting firm based in Tampa, Florida. John can be reached at 813-792-8500 or johnk@salesandmanagement.com or:

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