Insights

Setting Performance Expectations? Clarity is Key

March 1, 2018
Setting Performance Expectations? Clarity is Key

To improve your team's performance, you must set performance expectations.  Not only does this prevent anxiety and confusion, it helps people get the job done in the best way possible.

Is senior leadership in your organization setting expectations for the team? Do sales reps know who's responsible for qualifying inbound leads?  Is it Marketing or Sales?  Who does what, when, and how?  Many people in senior leadership don’t understand the anxiety, upset, and conflict that lack of clarity can cause.

Senior leadership’s role in setting performance expectations involves being clear about what people are expected to deliver within specific time-frames.  This can include achieving results in any or all the following categories:  the annual forecast, your product mix, or your go-to-market strategy.

Setting Performance Expectations with Clear Job Descriptions 

One of the best ways for setting performance expectations is via a job description.  For the most clarity, include an overview of the job, the responsibilities and the accountabilities of that position. 

Job Description of a Salesperson’s Responsibilities:

  • Set, review with senior leadership, and execute quarterly forecasts and account plans
  • Develop, review, and execute monthly prospecting action plans
  • Create, review, and execute weekly goals
  • Post plans and goals in the company Sales Playbook
  • Generate leads independently
  • Help the marketing team generate leads for new opportunities
  • Deliver live and remote demos to qualified prospects
  • Develop and deliver written proposals for new business
  • Sell and close/win sales opportunities with new and existing clients
  • Develop and maintain key relationships with company clients in your territory
  • Provide input to the marketing team for new blog entries and content offers
  • Promote new content and status updates through your personal and company social media channels
  • Update the company Sales Playbook with newly learned selling best practices
  • Update the company Sales Playbook with success stories

Here at CFS, we recommend that you phrase “responsibilities” as verbs, because this is the “doing” part of the job.   

Examples of Accountabilities:

  • Achieved revenue goals on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis
  • Upsold new products and services with existing clients
  • Consistently entered information in the company CRM
  • Reviewed and updated the sales playbook on a frequent basis
  • Followed the policies outlined in the company sales playbook
  • Shared newly learned selling best practices and success stories with senior leadership and the rest of the sales team
  • Received excellent training evaluation ratings on a consistent basis
  • Consistently received outstandingly positive feedback from clients and peers
  • Received positively outstanding annual performance reviews from your supervisor

Phrase “accountabilities” in a past tense because they should be viewed as “done.”

Again, senior leadership can improve selling performance by setting performance expectations, making agreements, and establishing and tracking goals.  Also, it's important to include identifying performance indicators. These will measure key expectations that everyone will understand. 

Ultimately, setting performance expectations and establishing accountability go hand in hand.  Lay out the expectations and accountabilities for the people on your sales team.

Accountability in Sales
A Guide for CEOs, Sales VPs, and Sales Managers on How to Guide Performance
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