The Sales Performance Assessment: Accelerate Your Sales Growth
October 3, 2019
What is a Sales Performance Assessment?
Well, the success of any business is dependent on sales growth. And sales growth is the result of a well-developed sales strategy.
Before developing your winning sales strategy, you must first assess the current state of sales to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your sales organization.
How? Cue the Sales Performance Assessment.
The following assessment outlines the 6 most common problems sales organizations face and poses a series of questions that’ll help you identify whether that problem is currently affecting your sales team’s performance.
We’ve also included recommended solutions for each type of common problem to help you craft the initial stages of your new strategy.
The results of your Sales Performance Assessment will help you get a better grasp on the issue(s) sales is facing and empower you to solve them.
The Sales Performance Assessment
Let's jump in.
Common Problem #1: Poor Hiring Decisions
Hiring is one of the top problems companies wrestle with when trying to scale.
Usually, they don’t know who or how to hire, rush into the process without a plan, or lack the documented tools necessary to onboard new team members quickly and effectively.
In short, companies don’t always hire the right fit or take the time to properly onboard new hires.
Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether this is an issue for your business:
- Do you depend on a few top performers for the majority of your sales revenue?
- Are there factions sprouting out of your sales department that are not aligned with your company’s sales strategies?
- Is your sales team missing their quotas?
- Does your team have trouble adopting best practice tools or strategies?
If your company’s sales problems may be the result of poor hiring decisions, it’s time to evaluate your key players, pivot on hiring and improve your processes.
- Create a table and label each column A, B, C, D. Each column represents the different players on your sales team.
- “A” players are your top performers – they produce the highest revenue and lead by example, adopting company best practices and following the preferred sales process.
- “B” players are solid performers that need some improvement.
- “C” players consistently fall under their quota and need a concrete performance plan to stay on track.
- “D” players could be toxic to the workplace – they don’t follow processes, have poor rates of learning adoption, and could poison the culture of the sales team. Remember, D players might be top revenue performers. Just because they meet their quota doesn’t mean they are a good culture fit.
- Make some changes. Develop templates for performance plans and schedule evaluations. Apply termination procedures as necessary. Be sure to make your expectations clear by setting performance standards and reiterating your desire to see your sales team succeed.
- Develop a stronger hiring and on-boarding process. Getting the right players in the right positions is the key to sales success.
The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Sales Managers
Common Problem #2: Poor Sales Management
Great leaders are hard to come by, but great leadership is necessary to ensure your sales team meets their quotas and adopts company best practices.
The unfortunate truth is that sales managers are often former sales reps who were promoted for closing lots of deals but received no further training prior to taking on the new position. Being a sales rep versus a sales manager are two different jobs.
That’s why it’s so important to assess whether sales management may need more training.
To identify whether your company’s sales department suffers from poor sales management, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do your managers struggle with setting consistent goals and reporting on progress?
- Or, do they fail to present clear metrics that showcase team performance?
- Struggle to consistently coach their sales reps?
If your company’s sales problems are the result of poor sales management, it’s time to develop a clear sales management process and evaluate the performance of each leader on your team.
- Your sales management process should include the following:
- Guidelines for daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual activities
- Processes for lead distribution
- Team and one-on-one meeting agendas
- Coaching best practices
- Goal setting and forecasting processes
- Key performance indicators
- Performance review processes
- Hiring and on-boarding processes
Holding your sales managers accountable with a clear, developed process manages expectations and produces stellar results.
Common Problem #3: No Documentation of Tribal Knowledge
Most top-performing sales organizations have documented processes. It’s their secret sauce.
Documenting tribal knowledge (the unwritten information not commonly known by others within a company) not only increases the effectiveness of your sales team, but also increases your company’s valuation.
To identify whether your company is suffering due to a lack of documentation, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your sales process all in different people’s heads?
- Do other departments in your company struggle to work with sales?
- Are you using outdated processes?
- Is your team using your CRM as a free-for-all reporting or tracking system rather than a step-by-step guide?
If your sales problems are indeed the result of a lack of documented processes, it’s time to build a Sales PlayBook.
- There's no perfect guide to building a Sales PlayBook. However, there is a standard template that can be applied. Here are the 5 categories of a Sales PlayBook template and some guiding questions get you started:
- Prospecting – What are your buyer personas? Where do you find them? How are leads assigned to your sales reps? What is your process for following up with leads? How are leads qualified? In what way do you engage with high-value prospects?
- Selling – How should you run sales meetings with buyers? How should you follow up after these meetings? How should your products and services be presented? What are your opportunity stages?
- Support – How should sales interact with other departments? How should management support sales? What operational information can you provide to sales? What marketing resources should be available to sales? Of these resources, which are mandatory and which are optional?
- System – What are the systems used by sales? What are the best practices, procedures, and policies for each?
- Team – How does the sales team work together? How do they share best practices?
Common Problem #4: Poor Sales Training Adoption
Sales is an ever-evolving field, so implementing a consistent training program is critical.
But new learnings don’t always get adopted by the whole team.
Could this be the source of your company’s sales performance problems? Ask yourself the following questions to find out:
- Do your sales reps fail to implement what they’ve learned in sales training?
- Or, do they go back to old selling habits?
- Does your company lack the systems in place to ensure learning adoption?
- Are your sales reps using incorrect or outdated messaging when talking to buyers? Do they use your company's best-selling practices?
If your sales problems are the result of poor training adoption, it’s time to re-evaluate the current training protocol and create a new training adoption plan.
- While researching or developing sales training solutions, keep the following points in mind:
- Gather your team’s thoughts on the current training protocol and tailor the new program to their needs.
- Ensure that your company’s sales process is clearly documented.
- Consider working with a consultant on developing the right training program for your team.
- Develop a Sales Growth Team of sales reps who will act as training evangelists to ensure learning adoption.
- Review and update your program regularly.
- Ensure the training content is customized to your organization and documented in your Sales PlayBook.
Common Problem #5: Poorly Positioned Solution
Is your company’s solution well-positioned in the market and/or targeting the right buyer?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you struggled to keep up with market trends? Does your solution no longer fulfill a market need?
- Is your solution similar to others in your market?
- Or, is the potential market not big enough for your sales goals?
- Are your salespeople always offering discounts or credits to convince buyers to buy?
- Do you receive a lot of customer service complaints because your solution doesn’t meet expectations?
If your sales problems are indeed the result of poor positioning, it’s time to conduct some new research and develop a new strategy.
- Consider the following approach:
- Conduct basic market research to identify your buyer persona, their expectations, and the price they’re willing to pay for your product.
- Compare your current offering against your market’s expectations. Can it compete?
- Identify your value proposition. What makes you different from your competitors?
- If your current product doesn’t meet market expectations, determine how you can change your product, pivot to a different audience, or change your current audience’s expectations.
Common Problem #6: Poor Sales and Marketing Alignment
Sales and marketing alignment, or lack thereof, is a hot topic in business.
Why is it so important?
Well, sales and marketing have to work together to offer buyers quality content. Marketing needs sales to gather information from buyers that will fuel the development of marketing collateral. Sales needs marketing to attract new prospects and leads.
Many companies are suffering from a lack of departmental alignment, and your sales problems could be a result of this as well. Some are also guilty of under-investing in their marketing strategy. Could that be you?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do members of your sales team lack strong marketing collateral to share with prospects and clients?
- Does your marketing team often complain that sales is hard to work with? Or vice versa?
- Are you not getting enough leads from marketing activities, or, are the leads you receive poorly qualified?
- Is your website a poor reflection of your brand, or does it look out of date?
- Or, is your brand largely unknown in your industry or among potential prospects?
If your sales performance problems are the result of poor sales and marketing alignment, it’s time to foster a culture of collaboration.
- Consider the following approach to get both departments working together:
- Meet with your marketing team to develop an annual marketing plan. Be sure to include your target audience, marketing message, methods, and new initiatives for each quarter.
- Align on a marketing and sales process with clearly defined ownership and accountability of steps in the process.
- Identify any necessary sales collateral and develop a plan to create it.
- Set clear targets and establish methods to measure results.
- Meet with your marketing and sales team monthly to review performance.
Interested in developing your own Sales Performance Assessment? Let us know how it goes in the comment section below.
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