A Sales Manager’s Guide to Delivering Effective Performance Reviews

On a daily basis, Sales Managers are required to tackle a number of tasks while also managing their teams. One of the top priorities of Sales Management is to keep sales reps motivated and encouraged at their lowest and highest points. One way many managers have approached this is by holding timely performance reviews and coaching.

While organizations today embrace the 360-degree approach, managers play an indispensable role in making these performance review initiatives successful. They should know the most about each person on the team and are also the best suited to offer praise or address concern during one-on-ones.

Yet, performance reviews are often stressful. Whether you’re trying to strike a balance between tough love and encouragement or you’re a manager who dislikes conflict, this guide will help you conduct effective performance reviews. 

Gather Information

While organizations follow a quarterly, half-yearly, or annual feedback culture, it’s the manager’s responsibility to track performance of the SDRs, goals, achievements, setbacks, etc. So, managers must have access to reporting that measures productivity and performance indicators. 

This seems elementary, but according to a survey, only 34% of employees agree that their managers are aware of their current projects or tasks. If you are one of those busy managers who cannot invest much time in tracking down reports in your CRM or measuring other performance activities, then consider using a productivity measurement tool to save time. Tools like these give managers all the data they need in one location. Then, they can spend more time coaching and less time sifting through lengthy reports.

Set the Right Communication Tone

Emotions can easily influence both managers and employees during a performance review meeting. Managers should expect and be ready to listen to their employees’ points of view. Maybe there was a personal situation that affected them this month/quarter/year. Maybe the quota set was unreachable due to outside forces. 

The best thing to do is ask your sales rep about his or her experience, learnings, and scope of improvement so far before you jump in. You can even ask them to perform their own SWOT analysis prior to offering your feedback. 

By creating an environment for two-way communication , both parties will be able to express themselves. This will also help prevent your team from equating performance reviews with disciplinary action or criticism. 

Give Constructive Feedback

It is important to understand that review meetings should not be used for only criticism or corrective action. They should always be focused on healthy conversation with constructive feedback. If you start with negativity upfront, the sales reps will likely feel that their contributions are not valued. The human brain often considers criticism a threat to survival. At times, managers find it hard to provide negative feedback correctly. According to a recent Forbes survey, 44% of managers agreed that giving negative feedback was stressful. For that reason, consider starting with the positives in their performance then present the negatives as an opportunity to improve. This will not only strengthen your argument but also provide employees a better understanding of what they did wrong and how they can improve. 

Create a Development Plan

While performance review meetings are heavily focused on evaluating past performance, creating a development plan for the future is an important part of the meeting too. These plans often conclude the meetings and are a great way to clearly set expectations  so both employees and managers are on the same page. 

Once drafted, a performance improvement plan can be discussed with the respective sales rep and any necessary training needs can be addressed. 

For advice on coaching,  refer to our post on smart ways for busy managers to train their sales reps

Manage Disagreements

Review and appraisal meetings are often where conflicts arise. There are bound to be disagreements, which some sales reps will take in stride, while others may become defensive, finding your feedback difficult to accept . 

It is important to come to a mutually acceptable action plan in order to improve productivity. You can also set a standard process to support the performance evaluation process. For example, using Prodoscore for the performance evaluation will give you a single performance score for individual sales reps. Prodoscore measures thousands of daily activity points from various cloud tools and outputs a simple score that makes it really easy for managers to visualize productivity. 

Why Prodoscore?

Prodoscore uses the cloud to capture data in near real-time and display it in a way that is easy to manage and understand. It measures things like time spent sending emails, scheduling meetings or calendar events, creating proposals, interacting on hangout, making calls, sending texts, and updating your CRM.. This consistent measurement across the team provides insight into engagement and accountability for teams, managers, and HR. 

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