Evaluating Your Sales Team

9 Dec

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Annually, every company should be grading their sales team. I’m not suggesting that we follow Jack Welch and fire the bottom 10% every year but sales leadership should know where everyone rates beyond just their sales output. Your organization has performance metrics but is your evaluation of each individual well-rounded? Before you hire one more person, it’s time to understand your entire sales force. Following are my eight suggestions in examining your present team.

1. Sales Assessment. Through an external company, have your sales team take a brief online evaluation. I have my favorite tool but there are multiple sales assessments that will benefit your analysis. It will help identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses.

2. Metrics. The following are the three performance metrics that I believe are the most important:

  • Annual and quarterly sales/gross margin. The closer you can get to a “real” gross margin or bottom line number, the better for calculating ROI.
  • Number of deals pitched / percentage closed. Are they bringing enough opportunities to the table and closing a healthy percentage?
  • $ deals in their pipeline 6 months into the future. If they haven’t done as much lately, this provides a glimpse ahead before judging their productivity.

3. Territory and workload. Territories are never completely “fair” and you should take that into consideration. Senior reps also often build up repeat customers and may not be landing a lot of new accounts. Also, consider if they have unique responsibilities beyond business development so that you have a balanced view of their value.

4. Price tag. Are they expensive based on their base salary? Do they have a gracious commission plan with repeat business that makes them more expensive? The quickest way to rank their cost is by dividing their annual gross margin production by their total compensation (going back as far as three years).

5. Continual improvement. I don’t care how green or tenured the salesperson – do they show promise for better production every year? When you challenge them, do they step up?

6. Teammate. Do your salespeople bring positive energy to the sales meetings? Or are they a pain that brings everyone down? Do they pass one another leads?

7. Leadership. Without a manager title, does a particular salesperson’s words and actions cause the entire group to hit higher marks? Do they make your team stronger through mentoring and helping their peers? Are there other intangibles in some of your salespeople that make the company better?

8. Manageability. Is the salesperson easy or difficult to manage? Are they self-reliant or constantly demanding your time for reasons that don’t involve customers? Do they follow the rules, document their calls, finish their paperwork and taking accountability for their results?

Now put it all together and label everyone “great”, “good”, “average” or “under-performer” and let them know where they rank based on all of the above. Everyone on the team should know their strengths and weaknesses and what it takes to climb into the “great” category.

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz

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drew@blueoctopusllc.com

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