This post was originally published by Allyson Dobberteen on lessonly.com.
We’re all guilty of hiding the “heart” side of ourselves in business sometimes. And when metrics get involved, it’s even easier to forget about the real person behind the productivity stats. In an effort to seem positive, put together, and productive, we forget that we’re not selling machines. We’re human with hearts—and that’s a really good thing.
In reality, a perfectly polished sales robot would lose deals just like the rest of us. In fact, I’d argue that they’d struggle even more than a newbie SDR. People buy from people, not companies—and our vulnerabilities help us relate to our prospects and their problems.
Even so, it’s human nature to want to improve ourselves and our teams. If you’re wondering what is the best approach, evaluating sales performance is a great place to start. It is possible to measure sales performance without sacrificing our souls or the humanity of our teammates—here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
1. Consider the whole person.
One of the tenets of sales training and coaching is the concept of a “holistic” approach. While metrics matter a lot, it’s important to rely on reflection and observation as well. There are a dozen reasons for low sales performance that don’t show up on paper. Take the time to understand your reps individually. What are their goals? What are their dreams? What kind of days or deals drive them crazy? Figure out what causes the rep in front of you to work, live, and sell how they do. Then, you’ll be able to create an action plan for poor sales performance that might actually turn things around.
2. Approach each sales performance evaluation like a two-way street.
Look both ways when considering any conversation about sales objectives and strategies. These discussions shouldn’t feel like a one-sided conversation or a dictated development plan. Both the manager and the sales rep should feel a sense of ownership over the agreed-upon direction.
At Lessonly by Seismic, we like to call this “getting more agreements.” All too often, we expect behaviors or actions from someone without actually verbalizing them. Spoiler alert: unspoken expectations lead to disappointment. Aim for explicit agreements to give everyone the chance to say what they need, discuss what’s possible, and move forward with next steps that everyone understands.
3. Build metrics into your regular routine.
Analysis should not be your big red emergency button. Familiarity does wonders for teams that are a little skeptical of measurement and metrics in particular. Why? If tracking performance and progress become the norm, the intensity and importance of these discussions are kept at an appropriate level. They become a “progress report” instead of an “end-of-year report card.” Plus, you’ll have fewer people asking “what is sales performance looking like these days?” if you’re regularly discussing it as a team.
4. Use a few different types of sales analysis to paint a clearer picture.
It’s also important to use a few different types of sales analysis. A regular and rotating routine can reveal different strengths and weaknesses within your organization. There are dozens to choose from—sales trends, performance, pipeline, and product are just a few. Choose 3-5 methods that align best with your organization’s overarching goals, and stick to them. After all, it’s hard to track progress when you haven’t established a baseline.
5. Remember to highlight the good.
A constant stream of harsh criticism can cause even the people with the toughest exterior to feel a little dead inside. If your reps are rundown after their sales performance analysis, it’s time to reframe your delivery. Effective sales managers reinforce good behaviors while gently eradicating the not-so-good ones that lead to low sales performance. Coaching software—like ours—allows you to praise the progress you see along the way.
Strike the right balance with Lessonly
Still wondering how to improve sales performance without losing heart? Lessonly by Seismic’s training and coaching software helps sales teams improve performance by a whopping 75%. Explore this free performance improvement plan template, or schedule a demo with our team today.