If you’re working in the world of sales – whether that’s managing a team, hiring staff, or out there on the front-line, sales performance management (SPM) is likely to be three little words (or letters) that pop up on a very regular basis. Maybe it was embedded in your job description, or perhaps as a line manager SPM success or failure drives a performance review.
What we do know is that no matter how regularly a team or individuals meet targets and KPIs, there’s a constant drive for better and more efficient SPM. But a bit like that notorious chicken and its equally well-known egg, which should come first, the behavioral tips and techniques to be better at selling or the software that displays the data and results? In this super-speedy but very handy list, we identify the best of both to boost sales performance management, right here, right now.
1. What’s your Strategy?
There’s very little value in taking a scattergun approach when setting out to improve SPM. Everyone involved, from the CEO to the summer intern whoever is in between needs to be able to make sense of the business objectives, relate to the marketing plans, and understand the purpose of new and existing products.
2. What’s your Structure?
Another simple yet necessary bolster to sales performance management is knowing your company’s departmental personnel structure. Knowing who to connect with and what’s important internally provides the power (and magical relationship building ability) to be more effective with external customers and stakeholders. This top-down and sideways approach to management essentially helps to dissolve those fragmented silos. Ideally, it shouldn’t just be limited to who manages who but should cover the standardized hiring process, training schedule, and approach to sales and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Ensuring this cohesion is not just documented, but part of the company’s culture adds a critical layer of order and security for staff, especially those in sales.
3. What Metrics are you Measuring?
When it comes to sales performance management, you need to be sure of what is up for analysis. Are you wanting to compare one person’s amount of deals to the number they secured last year? Is your priority to determine how well a product line is performing across a territory? Do you want to pull out the data on how manageable current quotas are? And are you analyzing quarterly performance, annual or weekly? It’s likely you’ll need visibility of all of these and more, which is where the right sales performance management software can provide the metrics and information to build a case for promotion, reward or a strategy rethink that anecdotal evidence or spreadsheets often fail to do. By considering real-time analytics on how one person, one team, or one product is doing, a manager can respond to a situation in a timely fashion. This intervention could be the difference between a failed sales campaign or an effective launch.
4. What’s Your Management Style?
If you’re fairly certain that there’s a skills gap in your team, what’s your approach? Do you chastise and challenge the weaker performers until they are either frightened or fearless? Do you look the other way and hope the issue disappears? Or maybe you chose to use your metrics as a tool for insight and opening for coaching? Rather than reject a sales candidate for a larger quota or new territory, which could lead to them leaving the company, giving them the training opportunities to improve their ‘game’ is likely to incentivize and give them confidence. For example, if one of your team is having their appraisal, sharing performance data and dashboards in a constructive way also gives them insight into how close they are to a bonus or where they may need to concentrate their efforts. Of course, if there is a problem with performance that needs to be addressed in a formal way, the relevant metrics can be used to support this conversation and inform future hiring decisions and processes.
5. What’s your SPM End Game?
Answering this almost brings us back to the start – which is actually a good thing. The output from your sales performance management strategy is ongoing and organic. The metrics and data from one sales cycle provide valuable information on future strategic direction. The number of deals closed per person or team informs compensation structures and pay-outs, and any market or competitor insight shapes expansion plans or reduction tactics for your territories. Accurate analytics and clean data don’t necessarily have to be thrown on the scrapheap at the end of the financial year. Decent SPM software should be a building block to profit. Knowing how to control it ensures these blocks form the solid structure of a towering success.
Find out more about the power of Sales Performance Management software by speaking to your Varicent rep today or by visiting www.varicent.com.