When thinking about how to gauge sales rep performance and sales team success, the first thing that comes to mind might be measuring results for meeting quotas, hitting sales and revenue targets, improving conversion percentages, etc. Certainly, performance metrics are important. They provide baselines, benchmarks, and key data for process improvement. Unfortunately, most sales organizations stop there. And because they rely so heavily – too heavily – on sales performance data, they miss opportunities to truly take sales success to the next level. So, what’s the difference maker?
The Difference Between Measurement, Assessment, and Evaluation
A common sales adage advises, “You can’t improve what you can’t measure.” Variations on this have been (mis)attributed to sales management and leadership guru Peter Drucker. Regardless of the source, it makes sense…to a point. You certainly need to know where you stand in terms of ongoing results compared to past performance. Identifiable trends can provide critical context to help guide your decisions for refining sales processes.
Again, most sales organizations stop there. They gather the data, make changes big or small, and repeat this cycle quarter after quarter, year after year. What’s missing from this routine? Assessing and evaluating salesperson performance based on their aptitudes, interpersonal and processing skills, and behavioral traits. While these factors might not seem as actionable as hard data, they can be just as critical to improving sales performance and results. The trick lies in knowing what to assess, how to evaluate what you learn, and how to use that information to enhance individual and team performance.
Sales Team Member Skills to Assess
How skilled are your sales team members in their thoughtful approach to the job – and how likely are they to succeed? Assessing and evaluating their communication, interpersonal, and processing skills can give you essential insights. Key skill areas include the following:
Words matter. Vocabulary matters. Word choice matters. Above all, clarity matters. Successful selling depends on being able to clearly communicate with prospects, and skillfully overcoming their objections while positively framing features and benefits of solutions.
Engaged listening and the ability to interpret and quickly process what the prospect or customer is saying is essential. Perhaps the most critical communication skill is being able to turn dialogue into win-win solutions and sales opportunities.
Numerical Skills and Reasoning
The right words are vital, of course, but don’t overlook the ability to parse numbers precisely, quickly, and effectively. Sales always comes down to “the deal” and the deal is ultimately about quantifiable benefits. A sales rep must be able to bring numbers into the conversation in a way that demonstrates return on investment and undeniable value for the buyer.
Sales Team Member Behaviors to Assess
How do your sales team members’ behavioral traits impact their success potential? If you understand that this area encompasses attitudes, social interactions, motivations, and drive, you’ll recognize that behavioral traits can make or break success at the individual, team, and company levels.
Key behavioral traits include the following:
Pace or Drive
The successful sales rep should be a self-starter, capable of balancing multiple prospects at various stages in the pipeline. A sense of urgency is vital to success.
Assertiveness, Outlook, Decisiveness, and Judgment
Sales reps cannot succeed if tentative or timid in their approach. They must believe in what they represent and demonstrate confidence in their approach. They must also be intuitive, possessing a keen sense about problems and challenges, as well as appropriate solutions. The high-performing sales rep can act quickly and take appropriate, measured risks to close the deal.
Sociability and Accommodation
Successful sales reps are energized by interactions with prospects, customers, and their peers. They also care about and accommodate the needs of others, going the “extra mile” to make things easier for the prospect or customer.
Conformity vs. Independence
Valuable contributors to the sales team work well independently, with little need for focused direction or guidance; they also work within established systems and the organization’s policy structure.
The Bottom Line:
Next-level sales success demands looking beyond sales performance data. It demands assessing and evaluating the sales rep’s processing skills and behavioral traits. Above all, it demands using all of this information to alter the status quo, improve sales processes, and turn attitudes and aptitudes into powerful sales abilities – via training, coaching, motivation, and challenging goals.
Click here for a sales skills assessment form to help better evaluate your sales team’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. To learn more about how to turn these findings into actionable sales process refinements and sustainable sales growth, contact us at (844) 874-7253 or click here to connect with a Sales Leadership Consultant today.