Many managers can be hesitant to provide their employees with feedback mainly because it is confronting, but also because images of emotional breakdowns and temper tantrums come to mind. This is where constructive feedback comes to the rescue. If implemented effectively, you can reduce the drama, and instead have an insightful conversation that leads to improved performance. This can be not only about their performance but possible improvement strategies.
How? Here are a few tips our Managing Director, Daniel Hale, suggests.
1 – Identify the problem behaviour and give examples:
A bad run in a sales team is detrimental. Not only because there are no numbers on the board, but it can also reduce team morale. This is where being able to spot the specific issues affecting this issue is vital. In pinpointing the problem, (whether it is objection handling or closing), you will be able to provide accurate feedback to discuss with your rep. Dan loves to say, “Lets catch up to discuss your progress”. This allows for a friendly opening to the conversation regarding their performance, and removes the possibility of them walking into the chat with negative pre-conceptions. You need to also give specific examples of this and what could have been said / done differently and what the outcome will be if a change is made.
2 – Nip it in the butt early:
The market is competitive and it is too risky to allow for underperforming sales rep. Dan suggests that having facts and statistical evidence can really drive your point home. According to the TAS Group[i] 67% of sales professionals do not attain individual quotas. This can be damaging for the overall output for the sales team and in generating revenue for the company. It’s important to act quickly and decisively before the issue snowballs.
3 – Employee input:
This is one of the most vital aspects for a successful outcome. Your sales rep is only human (surprise)! So the reason for the dip in their performance may be for personal reasons. By bringing these to the table it enables your sales rep to accept the issue, which is vital in ensuring a change in behaviour. Not to mention that understanding the reasons for their difficulties, can help with finding a solution.
4 – Develop goals:
As a manager, your aim is to help grow your sales rep’s performance. By working together to find a goal, they are more likely to implement this new approach. This is in an aim to increase conversions, so it could even be as simple as doubling the amount of time spent on lead gen.
5 – Monitor their performance:
The last step is two-fold. Firstly by sending an email right after the catch-up, will reinforce everything you discussed and have the goals clearly stated. Secondly, set a follow-up meeting. It is preferable to do this a week or two after to check-in to see how they are going with applying the strategies. It will be a lot easier to see the benefits and results if you regularly track their output.
Overall, Dan suggests not chastising your sales rep, as that will break their confidence. The goal is to cater to their personal development by talking about the future, and strategies to better the situation. Typically the buck stops with the manager.
So why not implement these easy tips to ensure for a high performing sales team?
Until next time…
[i] Ye. L 2015, “10 Surprising stats about sales rep performance”, Hubspot, viewed https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/surprising-stats-about-sales-rep-performance-slideshare#sm.00000y9faaczujey411fbcaquow5h