10 Ways to improve sales rep performance

Liam Costello by Liam Costello on September 29, 2020
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Successful sales rep performance is a crucial element for any sales-based business, but achieving it is often easier said than done. Your sales team has to deal with uphill battles including difficulties connecting with prospects, changing customer needs, unpredictable market factors and struggles creating value during client outreach. And while old standbys like sales training and metrics tracking remain staples for improvement, there are some other strategies that can help you better support your sales leaders and improve overall productivity.

Let's take a look at a few ways you can target sales efficiency and effectiveness. Consider these top strategies as you look to enable your team and improve your sales rep performance:

1. Identify your salespeople's top challenges

Before you can go about targeting the key sales performance issues that need to be addressed, you and sales managers need to first understand what's standing in your way.

A recent 2020 study from the sales training firm Richardson surveyed more than 300 quota-based sales professionals and discovered that many dealt with similar challenges. These included creating a competitive differentiator, gaining appointments with prospects and competing against lower-cost providers.

When you pinpoint the critical challenges affecting your team, you can work on incorporating strategies that directly target and help your sales reps overcome these issues.

2. Examine your current sales process

In addition to delving into the problems impacting your sales reps, it's also beneficial to take a look at the current sales process your team uses. There could be simple problems or hang ups hiding in your existing sales process strategy that might be hampering your team from capitalizing on top sales opportunities.

In a separate article, we discuss some of the common struggles with team's sales processes, including:

  • A complete lack of defined process, or the need for additional clarity to better define it.
  • The use of too many tools to support the process.
  • Nonexistent tracking methods for metrics and sales activities.
  • Too much time spent on administrative tasks.
  • A drawn-out onboarding process.

3. Get feedback with a Sales Performance Assessment

A sales performance assessment — like this example from Management Research Group, Inc. — can help you and your sales managers drill down into your most meaningful sales performance strategy and insights. The included scorecard goes over more than 20 sales practices, according to the different roles of your sales reps. Here, your sales managers are able to assign low, mid-rage or high scores to sales reps, based on their performance in the various areas.

For instance, managers are asked to consider and score in areas like preparation, contacting, implementation, sales force drivers and more. And the assessment then provides guidance and analysis based on these unique scores.

Using this exercise, you and your sales team managers will have the necessary guidance needed to make actionable recommendations and improvements.

4. Leverage and regularly review your sales rep scorecard

Where the sales performance assessment will provide insights based on the entire sales team, it can also be incredibly helpful to score sales rep performance individually. This is where a sales rep scorecard comes into play. And while key metrics like the number of sales closed by each rep will surely be measured, this scorecard also delves into other sales performance data, like client acquisitions, upsell opportunities and more.

This article from HubSpot describes the process of creating and using a sales rep scorecard, but it's important to keep in mind that your scorecard will differ from that of your market competitors. In addition, you might also adjust scorecards based on the individual roles, workloads and processes of each of your sales reps. The process should be unique, and will result in personalized feedback for every member of your team.

After all, as the saying goes, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Making improvements individually can go a long way toward supporting team-wide sales performance improvements.

5. Track the right sales KPIs

Similar to your sales rep scorecard, the key performance sales metrics you track will be unique to your business, your sales strategy and the overarching sales process you have in place.

That said, there are some common sales KPIs you should consider tracking. These will provide a look not only into individual sales rep performance, but the ability of your team as a whole:

  • The number of meetings and calls each sales rep takes. Each of these is a key sales opportunity.
  • Average deal size, as well as the opportunity to upsell.
  • Conversion rates, including the point in the sales funnel when conversions occur.
  • Churn rate, as well as the sales rep attached to each lost account.
  • Sales territories metrics, including the number of existing customers and available prospects within each territory.

Individually, these KPIs can offer important insights, and when analyzed together, can help sales managers make data-backed improvements to their sales process.

6. Understand how to measure sales productivity

Speaking of sales metrics, an important one for sales managers to keep an eye on is sales productivity. But this is more than just a measurement of the number of clients each sales rep services, or the amount of each sale.

Our article explains more about measuring sales productivity according to the formula used in Salesforce. Simply put, this metric multiplies the team's sales efficiency by its sales effectiveness, with the goal of not only improving sales productivity and performance, but overall revenues as well.

To break this down further, let's examine some definitions:

  • Sales efficiency refers to the efforts made to streamline the sales process. For example, incorporating a new sales enablement software helps improve the team's sales efficiency. This often translates into the number of sales calls the rep is making in a fixed period of time. When you increase efficiency, your sales rep should be able to make more calls.
  • Sales effectiveness, on the other hand, involves the quality of services that sales reps are able to provide for current customers and prospects. Sales training or coaching (which we'll take a look at a bit later) are great examples of improving sales effectiveness. This can often be measured through things like conversion rates. If you're increasing your sales effectiveness, your sales reps may be closing a higher percentage of opportunities or increasing the average value of their deals.

7. Improve field sales with territory management

One of the best ways to improve the sales effectiveness, sales productivity and overall performance of your sales reps is to ensure that each has equal opportunity through effective sales territories. It's important that sales managers define and map their sales territories, and this is something that can be done relatively quickly and easily through a solution like eSpatial.

territory-optimizer

Territory management isn't just about balancing geographic areas among your sales reps, though. A tool like eSpatial will also allow your sales managers to overlay account and sales lead locations within each territory, providing a visual representation of current customers and prospects. Using this data, eSpatial can automatically align and optimize territories within a few minutes, cutting down of days or weeks of manual work. In this way, you can quickly balance workloads among sales reps and ensure that one rep isn't covering more area or leads than another.

This process is critical to getting the most out of your leads and customers. Think of your sales potential as a pie. If you cut massive slices for a few sales reps, they aren't going to be able to eat it all. Those leftovers are wasted sales potential. Meanwhile, reps with small slices are left hungry — they would gladly have taken that leftover sales potential and turned it into more revenue.

You can also leverage eSpatial to redefine or realign sales territories, based on your own unique sales data. A visual territory map might show that one rep is in a better position to target leads than another, and sales managers can balance and improve their territories accordingly.

8. Use available data to guide sales training

So far, we've looked at several ways to track and examine sales data, including that from your company's own CRM and sales rep performance, as well as the insights that can come from territory mapping. All of this data is beneficial on its own, but sales managers should also analyze these insights as a whole, and leverage them to help guide sales training.

For instance, data from the CRM combined with territory mapping and sales KPIs might show that sales reps are often successful in taking advantage of upsell opportunities, but struggle when it comes to earning the initial meeting with a prospect. Supervisors can then target sales training around these issues and ensure they cultivate the right skills within their sales teams.

9. Go beyond team-wide training with individual sales coaching

Sales training that includes every agent is certainly beneficial, but your sales rep scorecards will likely reveal individual problem areas that need to be addressed. Using this information, sales managers can work with each rep on their unique struggles through sales coaching.

As HubSpot pointed out, sales coaching is something that should take place on a regular basis, and should be personalized according to sales rep performance. It's helpful to engage in hypothetical scenarios and review actual sales calls or meetings to pinpoint best practices or strategies the sales rep can improve on. However, it's important that managers encourage and guide sales reps during coaching, as opposed to simply telling them what to do. Coaching exercises should provide the opportunity for sales reps to practice their skills and enhance their sales capabilities according to their own current weakness areas.

10. Support sales team performance with strategic technology

As we noted above, including too many tools in the sales process can create struggles for your sales reps. However, it's important that reps, as well as sales managers, have access to the types of strategic solutions that can support sales productivity and performance.

Connect with us at eSpatial today to learn more about the kind of solutions that can make a difference for your sales team.


Liam Costello Written by

Liam Costello

Liam is an eSpatial account manager and mapping expert. He specializes in helping businesses solve problems and increase sales through mapping visualization, territory management, route optimization and more. Liam holds a Master's Degree in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing.

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