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How To Assess Your Sales Organization


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Having amassed 30+ years in a sales leadership role and having gone through many management succession processes I have learned effective ways of evaluating sales performance.
Assessing the performance, competencies, and skill sets of your sales staff can be a daunting task for any VP of Sales or Sales Director. In this presentation I’ll attempt to tackle ways to effectively and FAIRLY evaluate your sales team, and ensure morale, development, and support are priorities in the process.

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How To Assess Your Sales Organization

  1. 1. How To Assess Your Sales Organization By Andre’ Harrell AH2 & Beyond Consulting
  2. 2. Having amassed 30+ years in a sales leadership role and having gone through many management succession processes I have learned effective ways of evaluating sales performance. Assessing the performance, competencies, and skill sets of your sales staff can be a daunting task for any VP of Sales or Sales Director. In this presentation I’ll attempt to tackle ways to effectively and FAIRLY evaluate your sales team, and ensure morale, development, and support are priorities in the process. Overview
  3. 3. Understanding the tenure of your sales personnel should be first observation while seeming to be a “no-brainer” it’s often neglected by sales leadership when evaluating talent. Below is an example of “Field Experience – Representatives” in a Region 0-6 MONTHS 18% 6-12 MONTHS 9% 12-24 MONTHS 18% 24+ MONTHS 55% Assessing Your Sales Team
  4. 4. CAUCASIAN 73% AFRICAN- AMERICAN 18% ASIAN 9% MALE 64% FEMALE 36% GENDER RACE I’ve always felt having a clear understanding of the gender and diversity makeup of your sales organization goes a long way of determining the best way to assess your sales personnel. This will ensure there’s no bias or preferential treatment during the assessment process and that everyone is treated fairly. Below is an example of “Demographics – Representatives” in the Nation Assessing Your Sales Team
  5. 5. Assessing Your Sales Team Below Are Critical Steps In The Process • Take “Introductory Inventory” of the current performance of the team, call it “Internal Analysis” • Develop a schedule where you can have Face-To-Face time with your sales team members or sales directors. Whether in “The Field” or office face to face time critical during the assessment process. • Develop your “Strategies”/“Business Goals” as it relates to assessing your sales organizations performance. What are you trying to achieve from a business performance perspective? • Develop incremental resources to help in the assessment process (e.g. HR, Talent Management, Training, FCR’s etc). • Develop a “Sales Force Effectiveness Study” to help with the assessment process. • Develop tracking tools (e.g. 9-Box Grid Development Tool or “Culture/Performance Tool”)
  6. 6. Key Conditions Implications • Sales Representatives/District Manager/Directors product knowledge needs improvement. •With our “Brand” customers we fail to be a reliable credible resource without exceptional product knowledge. •Account Representatives need further “Business Acumen” skills. •Giving away resources without expecting or receiving R.O.I will be unacceptable. Our customers are becoming more business savvy if we cannot adjust…we will not succeed. •Sales Directors becoming to distracted with issues out of their control. •If our focus is on everything but moving share with Product X we will not reach our company objective with Product X (1.25 Billion). •Account Representatives becoming more comfortable holding their customers accountable. •Customers are ceasing their “smoke screen” objections, and are starting to submit to using more Product X. •Maintaining retention and creating a positive national sales environment. •Vacancy of our top performers will not help us reach or company forecast goal. Summary Statement: If our sales directors, sales reps can avoid becoming distracted, and maintain a positive attitude we will reach our company forecast with Product X (1.25 Billion). As a sales organization we can finally reach #1 market share with our leading product. Strengths: The Nation is fairly tenured and has solid leadership. Weaknesses: Account Representatives are apprehensive of their future. Internal Analysis-Example
  7. 7. Tactics Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Account Business Plans 2/18 Revise Revise Revise Career Development Plans 2/18 5/18 8/18 10/18 Assessment Allocation (Financial) 60% Re-evaluate 30% Re-evaluate District Promotions 2 Talent Mgmt Interviewing 2/18 5/18 9/18 Winter Break Competency Review Conference Call 2/18 5/18 8/18 ------ Sales Results Performance Reviews 2/18 Ongoing Ongoing Ongoing Sales Management Performance Reviews 2/18 4/18 7/18 11/18 Management CRM Review 2/18 6/18 ----- ------ Quicken New Account Rep Progress 2/18 4/18 6/18 ------- Track Personal Development Plan 2/18 4/18 7/18 10/18 Insert Retention Tactics to “A” & “B” players 2/18 4/18 7/18 10/18 Tactical Planning Assessment Calendar-Example
  8. 8. Ensure 100% compliance of all Assessment Initiatives. •Tactic: Increased Sales Dr. involvement with nation objectives. DM/Rep ? •Tactic: Keep current on all account representative improvement DM/Rep Spreadsheet •Tactic: Increase competency messages & objectives DM/Rep Sales Dir. Develop an on-going Recruiting & Selection Process that hires in < 30 days. •Tactic: Continue developing a pool of representatives for each territory. DM Work-session •Tactic: Participate with local universities career planning program. DM Marshall/UC •Tactic: Focus on keeping diversity candidate pool of candidates. DM Recruiting Rot. Update Sales Personnel Career Development Plans annually. •Tactic: Follow up with plans every work-session DM/Rep Debrief. •Tactic: Keep on track with Career Path participation DM/Rep Update •Tactic: Hold sales personnel accountable for own development DM/Rep Work-session. Personnel Indicators Strategies, Objectives & Tactics-Example
  9. 9. Strategy Tactic Progress / Results Actual Build an “acumen “ understanding of direct reports  Meet individually with each direct report to discuss their career goals and identify skills they need to achieve goals. “Connection Session”  Keep a running list of what’s important to my folks, update and review every quarter.  Listen thoroughly to your reports interests, opinions, concerns and goals. This is the “blueprint” of your people Demonstrate consistency in your words and actions as the leader  Be predictable by letting your team know what to expect from you  Lead by example and inspect what you expect from your people.  Treat everyone on your team with RESPECT, and demand it in return. Be fair but stern  Treat everyone with respect and demand excellence of performance  Everyone will be evaluated based on their performance and competency. Strategies, Objectives & Tactics-Example
  10. 10. Strategy Tactic Progress / Results Actual Ensure that “Development” is a focus on every work-session  Each direct report will have a career development plan to review and update. A development discussion will take place on work- session.  Development plans will be officially review quarterly  A tracking system will be put in place to keep up with employees destined for additional responsibility. Ensure Development options for “ready now employees”  Stretch assignments will be provided for those who have demonstrated performance and an interest to gain further development.  Team experts will be assigned based on team needs.  Track promotion opportunities for each direct report. Track and Sustain Progress  Refer to above strategy/tactic. Strategies, Objectives & Tactics-Example
  11. 11. Strategy Tactic Progress / Results Actual Ensure the team remains focus on executing our sales objectives/goals.  Each team member will be held accountable to execute results in their given responsibility (through status reports, sales results, and development plan).  Each work-session will begin with the review of prior actions plans that were completed to ensure follow through.  Sales Director will take advantage of “coachable” moments” (e.g. times when teammates experience success, disappointment or trying a skill for the first time). Ensure feedback is consistent and has high impact  Field Conference Reports will always address what was observed the day of the work-session.  Identify opportunities for teammates to apply their developed skills many times, in many places, and in many ways.  Review work-session feedback report with team member to ensure alignment and agreement on how success can be gained moving forward. Strategies, Objectives & Tactics-Example
  12. 12. • Develop “Competent”, “Exceptional” sales personnel who achieve sales results ethically and consistently throughout the calendar year. • Focus on Recruiting & Selection process that will hire quality candidates and reduce vacancy days (<30 days). • Prevent retention issues. Be extremely attentive to “A” & “B” players. • Develop actionable career development plans that will develop, and retain our richest talent. • Successfully grow Product X share and Product A share ahead of global competition. • Exceed company standard for call plan execution and productivity • Develop Local Product Champions. Business Goals-Example
  13. 13. Strategy Tactic Progress / Results Actual Be a powerful role model for development  Complete quarterly a 360 Feedback review from your team on your performance.  Obtain a career/development coach.  Build a competency model for the sales team if there is not one in place.  Ask team members what kind of feedback and support they would like from you  Recognize development efforts, and not just results only. Align organizational polices and processes with coaching and development  Stay alert to company updates, and insights for tips that could help teammates through the development process.  Emphasize development in the business planning and performance-management practices.  Identify readings, training programs etc to help supplement the person’s development and ways to help them apply training to current job. Strategies, Objectives & Tactics-Example
  14. 14. Resources Needed Rationale Expected Results •Human Resources Department/Talent Management. •Management Development programs that provide training on providing effective feedback Experts in identifying talent/help develop competency structure Development of leadership staff Credible Resource •Sales Training Function (Product Knowledge/Selling Skills Assessment) •CRM, Oracle, Siebel based programs that can help provide metrics •Written Feedback Training (Assessing Performance from written dynamic) •Developing a thorough HR Review process (Develop Stakeholders) Better prepared reps Analytical metrics that can take out subjective thought process Long distance assessment is only effective if it’s written properly This will ensure fairness and avoid subjectivity Improved competencies Clear performance picture Fair evaluation, Fair Compensation, Competent Sales Force Incremental Assessment Resources-Example
  15. 15. Impact of Poorly Prepared & Presented Reviews Impact of Well Prepared & Presented Reviews Quality of Communication  Limited, defensive  Open, honest, ongoing Performance  Unclear expectations  Focused execution Organizational Synergy  Performance “silos”  Aligned priorities Performance Documentation  Conflict, legal risks  Written record, evidence Employee Development  Stagnated skills sets  Prepared for the future Employee Accountability  The “blame game”  Ownership of results Employee Motivation  Feeling under-valued  Feeling valued, driven Ongoing Supervision  Hands-on supervision  Empowerment, initiative Turnover  Risk of resignation  Retention of the best Other? Performance Review Outcomes
  16. 16. Manager’s Role  Communicate regularly with employees about performance  Maintain specific performance records and data  Write a thorough, fair, honest, performance review  Give specific, positive, and constructive feedback  Consider the employee’s development interests and career goals  Encourage participation in the discussion  Collaborate on meaningful development & performance goals  Validate the review with the next-level manager  Be confident in the rating  Provide needed direction or support Collaborative Performance Management
  17. 17. Employee’s Role  Communicate regularly with manager about performance  Maintain specific performance records and data  Write a thorough, fair, honest, self-assessment  Be open to specific, positive, and constructive feedback  Share development interests and career goals  Contribute appropriately in the discussion  Collaborate on meaningful development and performance goals  Be accountable for performance  Communicate challenges; ask for needed direction or support Collaborative Performance Management
  18. 18. Managers Must:  Document all performance discussions  Show an attempt to help the employee improve  Document consistent or progressively poor performance  Evaluate employees in a timely manner  Focus on job related behaviors  Sign and date the review and ensure the employee does too  Set specific goals with time frames Legal Responsibility
  19. 19. 2 Examples Of Tracking Tools (9-Box Development Tools/Culture/Performance Tool)
  20. 20. Leadership Potential New Performers Patrick Paul Diane C3 Poor Performers Roger Susan C1 Kevin High Med Low Low Medium B3 Solid Performers B2 Tony Kim B1 Performance meets or exceeds job standards; has the potential to move up two or more organizational levels. A2 Top Performers Highest levels of performance and potential. Exceptional organizational assets. A3 Mark Ryan Superior Professionals Continuously high performance; significant value to the organization. Has the potential to accept expanded responsibility, but is not interested in upward mobility. A1 High C2 9-Box Grid Planning Tool
  21. 21. CULTURE PERFORMANCE KEY CONTRIBUTORSYELLOW LINERS RED LINERS YELLOW LINERS Personnel Assessment Based On Competencies People Development (Training Strategy)
  22. 22. Lastly, a skill that is often most ignored during the assessment process is LISTENING. As head of sales listening is a critical skill when assessing sales performance yet it’s an attribute that’s often avoided because subjectivity takes hold. Having all of the metrics, training, and leadership that’s been outlined in this presentation does not take away the importance of listening to your people. When done well listening not only helps you learn more about assessing your sales personnel’s performance but it provides a SINCERE non-verbal that’s not only accepted by the recipient but rewarded by the recipient’s performance. Andre’ Harrell Final
  23. 23. Contact us for our services at: Andre’ Harrell AH2 & Beyond Consulting 267-221-8529