Sales Performance Improvement programs should be constructed in a way to better manage and channel the sales team to deliver higher levels of sales performance. In fact sales teams that go through a sales performance improvement program outperform sales teams in companies that don’t.
What is Sales Performance Improvement?
Sales Performance Improvement or SPI forms part of the business sales strategy to guide sales people in improving their ability to sell. It focuses on educating and motivating the sales team to take ownership of their own goals, and to achieve these goals by following a set of sales effectiveness guidelines. Sales Performance Improvement should not be confused with sales training or incentives. Sales training and incentives that drive the correct sales behaviors and outcomes are important, but they are only a component of a complete SPI system.
A well planned out Sales Performance Improvement program starts at the top with the overall sales strategy. It will be implemented and executed by the whole sales organisation plus it has to incorporate a feedback loop that drives full utilization.
Below, we have listed some of the key steps to building a Sales Performance Improvement program.
Begin with the Sales Strategy.
Sales Performance Improvement begins with the modern buyer-focused sales strategy which should include the buyer’s journey, profiles, go-to-market strategy, value proposition, and a list of the sales assets, tools, processes, and the training necessary to execute the strategy.
Next, sales leadership, management and other stakeholders need to agree on where the sales organisation stands today, and where they need to be in the future to deliver on sales growth in a fast-changing sales environment.
Lay the Foundations and Structure
Laying the right foundations around the sales process, playbook, tools et. together with a well-defined sales structure will enable the implementation of a successful Sales Performance Improvement plan.
Measure the Right Metrics and KPI’s
Measuring the right metrics and KPI’s are central to the success of Sales Performance Improvement. When the sales strategy, foundations and structures are in place, the business can measure the key sales behaviors, habits, activities, skills, and results. Sales leadership can then analyse the information or data to identify which areas are having the biggest impact on the sales team’s performance.
A point to note here is to try and focus on the high impact sales activities and on the sales process measurement, so sales management or coaches can intervene with suggested actions to correct activities for improved outcomes.
Provide Good Sales Leadership and Management
Once the agreed metrics and KPI’s are in place, the sales managers and coaches can now provide better coaching and management into individual sales person performance. The benefits of a formal sales process are that it makes it easier for sales leadership to identify at which sales stage does a sales person require support and then help them with the relevant key sales skills training and coaching.
Deliver Feedback Loops for SPI Optimization
The various key metrics and KPI’s included in the Sales Performance Improvement program should provide all stakeholders and management with a clear view of what is working and any challenges that may be holding up progress. Using this insight, the business can optimise any areas to improve the stages within the sales process and put in place incentives to reward the desired sales activities, behaviors and habits.
Benefits of a Sales Performance Improvement Plan
The outcomes of putting in place a Sales Performance Improvement plan include:
Sales Pipeline Growth. As the sales people improve their sales skills and align their activities with the sales strategy and process, the growth and quality of the sales pipeline will reflect the improvements.
More Qualified Sales Leads. Similar to the factors that will improve the sales pipeline, they will also impact the quality of the lead’s in play.
Improved Sales Insights. The right sales strategy together with the right tools will make it possible to highlight key leading and lagging metrics and KPI’s, and then track them continuously.
Higher ROI on Sales Training. Aligning the whole sales engine to the sales strategy and process allows for better allocation of skills and sales training resources which optimizes the support for the sales teams.
Undertaking a Sales Performance Improvement plan requires some change management, planning, resource and budget allocation plus company wide commitment. At the end is a sales team ready to power your business to the next level of growth.