Holding Sales Reps Accountable Through Training
According to CSO Insights, a firm that tracks sales performance, just 54.6% of sales reps in the US meet their targets each year. This is partly because accountability is not clearly defined and established, and behaviors and outcomes are not frequently monitored. CSO Insights also found that companies that implement a formal sales plan for their sales teams to follow see 60% of salespeople meeting targets, an improvement of over 5%. Regular monitoring can push that figure up to 72%.
Defining accountability and following up regularly are critical for companies looking to improve their success rate. You need to specify definite daily and weekly targets for each rep to work towards rather than send out a generic “We fell short of last month’s target by 48%. We absolutely need to improve our game this month,” email, which doesn’t specify your expectations.
Communicate your expectations in clear terms. Just telling a rep he needs to work harder doesn’t indicate to him precisely what he must achieve and is not of much help. It’s essential to specify behaviors and results. It’s much easier for salespeople when they know exactly what they’re expected to achieve and how you want them to go about it.
You need to ascertain what your team is capable of achieving. Only then can you set realistic targets. Knowing who among your team members frequently exceed targets, who consistently meet targets and who keep falling short of targets is essential.
Defining performance metrics is necessary for evaluation. Metrics for a sales team would include appointment requests, meetings fixed, meetings held weekly and monthly, deals concluded and deal value, to name some. Once you know what you’re going to measure, you need to assess each rep’s baseline competencies.
Using training to evaluate baseline abilities
Using online learning software to train and assess your reps is an effective method of measuring their starting skills. This gives you a fair idea of how skilled each rep is and helps you identify those who need more training. Knowing how prepared your team is enables you to plan their training and development.
Benefits of using online training software:
Modular online sessions
Short training modules that reps can access online enable them to learn and practice at a pace that suits them. You’ll find that a higher number of reps complete courses when they’re required to work with small amounts of information at a time and have the flexibility to learn when and where suitable.
Customized course content
Instead of stuffing your reps with superfluous information, give them just what they need to know. Many online training applications enable you to tailor your courses to include only necessary information so that reps are able to provide prospects with specific and accurate product and service information. If you have known top performing sales people in your organization, videotaping their pitches and incorporating the video can be extremely helpful to new sales people.
Utilize assessments to obtain baseline knowledge at the onset and then evaluate each rep’s progress through a test that you can insert at the end of each online course. This enables you to keep track of their progress on an ongoing basis.
Pitch recording and feedback
This enables a rep to record his pitch and view it later in order to get accurate feedback about his shortcomings. Viewing a recording of an actual sales pitch helps the sales manager identify areas that need improvement and guide the rep accordingly.
Friendly competition during training
Incorporating competitive game elements in your training plan fosters healthy competition between team members and gives you an idea of who stands where.
Data mining and analysis
Analysis of training performance data will help you set realistic sales targets for each rep and hold them accountable to those figures. Of course, predicting and evaluating sales performance precisely is possible only if data is accurate. You need to make certain that there are guidelines and checks in place to ensure accuracy. Inaccurate data can result in flawed forecasts.
A sales manager must always be aware of each rep’s skill level and fix responsibility accordingly. Letting underperforming reps be discourages the achievers in your team and weakens your sales organization. Every rep is accountable to his company and it’s every sales leader’s responsibility to implement an ongoing coaching plan to establish accountability and improve performance, thereby boosting business and consolidating the organization.