Categories Articles, Sales and Marketing

As you might’ve heard, we’re pretty big into sales metrics, tracking and analyzing that information to make better data-driven sales management decisions. A big part of that metrics-based mindset centers around evaluating reps: how many opportunities did your prospecting reps source? How many deals did your closing reps win? How efficient were they with their activities? These are the types of questions that sales managers ask, and the type they can easily find answers for in their sales metrics.

However, data aside, how else should you evaluate your sales reps?

“Measuring” reps on qualitative standards is, naturally, never going to be as clear-cut as finding exact answers in sales metrics. However, just as intangibles like teamwork and chemistry matter in professional sports, so to do qualitative judgments matter in sales.

Here are 3 lenses with which to qualitatively evaluate your sales reps through.

Personal efforts

Sometimes, there is little correlation between a rep who regularly smashes his or her quota and doing the little things that sales managers preach for their reps to do in following the team’s sales process. Hitting the quarterly goal is important, but so is adhering to the sales process. Some of the personal efforts that managers should monitor and evaluate their reps for include:

  • Time management – How does the rep spend his or her time when not on the phone? Some reps use their downtime to goof around or surf the internet looking for cat memes; others might talk to managers about trying new approaches, organize their upcoming to-do’s or read a chapter or two in that newest sales book.

  • Planning and preparation before calls – Failing to plan really is planning to fail when it comes to making sales calls. The best reps put in a lot of research effort into knowing as much as possible about the prospect before they dial those digits. Others have a more laissez-faire approach, letting their “natural selling skills” do the work for them. Implement a mindset of “Results happen when opportunity meets preparation” among your reps.

  • Sales presentations – The online sales presentation has become a crucial aspect in today’s Sales 2.0 world. It is imperative that your reps are delivering captivating and valuable online presentations. Observe presentations to see if your reps are just going through the motions and reading from a canned script or putting real effort into delivering high-quality sales presentations.

  • Learning new skills – The best reps never rest on their laurels. They know that the minute complacency sets, they will slowly but surely lose their standing as a top rep. That’s why they always stay sharp by learning new skills and honing old ones. Make note of which of your reps go out of their way to learn new skills.

Knowledge

Even if every little part of the sales process is followed to a tee, effort doesn’t necessarily equate to skill or knowledge. Sales isn’t grade-school soccer; you don’t get rewarded just for trying your best and playing hard. Results matter too. And while there is no assessment like an IQ test or a MENSA examination, you need to make sure your reps have strong knowledge around:

  • Product – Do they know your product inside and out? Can they answer any question – both from customers or internally – about your product? When new features are added or introduced, do they make the effort to learn about these new tools?

  • Company policies and processes – Are they able to help assimilate new employees by asking any questions they might have about the company? Do they know and adhere to all aspects of the sales process, even nuanced minutiae?

  • Competitors – A big part of selling is winning and communicating your value propositions against those of your competitors. This means that your reps must be fully aware of your competitors, their products and their perception in the industry at all times. Only by knowing your enemy can you know how to combat them.

  • Customers – Finally, your sales reps need to know all about your past and existing customers so that they can communicate relevant experiences to potential future customers. The best reps can share specific ROI details about specific customers that help close the deal.

Personality and attitude

Even among subjective qualitative measures, personality and attitude are especially difficult to measure. There are a lot of unique and intangible factors that come into play here. However, a good place to start is by asking yourself these questions about the rep in question:

  • Does this rep get along well with the rest of the team? This doesn’t just mean hanging out for a few beers and laughs on Friday afternoon. Observe to see how helpful this rep is, how many inside jokes they can share with the rest of their team, and how willing they are to go out of their way to pick up a struggling rep. Teamwork is a critical part of sales success, so you don’t want a team full of lone wolves.

  • Is the rep willing to accept responsibility when things don’t work out? Nobody wants to point fingers or name names; however, when things go awry, a rep who steps up and is willing to admit culpability when they did in fact screw up is a strong sign of character.

  • How resourceful is the rep? Is the rep very dependent and always asking questions, even about the littlest things? Or are they able to dig around and solve problems on their own volition?

There will never be a definitive and fool-proof way to measure a sales rep on qualitative measures, to go along with the quantitative soundness of your sales metrics. Yet, intangibles play a critical role in a sales force’s success as well. Ask yourself – and your reps – the aforementioned tough questions through these three qualitative lenses to get a better sense of how your reps are doing overall.

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