Based on an earlier post featuring best practices to help sales reps get back above quota, we had a lively discussion on the topic at the American Association for Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) Seattle chapter meeting earlier this month. Below are eight more best practices that came out of that meeting.
Create a friendly (but spirited) competition between reps
Salespeople are competitive by nature. They want to win. Put them into a friendly competition against each other for daily, weekly or monthly sales activity. One of my favorite times to do this is March, when a March Madness-style tournament can really get the competitive juices flowing.
Make sure your comp plan requires consistent performance
Does your commission plan make it easy for reps to coast after a solid month? How could you restructure the plan to ensure consistent performance is rewarded? For example, can reps sustain some kind of commission multiplier if they stay above quota month after month?
Check for personal issues
Tread lightly here, but oftentimes sales performance has nothing to do with the market, their pipelines, or even their sales skills. Sometimes your rep may be distracted by something well outside of the office. This can be complicated to uncover and even more difficult to address. But simply isolating an outside variable as a cause for poor performance can be a good starting point.
Create a longer-period contest contingent on quota hitting
Most sales contests are contained within a specific selling period (week, month or quarter), but there’s no reason you can’t have a bigger prize contingent on maintaining or exceeding quota for multiple selling periods. Make the prize commensurate with the performance to keep your reps motivated and focused.
Go back to basics (Attitude, Focus, Activity & Skills)
Josh Hartnett from Datasphere talks often about the four basics of sales performance (especially for inside sales): Attitude, Focus, Activity and Skills. When his reps show declining numbers, he focuses on these specific and fundamental skills and often finds at least a couple things that can adjusted to get the rep back on track.
Watch the video tape (be like Pujols)
Earlier this baseball season, baseball’s best player wasn’t hitting very well. He wasn’t sure why. To help get himself back on track, Albert Pujols watched videotape of himself when he was on a hitting streak the previous season. By watching tape of himself during a period of peak performance, he was able to identify a couple technical issues with his current swing. After a couple days, he was back on track. This works for sales professionals too. Create and keep recordings of some of your reps’ best work, and play them again when they’re underperforming to rediscover what works.
Put them on a plan
A performance plan doesn’t mean a rep is about to lose his or her job. It simply means their recent performance is sub-standard, and outlines specific steps the rep is expected to take to get back on track. Use this step wisely with reps who need a little extra motivation, or need to know you’re very serious about getting their numbers back above quota.
Did you add too much process?
If multiple reps across your team record declining performance at the same time, look for systematic reasons. If you implemented a new CRM system, for example, there may be a learning curve that takes away valuable selling time. Look for other process or bureaucratic symptoms that may be taking reps away from critical selling activities.