Top-performing sales managers are on top because they are continually finding ways to encourage their team to be more productive.
Constructive feedback is vital to ongoing development. In fact, the 2021 Media Sales Report found that 91% said they want more learning and development opportunities.
Almost every sales organization has various types of sellers. There are the highest performers, who are needed even more after they reach their goals, their average performers that are “make or break,” depending on the month, and the low performers, who are a drag on achievement. There is an important technique that can give you a big boost with all of the above: Feedback.
Feedback for Various Types of Sales Performance
High performing salespeople are all too often left totally alone.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, giving constructive feedback to high performers is more stressful than it is giving it to low performers.
Luckily, feedback sessions don't have to be unpleasant! They can easily turn into an exciting opportunity to celebrate success, discuss what you admire about them, and enable them to do more of it.
Use creativity to put a challenge in front of them and offer an incentive when they achieve it, in addition to praise and recognition. These are your thoroughbreds, and they love to win, get better, and win some more. We should all spend more giving feedback to high performers.
If your seller's performance is hit and miss, clearly tell them what you see in them when they are winning. Help them develop a plan focused on what they do the best.
If you hit on the right evaluation, they will gladly give you more of it. Few people are masters of everything. The average performers can become great just by cutting out the things they aren’t good at doing and focusing on what they do well.
Another interesting statistic from our 2021 Media Sales Report was 21% of sales managers surveyed feel that more than 40% of salespeople are underperforming.
And, although salespeople reported they were given feedback on their talents and feel as though their managers talk to them about their talents often, they still don't feel as though they're valued and supported.
If you're keeping these salespeople on your team, they must have real potential. What is it? Do they know why you hired them? Tell them what you believe their potential is based on what you see in their performance.
What is it that you see in them that makes you value them? Sometimes, people who aren’t achieving will spend more time looking busy than being busy. Healthy feedback can initiate a fresh start to success, but it needs to be based on what they are good at in order to succeed.
Effective Feedback Techniques
Here are some effective feedback techniques to use when you are providing feedback to your sales team:
- It must be frequent to be real.
- Filter your thoughts to their talents and strengths, not their weaknesses.
- Make it functional. You want specific behaviors that make your team successful, so highlight the behaviors that you want more of.
- Keep it positive. You gain a lot more productivity by highlighting the positive attributes that you want more of.
- Is there a big challenge that you need to achieve coming up? Use feedback to provide a jumpstart for important initiatives.
- Make it specific. The more precise the message, the better the feedback works.
- Be consistent. Employees crave consistency. Develop a routine to celebrate behaviors, have private conversations, send an email, or whatever fits you best. Just pick something you can stick to.
- Be sincere. Let’s face it. We can smell hype or fake news in an instant. So can your people. If they sense you don’t believe what you are saying, you could be destructive.
Feedback is a vital source to fueling your team, no matter what type of sales performance they are currently delivering. Don't miss an opportunity to improve your team's sales performance, at any level, with effective feedback by using these techniques.
Editor's Note: this blog was originally published in July 2019 and has since been updated.