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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Effective Feedback is Key to Developing an Elite Sales Organization

Effective Feedback is Key to Developing an Elite Sales Organization

Great sales managers truly want to grow and develop the salespeople that report directly to them. And, we’re not just talking about the new hires to the organization. We’re talking about all the salespeople they are responsible for.

At our Talent Focused Management workshop a workshop that sales managers who are clients of The Center for Sales Strategy attend we highlight a famous quote from Peter Drucker:

“It is the people who determine the performance capacity of the organization.”

The best investment a sales organization can make is to commit to grow and develop its people. The great news is that salespeople want to learn and develop. In fact, the 2019 Media Sales Report found that 95% of salespeople said that learning and development are important to them. One of the best ways to grow and develop your salespeople is through the effective use of feedback.

Feedback on Performance and Feedback on Behaviors

2021 Media Sales Report - download nowSales managers have the opportunity to give feedback all the time, and often that feedback is either on performance or behavior. In reality, the feedback that is given most often is on the salesperson’s performance. The reason for this is quite simple:

  • Most organizations have clear performance metrics in place
  • They have software that tracks it
  • Compensation that rewards it
  • Reports that are generated to share it

With that structure in place, it’s no wonder sales managers do a good job with giving that sort of feedback. Giving feedback on performance is smart to do but, good salespeople already know most of this information. 

In most organizations, the salespeople have access to the exact same software and see the same reports. They know exactly where they are towards their key performance indicators. 

The feedback that will make the biggest impact on growing and developing salespeople is the feedback the sales managers gives on behaviors. To do this requires that the sales manager see the salesperson in the field (or on the phone, or a shared screen) actually selling. 

And, not just at making the presentation and closing the deal, but rather at all stages of the sales process from prospecting, to appointment setting, to the discovery meeting and so on actually going in the field and seeing the salesperson doing the work is the very best way to be able to give quality feedback and feedback that will help them to grow. 

Why Sales Managers Go In The Field With Salespeople

When a sales manager goes in the field with a salesperson, it’s sometimes because they’re there to co-sell, and sometimes to say thank you to a good customer, also there are times a sales manager is needed on a call because there have been issues or difficulties and the sales manager is there to smooth things over.

While all those reasons are valid, what we are focused on here is when the sales manager is there to be the coach.  Find time to go in the field with your salespeople and give them the coaching they need.

Remember 5-to-1

When you do get the opportunity to go in field with your salesperson, remember this you want to give 5 positives to every 1 criticism.

Your goal is to grow and develop your salesperson, and to do that, you want to ensure that during your time in the field with them when you have the chance to really observe them in action and take notes of all the things they do well. Don’t be vague with your observations; in fact, the more specific you can be the better. Letting someone know what they do well feels great to the person receiving the feedback and will reinforce to them what they should do. 

This method also gives you the opportunity to share with them the 1 or 2 things you think they could improve. After they hear all your observations and they realize that you’re there to help them to improve, they will take your guidance and start to improve. 

An elite sales organization is one that drives higher win rates, larger deal sizes, higher margins, and predictable revenue. Effective feedback on behavior is one of the keys to growing and developing an elite sales organization.

Talent Insight

Topics: talent focused management feedback