One method of measuring salespeople's performance is to analyse a salesperson's conversion rates. This is the number of visits, contacts or phone calls it takes to arrive at one sale to a customer. If, for instance, you calculate that it should take a salesperson 25 approaches per sale you have a good basis on which to gauge their progress. Likewise, if you employ several sales staff you can assess which of them is performing most effectively.
If you establish that sales targets are being missed you should investigate the reasons. You can't just assume that it is because the salesperson is ineffective, although that may be the cause. It might just as easily be caused by one or more of these factors:
- the territory you have given the person to cover is too wide or too difficult
- there is a fundamental problem with the product or service they're selling
- there is a broad slump right across the market
- you are not giving the person the right kind of marketing support
Whatever proves to be the source of the problem, act quickly to remedy it. Where appropriate, let your sales staff know if their sales abilities are not the issue.
From time to time, find out what impressions your salespeople are making. You could try conducting a survey of opinions across the customer base, or on a smaller scale calling individual customers to listen to what they have to say. You might also try accompanying salespeople on their site visits to see for yourself how well they're connecting with customers.
If you decide to call or visit customers, it is a good idea to tell your salespeople that you are doing so and even mention it in their contracts from the beginning. It should be made clear that this feedback is requested for the customers of all your salespeople to avoid them feeling that they are being singled out for attention.