In this rapidly changing sales environment, there is often a stark disconnect between what management sees or does and what reps want and need.
While sales productivity is a key revenue driver, higher activity volume doesn’t always mean that key metrics like close rate or average selling price go up.
Without regularly reviewing productivity, time management, and communication skills, there’s no tangible way for a manager to monitor and improve sales success.
In this article, you can expect:
Sales Performance Review Ratings
Performance reviews are personal experiences, and the feedback you give should accurately reflect the performance of each rep you’re reviewing. If you have a large team, it can be easy to slip into providing similar feedback to each person.
Here are a few phrases you can use as a starting point when forming your feedback. They’re broken down by the following performance review ratings:
- Does not meet expectations
- Needs improvement
- Meets expectations
- Occasionally exceeds expectations
- Consistently exceeds expectations
Performance Review Phrases
These phrases help managers support a numerical score with explanations of what the rep is doing well and what they can improve.
1. Does Not Meet Expectations
Does the rep struggle to fill their pipeline and make sales? Do they make excuses for their poor performance?
If the rep isn’t meeting the expectations of their role, use these phrases to communicate why they’re receiving a rating of “Does not meet expectations.”
- Doesn’t understand the core product offerings of [X company]
- Conducts little to no research on a prospect before a call
- Provides limited data/information in the CRM
- Unwilling to improve their presentation skills
2. Needs Improvement
A rep might be close to meeting expectations but still has some aspects of their job that they need to work on. Maybe they’re a new rep who’s close to hitting their quota but is just shy each month. Or they’re a more tenured rep who’s struggling to apply a new sales approach to their workflow.
Clearly identifying these areas for improvement in the performance review will provide points to work on during any coaching or training after the performance review.
- Struggles to overcome objections
- Lacks confidence when negotiating
- Relies too heavily on discounts, resulting in lower margins
- Prospecting and presentation skills are improving, but they rarely hit their monthly quota
3. Meets Expectations
This employee checks all the boxes and they consistently perform at or above the expected performance level. They consistently hit their quota each month.
Here are some positive phrases you can use to let them know they’re doing an excellent job.
- Sets reasonable goals and hits those goals each month
- Takes extra care to fully understand the prospect’s challenges and priorities, and provides them with a holistic solution
- Consistently meets their quota
- Enters prospect and deal information into the CRM in a timely manner, and includes thorough notes so the deal’s status is clear to the team and management
4. Occasionally Exceeds Expectations
A rep might be exceeding quota more and more often but falls short of your top performers and does not yet have confidence to be a leader on the team. This individual has a lot of potential and needs some coaching to perform even better:
- Was X% above the target [X period, quarter]
- Exceeded quota X out of X sales [X%]
- Demonstrates initiative and is eager to learn and apply new sales techniques
5. Consistently Exceeds Expectations
Reps who exceed expectations are those that go above and beyond the requirements of their day-to-day role. They might take on additional projects, train other reps, or tackle their team’s reporting.
If your rep is consistently exceeding expectations, provide clear feedback so they know they’re doing outstanding work.
- Introduced a new approach for pipeline management that was X% more effective than the previous process
- Goes above and beyond to handle objections and provide value each call
- Is a leader on the team and helps fellow sales reps with call shadowing and feedback sessions
- Consistently exceeds their quota, and was X% above the target in [X period, quarter]
Performance Evaluation Template
HubSpot and InsideSales.com have created this quarterly sales rep review and coaching template to help managers measure and coach their inside sales reps to consistently improve performance each quarter.
The template includes:
- A template for manager review and rep self-review
- The key activities/skills of top sales reps
- A template to monitor areas of focus for the next review
Grab your copy of this template and start coaching your reps towards higher output and revenue for your business today.
Self-Assessment Example for a Salesperson
You should also consider having each sales rep write up a self-assessment. Doing so allows the rep to reflect on their performance in their own words, giving you insight into how they think about their role, their place on the team, and their accomplishments/challenges. You might also look to see how aligned your perspectives are with those of the rep, which could clue you in to your alignment in a broader sense.
A good self-assessment includes:
- Specific examples of accomplishments and contributions to the team
- Performance outlined in concrete numbers
- An explanation of the “why” they performed the way they did
- Details on how they see themselves growing
These items will indicate how conscientious the rep is of their performance and whether their approach is working. It will also give you context around how to coach them toward success.
Here are some sample answers from a self-assessment that might indicate when a salesperson is “occasionally exceeding expectations”:
This employee measured themselves against team-wide benchmarks and the duties described in their job description.
As a new BDR on the team, my role is to generate qualified leads for our pipeline with a goal of 5-7 SQLs per month. In my first quarter on the team, I’ve met and exceeded this threshold with an average of 9 SQLs per month at a 25% lower number of touches per prospect than the team-wide average. I am pleased with this performance, especially in the context of the closing ratio that these SQLs maintained. This indicates to me that I am prospecting effectively, targeting the right opportunities, and managing my time well throughout the process. I’m interested in increasing my performance in line with company expectations into the coming year.
This employee used the STAR method to describe some of their accomplishments on the way to achieving a certain result.
During my performance review last quarter, we identified a lackadaisical approach to the CRM being one of my biggest limiting habits. I heard that feedback loud and clear and re-operationalized my use of our CRM, which is one of the reasons why I was able to meet and exceed my personal revenue targets by 11% with a closing rate higher than the team-wide average. With thorough organization and note-taking, I was able to shorten my time to close, a big contributor to my higher performance since last quarter. In addition, I was able to disseminate some of my new processes to other SDRs, increasing better CRM adoption across the wider team. With that said, I am still not among our highest performers, and I could improve my attention to detail and response times.
Conducting Specific, Actionable Performance Reviews for Your team
Performance reviews are a personal process and should be conducted as such. Use this guide and template to customize your performance review process and ensure your reps have everything they need to succeed (and help you succeed, too).
One of the best ways to ensure you’re providing fair, actionable advice that’s even across all of your team members is by operationalizing the process, using a template, and understanding what their next steps are.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.