By focusing on a few key performance indicators (KPIs), sales managers can better determine if the capability of a sales rep.

Kendra Lee

May 29, 2015

2 Min Read
A Quick Fix for Improving the Performance of Underperforming Sales Reps

When VAR sales reps fail to hit their quotas or deliver expected revenue results, sales managers typically make one of two assumptions:

  1. It’s a skills issue (i.e., the person just isn’t cut out for the job)

  2. The rep isn’t working hard enough (because if they were, how could they fail?)

Sometimes, those assumptions are correct. But often sales managers rush to judgment without first examining the root causes—or “blockers”—of those sales reps’ poor performance. That’s a big mistake because it prevents managers from making decisions and taking actions that are rooted in reality.

The good news is that there’s a quick fix to this issue. By focusing on a few key performance indicators (KPIs), sales managers can better determine if a rep is realistically capable of meeting their quotas and the financial goals the company has set for them, or whether it really is as simple as a skills or effort issue.

This is a far more effective approach than simply raising a rep’s quota and hoping the increased pressure gets them to perform because it takes into account the true context of performance. Has a rep scheduled enough customer meetings? Made enough cold calls? Performed all of the other various activities that have proven to deliver sales results? Or, could it be that a rep is so overwhelmed with activities such as internal meetings, proposal writing and client review meetings that it’s limiting the time they actually have to sell?

Those are important questions to ask because they’ll allow you to identify the real drivers of quota in your organization (a.k.a., KPIs) and understand how they sync with broader sales objectives. For instance, if your objective is to increase new business acquisition, then the KPIs to focus on might include the number of:

  • New prospecting calls per week

  • New client meetings scheduled

  • Proposals written per month

Of course, KPIs will vary by objective and the type of rep responsible for them, so it’s important to adjust your measurements accordingly. For example, if you’re trying to measure a business development rep’s impact on generating appointments, then the KPIs you measure might include the number of:

  • Dials per day

  • Conversations with new contacts

  • New appointments set

Regardless of the scenario, however, the ultimate benefit is the same: By tracking KPIs for all your salespeople over time, you’ll gain a clearer understanding of how activities correlate to results. That will empower you to help your team—high-performers and under-performers alike—succeed by focusing only on the activities that are most closely tied to the company’s overall objectives.

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the award-winning books, “The Sales Magnet” and “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the small and midmarket business (SMB) segment.

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About the Author(s)

Kendra Lee

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the award-winning books “The Sales Magnet” and “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.

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