Year-End Sales Rep Evaluations Made Meaningful

If you're like most sales companies, you regularly evaluate your sales representatives. It's important to evaluate individual performance, and to figure out which areas need improvement, both for specific sales representatives and for your team in general. However, these types of evaluations can be hard on people. Most people don't enjoy being criticized, even when the criticism is tempered with praise in other areas. And if these evaluations are tied to salary increases, bonuses, or even terminations, evaluation time can become very stressful to employees.

One of the best ways you can empower your sales team and help them feel better about the whole evaluation process is to allow them to be involved. People love to be able to share their feelings and opinions. And soliciting feedback from your employees can help them feel more invested in the company, and let them know that they are valued members of your team, as well as sending the message that their concerns have been heard. Involving your sales team in the evaluation process will also benefit your company by giving you an inside view on how things are functioning, and how you might also be able to improve your company's processes to better support your sales representatives.

Let Them Evaluate Themselves

As well as evaluating your sales representatives, you should have them evaluate themselves. Giving them a chance to really think about what they're doing well and what they can improve can lead to some valuable introspection and potentially help them solve problems they are having even before your managers need to get involved.

Don't simply give them a blank sheet of paper to evaluate themselves; give them a questionnaire with meaningful questions. You can choose to have them evaluate themselves in the same areas as their official manager evaluation, or create a different evaluation for them to give themselves. Encourage them to be honest with themselves by allowing them to keep their self evaluations private even from their managers if they want.

Let Them Evaluate Each Other

The way you present this exercise can have a huge impact on the type of feedback that gets shared between team members. Be careful to emphasize that evaluations are meant to be constructive and helpful. And to reduce the temptation for sales representatives to be overly negative about one another, don't allow evaluations from fellow employees to have any effect on decisions about salary, bonuses, or terminations.

However, done right, evaluations from fellow employees can powerfully affect your team for good. For sales representatives who lack confidence, seeing the things their team members admire about them can provide a big confidence boost, as well as strengthening team spirit and helping them become better friends.

Let Them Evaluate Their Managers

It's always satisfying for sales representatives to be able to turn the tables and evaluate their managers for a change. And it can be extremely helpful for managers to see themselves through the eyes of the people they are managing. Similarly, manager evaluations can help your company understand whether your managers are effectively mentoring their teams, and how and when any breakdowns in communication are happening.

Holding your managers accountable not only to the people who manage them, but also to the people they manage, can make your company's sales culture more responsive and positive for everyone. Manager evaluations don't necessarily need to happen at the same time as sales representative evaluations. For some companies it makes sense to stagger them throughout the year.

Let Them Evaluate Your Company

Let's face it: most sales representatives (in fact, most employees in general) have at least some gripes about the company they are working for. Would you prefer to give your employees a chance to air those grievances in an anonymous survey, or wait for them to badmouth your company on the internet? Finding what is bothering your sales representatives is the first step toward making changes that will improve your company culture and sales results. 

From glitches between sales and fulfilment to insufficient training in certain areas, sometimes there are things you won't know about your company and sales function until you ask the people who are in the trenches every day, selling your product or service. Encouraging them to let you know which things are working and which aren't will help you know what to focus on as a company, and where to invest resources to improve.

Not sure how to effectively create sales evaluations? Netpique sales channel solution can help. We have over a decade of experience in training and managing sales teams, and can assist you with any part of the process.