Monitoring team performance is one of the most important duties a sales manager has (and yes, we realize they have a lot of important duties).
Keep in mind: When we talk about “monitoring” performance, we’re not talking about driving or impacting performance in any way. That’s another critical role that management plays, but in order to effectively change behavior, having a system in place for monitoring and tracking performance always comes first.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of monitoring performance, and then we’ll dive into some of the best strategies to do so.
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The importance of monitoring team performance
The importance of monitoring team performance lies in a simple truth you’ve probably heard over and over (and over) again: You can’t change what you can’t measure.
Monitoring team performance is the very first step in improving outcomes for your reps. When you’ve got a strong and effective system for tracking performance in place, you’ll be able to:
Establish 100% visibility: At any given moment, do you know where your reps stand in relation to their targets and benchmarks? What about your team as a whole? If you’re using the right strategies for monitoring performance, there won’t be any guesswork or spreadsheet-shuffling required in order for you to understand how everyone is progressing against their goals.
Identify the metrics that matter: If you’re like other sales managers, you may struggle to identify the KPIs that you should be tracking. Sometimes it can be a chicken-and-egg scenario; you’ve got to have data in order to understand the activities that actually drive conversions. If you’re monitoring performance across all your team’s metrics, you’ll quickly see which ones matter most, so you can then work backwards to set the right targets and benchmarks for your team.
Determine strengths and weaknesses: Monitoring team performance lets the data do the talking when it comes to your reps’ strengths and weaknesses. You’ll have a clear, objective picture of where individual reps are crushing it, and where they’re really struggling to achieve the results your team requires. Which brings us to our next point...
Coach with impact: Once you know where your reps need support (based on the numbers and insights you’ve gathered), you’ll have what you need to coach up your reps and help them develop skills they need to hone, so that you’re in a position to actually change behaviors and improve performance. Bonus: by using the performance tracking data you’ve gathered, both you and your reps can leave emotion out of your 1:1s and just focus on the facts.
Create accountability: Again, we’re getting into “improving performance” territory here, but it’s worth mentioning that when your reps know they’re being monitored, it can create a healthy level of accountability. Like any human being, if you know you’re being observed (in a non-threatening kind of way, of course...), it can do wonders to keep you on the right track.
Strategies to monitor team performance
There’s no “right” way to monitor team performance. But there are some best practices to follow and tools to consider using, which will ensure that you’ve got a seamless, automated system in place. And, most importantly, that you’re getting good, reliable data out of it.
Go broad: Even if you’re not struggling to identify the right KPIs, it’s worth going broad when it comes to monitoring your reps’ activities, both in terms of volume and effectiveness. You can certainly set targets around the ones that matter most, or weight them according to importance, but when it comes to tracking, don’t go too narrow.
Leverage technology: Time is a hot commodity for sales managers. Our motto: automate what you can. There’s no reason here in 2020 to be doing any sort of manual tracking. And don’t make the mistake of using your CRM to manage performance — remember, your CRM is where you manage customers; use a sales performance management tool to, well, manage performance. It should integrate with your CRM, but surface performance data in a way that’s easy to digest and share — and ideally, it will provide you options to visualize insights in charts and graphs so you don’t spend hours on spreadsheet formulas and analysis.
Keep it real time: A key perk of leveraging the right sales performance management platform is that you’ll have access to data in real-time. That means that there’s no lag time between gleaning insights and acting on them. (And again — getting actionable data is a key benefit to monitoring performance.)
Give your team visibility: There shouldn’t be any secrets here. Ensure that your team knows you’re monitoring their performance, and that they know exactly what you’re measuring. Then, take it a step further: give your team full access to the data. Not only does it establish accountability, as mentioned above — but it also goes a long way in building self-awareness and gives them the opportunity to proactively course correct and keep themselves on track.