Selling isn’t part of everyone’s DNA. And the circumstances will not be favorable for every sales rep, nor do they all perform well.
It’s true that there’s an unspoken disparity in the sales team. People with sales experience are probably familiar with the Pareto Principle. It’s the 20% of salespeople that generate 80% of revenue in the market. Right?
In your career as a salesperson, you encountered it at some point.
But why do we witness this phenomenon? Is there a valid reason? Are underperformers lacking sales training? Or, is performance driven by a completely unknown factor?
Instead of throwing away time pondering over the questions, let’s try to understand what and how the sales performance gap is created?
What is the sales performance gap?
Every organization has performance criteria, let’s say it’s a 40% win rate(conversion rate) for the salespeople.
In this case, the performance gap will be the shortfall between what the salesperson or team is achieving and what is expected of them. The performance gap is nothing but the difference between the actual sales number achieved to the intended sales number.
The performance gap could be a result of several factors- Poor targets, lack of sales processes, no sales enablement software strategy, or it could also be poor hiring.
The best way to determine the reason behind the gap- conduct a performance gap analysis, which takes into account the sales rep and the managers.
Now going back to Pareto’s principle, we should not be concerned about the 20% that perform well, but rather the 80% that create performance gaps that need to be improved.
How do I identify sales performance gaps?
If you look closely at your sales team, you’ll notice three buckets.
- One will be the achievers- nailing quota after quota.
- The second type will present an average performance, and satisfaction for the organization.
- And then there’ll be a third category who are barely performing and adding to the cost of acquisition.
The sales performance gap is different for the three types of salespeople. The best and most pragmatic method to identify the gap is using the sales metrics or KPIs. Sales metrics are measurable performance indicators that highlight results against the goals of the sales team. Learn more about how to measure sales productivity for your sales reps?
Run a regular exercise and evaluate the KPIs for each sales guy. You can decide the parameters for the buckets based on your company’s goals and targets.
Now notice who’s fitting in which bucket. You’ll come across a lesser population in the performers’ list and the majority in the low performers’ bucket.
Note: Don’t miss out on the average performers. You need them.
The three buckets make it easier for the sales managers to understand who needs attention and who is costing more to the company.
Now, we have a brief understanding of what is the sales performance gap and how to identify sales performance gaps. It’s time to jump into the next critical section of the topic- what are the skills that result in the performance gap?
What are the common skill performance gaps in salespeople?
If you recall, we asked you to keep an eye out for the average performers i.e. bucket # 2.
The reason we stress on the above bucket is that it’s the average performers who can be pushed ahead with the help of the correct sales enablement strategy and software application.
Low performers are usually a misfit or non-sales people. Investing in them is not advisable. However, if you have the bandwidth and the technology you must attend to the third bucket but at a later stage.
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Here are a few common skill performance gaps in your average performers:
- Poor Preparation:
Reps prepare for calls. But only at the nick of the hour. Preparation, right before the call is futile and doesn’t translate into a healthy discussion.
Sales guys don’t come prepared with the conversation in their heads or have a fixed agenda in mind. The target audience and their industry is not well-researched and previous call notes are not read and comprehended.
Some reps are so clueless that they end an hour-long call, in mere 15-20 minutes of the scheduled time. Why? Because they barely have anything to talk about.
Under-preparation causes another major blunder- reps often miss out on following up on email correspondence, forget to catch up or lose track of their new leads. Ever seen anyone in this situation?
- Poor Listening Skills
In Convin’s conversation meeting intelligence tool, if you record a meeting, the session is analyzed automatically to give you the talk ratio, longest rep monologue, longest customer monologue, patience, interactivity, and question rate.
On careful observation of the stats above, you’ll find the reps occupying the majority of the speaking time. Those who perform poorly easily have a higher talk-to-listen percentage than achievers.
On the contrary, skilled sales reps allow their clients to speak more and listen carefully. Avoid pregnant pauses and leave less room for anticipation. Their questions are crisp and open-ended, which makes the target audience speak more about themselves.
- Wrong Timing
Have you ever come across a sales rep discussing pricing on the first call? Or explaining product features in-depth?
Unfortunately, many sales guys make the mistake of presenting the wrong content at the wrong time. Another reason for investing in intelligent sales enablement software.
Mediocre reps often stumble with the agenda of the meeting. Unawareness of the objective of the meeting results in discussing irrelevant or wrong information.
- Investigative discovery
Discovery calls make a significant part of the sales cycle. Interviewing the client is just not critical but immensely important for the next steps of the sales process.
Reps who start acting like detectives or who sound suspicious about a customer's facts may lose the client's interest and make the client leave.
Underperforming SDRs’ are often victims of interrogatory discovery calls.
- Time Management
Time management comes with time and practice. But performers know the meaning of time and spend more time on selling and less on non-selling activities like note-taking and CRM data entry.
Poor performers, unintentionally, spend unwarranted time on non-selling activities and severely cut down on calls, follow-ups, strategic discussions, and market research.
We have touched on the most pressing and common skill performance gaps in salespeople.
But, as per our observation, the sales performance gap is also owing to the ineffective management by sales managers and leaders.
These may not be the most powerful causes but they certainly impact the low and average sales guys in one way or another.
In multiple instances we found slack in the following sales enablement processes:
- Unavailability in providing constructive feedback and review
- Inability to track KPIs and sales metrics
- Poor Content Management
- No dedicated call coaching time
- Not advising on pricing and solution designing
After giving the issue a lot of thought, we concluded that sales enablement software strategy coupled with conversation intelligence is a great way to put average sales performers on the path to success.
How do sales enablement software help coaching reps and close performance gaps?
Sales enablement software is not a new technology in the market. It’s been there for a while but not used extensively for enhancing sales performance.
However, we foresee a brilliant opportunity to upskill the team and coach individual reps and the entire sales group.
But before we move forward, a quick overview on,
What is sales enablement software?
“A sales enablement software is devised to empower salespeople by offering a repository for sales playbooks, best practices, and collaterals. The idea behind adding a sales enablement tool is to train salespeople on an ongoing basis. Before and after a sales call, anyone can find relevant data, from a new hire to an experienced salesperson”.- Convin
You can ensure that all client-facing stakeholders receive training, receive marketing content, and find content on-demand. As suspected, sales enablement software strategies are jointly owned by marketing and sales.
To access analyzed and transcribed sales calls, several sales enablement tools are backed by AI-powered conversation intelligence software.
Now, let’s see, how does sales enablement software, backed by AI-powered conversation intelligence, help in improving reps’ performance?
As part of the CI solution, sales conversations are recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. In order to develop data-based, actionable insights to improve results.
When you have a large team of sales reps, reviewing the performance of every call and individual is important. Hence, due to limited time and other pressing tasks requiring your attention, it can be overwhelming to review each sales call. But that doesn’t make the quality of the review and feedback process impossible.
Convin brings AI-powered sales performance management to empower you in breaking down the sales calls into segments, assessing the calls, and making them easy to review.
1. Track real-time sales activity
Your team has access to a comprehensive dashboard that shows you how active your sales reps are on calls. You receive an overview of the calls they answered, the time they spent with prospects, and more can be found here. With one centralized platform, you can track your entire team's productivity.
2. Automatically transcribe calls in minutes
There are hour-long calls and then there are those that spill over to 2 or 3 hours with the prospect? The transcription of the call will take only a few minutes. You will be able to skim through the pleasantries exchanged without any hassle. Convin’s CI-powered sales enablement software easily streamlines the process of reviewing sales calls.
3. Break down your sales calls
The powerful AI technology of Convin's application lets you extract vital insights from your sales calls by automatically categorizing them. You can identify customer sentiments, get to the heart of your call and offer meaningful feedback that helps your reps improve.
4. Review reps' performance
Compare and sieve out the top-performing reps’ from your low-performing reps by evaluating their call performance basis call quality parameters. Unlock the key traits your average performers require to become high-performing sales guys and close more deals easily.
5. Benchmark your wins
When your seasoned reps’ bag consecutive wins, allow your team to get a sneak-peek into their performance and get inspired. Prepare a sales playbook that contains your best wins so your sales reps can learn from them and improve. You can make your sales training sticky by preparing a playlist of your most memorable wins.
6. Offer valuable feedback
You can also schedule coaching hours in the week and review calls and offer feedback. In fact, enjoy the liberty to coach your sales team as soon as their call is over. This will help them absorb the key takeaways, fix the repetitive errors, and appropriately attend to the prospect before they decide to move on.
You’ll be shocked to learn that in the United States around 57% of sales reps not meeting their quotas. Undoubtedly, there are several reasons associated with it but one figure is more promising- Organizations investing in sales enablement achieve a 49% win rate on forecasted deals.
We can easily conclude that sales performance gaps can diminish to a large extent with the help of enablement software. A shift from intuition and biased feedback to data-driven feedback can lead to better sales performance.
Let’s allow sales enablement software to facilitate the process of improving sales performance by providing sales reps with tools and information to hit the ground running while saving tons of time and cost.
Wanna learn more about sales enablement software and its relevance?- Read more.