“” Real time, accurate reliable feedback is the breakfast of champions”
When it comes to motivating sales people to perform at their best, providing sporadic, random and subjective feedback has the potential to do more harm than good.
Research and experience has proven that providing consistent coaching using accurate, reliable and meaningful feedback is a proven approach to positively improve employee engagement, loyalty and overall performance.
Coaching is common in athletics where the goal is to achieve the perfect balance of skill and attitude. Coaches have the unique ability to watch the athlete perform in real time and then, from a outside perspective, reinforce the positives, point out specific opportunities to improve.
There are few areas in business where it is more difficult to create this type of coaching environment than with sales people. There are many obstacles that prevent a sales manager from personally watching a salesperson perform their duties. Sales results, although telling, are one dimensional and mystery shopping, one of the most commonly used sales performance measurement tools, is to expensive, and infrequent to be reliable.
Performance reviews have long received poor grades, even from those who conduct them. Nearly 60%of human-resources executives graded their own performance- management
systems a C or below… and one academic review of more than 600 employee-feedback studies found that two- thirds of appraisals had zero or even negative effects on employee performance. With the introduction of new technology there are some alternatives that offer a cost effective, highly effective way to enable sales managers a way to provide sales real time coaching and raise sales performance to never before seen levels.
To Find The Problem, begin with the name
The primary problem with other types of sales performance reviews is that they are unreliable and inaccurate. Getting feed- back – good or bad – infrequently simply doesn’t move the needle on employee performance. Feedback delivered only on rare occasions doesn’t help people improve performance on an on- going basis. Giving people immediate feedback increases the probability that the feedback will be instructive and useful. Think about great
coaches, great teachers or great managers you’ve known in your life; chances are that they had a way of giving helpful, timely feedback.
The lack of timely feedback is but one of many inherent shortcomings in the traditional sales performance management process based on infrequent and unreliable observations:
Sales people are not fond of having their sales manager watch them from afar.
We are simply not wired for poorly timed or delivered feedback. Growing up, we didn’t have rigid performance reviews with our parents. If we misbehaved, we heard about it immediately. If we behaved well, they showered us with positive reinforcement. Our parents didn’t sit down with us at the end of the quarter or end of the year to review our performance. We expect and crave more frequent communication on the value and impact of our contributions.
Employees dread sales performance reviews based on best guesses of what is really happening– and managers dread them, too. Not too many people enjoy the feeling of being on trial, and not too many people enjoy being on juries either. In fact, according to the Annual Peak Performance Sales Performance Survey,, 89% of sales people interviewed, do not think performance reviews based on mystery shops or even their own sales results are an accurate appraisal for the work they do.
Trying to squeeze all sales people through a performance review process within a short period is daunting and a bit silly. To Sales people need feedback at different points in time, based on what they actually did with their real customers and managers need time to focus on the unique needs of each sales person.
They are biased. Infrequent manager visits or mystery shops are not always a reliable way to judge performance. There might be shopper bias or even personality issues. The manager might not have good visibility into the actual consistent performance. The manager may simply not be equipped to give meaningful feedback.
What if there were a better way to evaluate an employee’s true performance and impact within an organization?
Enter Live Capture and Coaching: The wisdom of Crowds
The concept behind the “wisdom of crowds” is that collective knowledge trumps individual knowledge. When we tap into the information and/or interaction on a group basis rather than a single observation to form an opinion or answer a question, we end up with a more informed and complete picture of reality and our opinion and “coaching ” is more credible and easier to absorb.
It is no longer the opinion of a manager who happened to be watching but a collection of a number of experiences that show patterns of behavior and are almost indisputable.
Mystery shopping and Live Sales Experience Capture Technology
Mystery Shopping and the new Live Capture makes it easy for sales people to capture and record their sales notes on an electronic form along with the recording of the actual interaction and instantly load it all to the cloud for analysis and yes, real live Coaching.
Sales managers and sales people who are serious about creating a C change in their sales skills and results will find these new approaches useful and meaningful.
The wisdom of Mystery shopping and Live Capture
Imagine a workplace in which you could observe sales performance in real time and provide accurate positive feedback along with pin pointed observations and suggestions as to how that sales person could have improved on a recent sales interaction and do it anywhere in the country from your office.. What would that look like? How would that work?
First, step back and envision how a truly pervasive performance feedback loop might begin to form. Think back to coaching examples in your career that worked and made a significant impact on your performance and future. A lot of it boils back down to human nature. Live Experience technology provides complete transparency which fosters honest communication.
Sales people enjoy sharing their actual experiences because the help and advice they receive may very well make the difference in their current sales and sales managers enjoy being able to coach based on what is actually happening instead of on their educated guesses. What makes this dynamic powerful is the basic instinct to be accountable to reality.
So the question becomes: What is a fundamental thing people like to get in the workplace? One answer is that they like to be thanked and appreciated for what they do right and people Like to give thanks.
If your company had a common system or platform for giving and receiving recognition, common sense and human nature would dictate this platform would get traction.
Now, let’s imagine you have that platform in place. And it starts to gain critical mass and, it becomes self-reinforcing. Once people become more consciously aware of how they are doing and how much they like being appreciated and managers get the opportunity to stop guessing and start real coaching, the system becomes self actuating and everyone starts to do what they should and can more intuitively.
Striving for optimal performance becomes part of the company’s collective behavior patterns. It becomes part of the company’s culture.