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The one performance management mistake most sales managers make

by , 18 May 2016
As a sales manager, it's important for you to effectively manage performance in the workplace, so as to prevent any poor performers from sprouting into existence. And one of the best ways to do this is to set performance standards for all your sales staff.

These performance standards will more than likely be in the form of specific targets, usually quantitative and numerical - which are perfectly suited for sales.

But there's a crack within this tactic, and many employers fall into it.

Keep reading to find out what it is...


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The biggest mistake sales managers make when setting performance standards is…

Measuring performance without context

You see, sales in general are measured on a quantitative basis, and so the targets for staff will usually be numerical.

Here's an example:

Johnny works for a tele-marketing company where he makes calls to sell a hair product. The sales manager has, as part of the performance standards, introduced a specific target of at least ten calls per day. Johnny, over a period of three months, has been performing brilliantly, making an average of twenty-five calls per day.

But the truth is that he's a poor performer. Here's why…

While Johnny's performance is fantastic when measured against the numerical target of ten calls per day, his true performance is questionable. Because in order to make those numbers, one can safely assume he makes very quick calls before moving on to the next person.

What this means is that while Johnny enjoys high numbers of calls, he sacrifices quality. In other words, he doesn't spend time building a strong relationship with potential customers, which is arguably more important than mere numbers.

NOTE: But the problem is that it's difficult to measure performance in a qualitative manner, and so many employers continue with hard numbers.

So what can you do then?

The key here is context. You need to find a balance between quality and quantity. What's more is that you should develop the ability to read in between the lines when setting your performance standards, as well as when measuring performance in the workplace. Because by doing this, you'll be able to manage the performance of all your employees, even the unsuspecting ones (such as Johnny in the above-mentioned example).

You could possibly consider drawing a maximum threshold for your targets, as breaking it could also imply poor quality work just as much as not meeting the minimum target.     

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