January 9th, 2013

When it Comes to Accelerating Sales Force Performance, Average is Over – You Need to Raise the Bar

Author: Frank Ribuot, Senior VP, Asia Pacific & Global Talent Management, Right Management

Evaluating and rewarding performance is only one part of the sales performance improvement process. While performance appraisals are useful, they need to be part of a robust and on-going dialogue that optimizes sales productivity and results.

To accelerate sales force performance in an increasingly sophisticated, competitive and complex marketplace, you need to adapt your business models, your processes, and your people to maintain a competitive advantage. This means aligning sales executives’ performance with your business objectives and making strategic investments in their skill-sets and identifiedgaps.

Sales Force Productivity Opportunities


Most important, you want to raise the bar and present challenging sales, performance and customer service goals. You also need to align goal achievement with performance-based rewards. Doing so will address the following challenges and positively impact your bottom line.

  • Customers expect much more from your salespeople, in terms of customer service and intrinsic value, and their satisfaction expectations continue to increase.  One of the four World of Work trends clearly emphasizes the rise of customer sophistication as one of the market trends to be reckoned with.
  • Shorter product lifecycles and/or increasing sales cycle length mean your sales force needs to commit to more focused activities and results in order to achieve the new bar of expectations and maximize sales growth.
  • The voice of the customer is becoming louder. Your sales reps need to understand that a distinct correlation exists between their performance and customer satisfaction, which should, in turn, affecttheir bonus, compensation and advancement potential.


It is valuable to examine closely where sales and sales performance improvement opportunities exist. Then raise the bar and provide your team with the knowledge and skill-sets to achieve those goals – for example, sales executive coaching or sales mentoring can have a dramatic impact on performance and outcomes.


As you create your sales force development programs, we suggest including the following elements:

  • Develop organizational sales success profiles.
  • Make sure you have the right sales talent mix to achieve growth targets
  • Carefully examine the sales talent you already have, to clearly identify their development needs.
  • Provide metrics for sales performance and revenue attainment.
  • Measure and improve the success rate in hiring and retaining high performing sales talent.


Raising the bar and preparing your salesforce to achieve these goals will maximize the potential to increase sales productivity, improve performance, and ultimately help achieve top line revenue growth.

One Response to “When it Comes to Accelerating Sales Force Performance, Average is Over – You Need to Raise the Bar”

  1. Sam Palazzolo on March 28, 2013 11:51 am

    This is a great article! While it”s easy to say that all one needs to do is align salespeople”s compensation plans with the organization”s mission/vision/values, the truth of the matter is that this is often a “gap” of significant size which needs to be closed. If the objective of a salesforce is to sell, there is little room for such selling to occur outside of the organization”s scope as well as customers desires. So this begs the question: If this is so simple, why do so many organizations struggle with an effective implementation?

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