When you work in sales, it’s not enough to just meet your goals. You want to exceed them, expand them, and then exceed them again. To truly maximize revenue, the sales team requires a style of management that uses collaboration, analysis, and a proactive approach.

This is where sales performance management comes in. In this article, we’ll define just what SPM is, how you can use it to measure (and improve) performance, and how it can help your business not only to achieve, but to smash revenue goals. Topics we’ll cover include:

  • What is sales performance management?
  • Why is sales performance management important?
  • How do you measure sales performance?
  • How do you maintain sales performance?
  • What are some benefits of sales performance management?

What Is Sales Performance Management?

Sales performance management is a series of interconnected and optimized sales processes that are used to improve a business’s overall sales performance. This includes targeting things like efficiency, effectiveness, communication through analysis and a true understanding of the needs of both consumers and the sales team.

Sales performance management ensures that a sales team has a good grasp on what works, what doesn’t, and how they can best maximize leads to sales.

Why is Sales Management Important?

Sales management is important because it offers planning, control, and direction for the sales team. A random group of sales reps, no matter how personally talented, are not enough to create a strong, steady increase in sales. Someone needs to analyze the information, create the sales target, and follow up to ensure that everyone is working in concert to smash company goals.

Talent is great, passion and drive are great, but direction is also needed to maximize business. Sales management offers that direction. Through hiring, training, analysis, and consistent follow-up, a good sales manager can increase profitability.

How Do You Measure Sales Performance?

The most important aspect of sales performance management is measuring — you guessed it — sales performance. You need to create a roadmap to move forward. Sales performance has been defined in a variety of ways: a philosophy, a practice, an art…but the bottom line is, you can’t practice it without first understanding where you are and where you want to go.

Identify Your Drivers, Indicators, and Goals

Sales performance can be visualized as a pyramid. The base of the pyramid is where you find your performance drivers: meetings, leads, referrals, sales plans, coaching, strategy, etc. Above that, you’ll find your performance indicators:  Revenue sources and metrics. At the very top are your performance goals and sales results.

These are the basics, and you’ll want to personalize each section to match what is relevant for your own organization. Your drivers may look completely different from another company’s drivers.

Track Your Metrics

Some sales metrics you’ll want to analyze include:

  • Annual plan and quarterly updates
  • Number of leads
  • Number of calls, emails, or conversations
  • Meetings
  • Proposals submitted, proposals accepted
  • Referrals given, referrals received
  • Events attended
  • Percentage of closes in the sales pipeline
  • Days in the pipeline

Create and Maintain a Sales Pipeline

A sales pipeline is a bird’s eye view of your lead’s journey, from prospect to repeat customer. It is a holistic approach that visualizes sales as a river, with a series of stages that must be kept smooth for an effective sales process. By working with your sales team to create and maintain a sales pipeline, you will be able to quickly identify and repair any issues along the chain.

How Do You Maintain Excellent Sales Performance?

1.) Create an Efficient System

First, you want to create a system that is tailored to fit your particular product or service. Use the basic model of a sales pipeline, but make it your own. Set up a series of metrics that you want your reps to adhere to. For example, a target for length of time in the pipeline. Or how many leads need to be on deck. Or whether there’s a greater emphasis on cold call or on social media campaigns. Find what works best for your team.

2.) Open Communication

As a sales manager, you need to continually talk to your sales team. As the people actually in the trenches, they should have helpful feedback and can be an enormous help in creating strategy. Be open to ideas, and keep your sales pipeline flexible so that you can incorporate new concepts.

3.) Track the Data

A sales team is only as good as its analytics. Even the best sales rep in the world can’t bring maximum results if they aren’t completely familiar with a variety of sales data. Each team member should have a list of numeric goals to hit, based on extensive research of the sales pipeline.

4.) Follow Up

Gathering data won’t do much good if there is no follow-up on the results. Each week you should have a meeting with each member of the team to go over goals for the week. For example: calls made, meetings attended, good leads, and proposals made. Praise the numbers that look good, and identify any areas of opportunity.

5.) Automate the System

You don’t want to waste time tracking markers by hand. Use a good software system to streamline and maximize your results. Simply plug in the performance metrics you want to follow, and analyze the results.

6.) Collaborate

Be available to your team. They should feel that they are all a part of the big picture and that their input is important. Sales performance management is a part of every stage and is impacted by every position. Collaboration is the key to results.

What Are Some Benefits of Sales Performance Management?

See the Bigger Picture

People that can make a sale are a dime a dozen. But sales is about more than just picking up a phone, or giving a presentation. It’s about really understanding the entire process. You need to know the numbers, understand them, and know how to drive efficiency using these metrics.

Keep the Process Flowing Smoothly

Sales performance management allows you to identify areas of need, by giving you a larger view of the process. If there is a problem in one area, it will affect everything else downstream. By seeing and resolving a problem quickly, you improve your sales overall.

A Holistic Approach

In sales, as in medicine, a holistic approach is the best way to ensure a healthy whole. By understanding and seeing every part of the sales process, you will have a better grasp on where and how to improve.


There is more to sales management than just being a good sales representative. It’s about really understanding the sales concept, your target audience, and how to motivate and drive your team members. Sales performance management allows you to take a view that includes all of the working pieces and analyzes the metrics of each of those pieces. By addressing sales through the performance metrics, you can easily conquer and expand your revenue goals.

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