Does Your Sales Manager Encourage 360-Degree Feedback?

Before starting my own business many years ago, I was working for a company that struggled to do HR well. I recall sitting in the boardroom during a staff meeting when management announced that the annual employee reviews were coming up.

I asked when staff would have an opportunity to provide formal reviews of management in the form of a 360-degree feedback process. You could have heard a pin drop. Finally, one of the managers laughed uncomfortably and said that would not be happening. The meeting was then hastily adjourned.

While operating my consulting business, I have had many employees confide in me that they wish their employers provided more regular performance reviews. The employees wanted to grow and excel but didn’t know how their work was perceived, and what they needed to do to advance in the company. But they also wanted a formal way of providing feedback to leadership…they wanted an opportunity to be heard.

Conducting regular reviews of your staff sends a message to them that you care about their success in your company. Employee reviews build a stronger company culture. And by conducting reviews in a 360-degree feedback process, you improve the company overall by getting valuable input from your team. A good minimum to strive for is every 6 months, but you may find that doing them once per quarter yields even more positive results.

A well-functioning sales department will naturally have much more frequent employee reviews because the sales rep position is so performance-based and measurable. Sales reps are under a lot of pressure to hit quota…they know they are being measured, so communication around what is and isn’t working in the department is essential for growth.

The sales manager should be conducting weekly or bi-weekly sales meetings with the team to discuss overall performance against metrics, and one-on-one coaching sessions to address individual sales rep training needs. The more sales processes you have in place, the easier it is to review performance and identify issues (i.e. It will be obvious when a process isn’t being followed and the solution that is needed).

During group and individual meetings, the sales manager should be inviting feedback from sales reps and must be open to what is being shared.

There are many metrics you can use to evaluate performance. Below is a list of metrics as a starting point to provide structure during reviews. My recommendation is to pick 3 to 5 to start, then build on it.

I’ve also provided a list of questions to ask sales reps to encourage them to provide honest feedback about management.

Review Metrics
  • Tracking against quota
  • Year over year sales (or quarterly comparison)
  • Conversion of leads to sales
  • New account acquisition
  • Effective use of the CRM to track deals
  • Proper delivery of the sales presentation
  • Working cooperatively with the sales team
  • Proper implementation of the follow-up process
  • Attendance at company provided sales training
  • Successfully represents the company’s values and mission to the customer
Questions to Encourage Sales Rep Feedback:

Sales professionals tend to be confident, outspoken people. They will offer their opinions freely about what is and isn’t working. However, it’s important for the sales manager to have questions ready to ensure the manager is gathering the information needed to effectively manage the department. Here are a few to get you started:

  • What tool, process, etc. is working best for you to close sales?
  • What do you feel you’re missing that would help you close more sales?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how well is the company supporting you in your role to grow sales? (Ask the rep to explain why they chose their number.)
  • What am I doing well as a sales manager to help you in your role?
  • What can I do better to help you in your role?

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Photo credit:  The Coach Space



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