Skip to main content

Incentivizing Employee Performance and Increase Sales Using a Strategic Approach

Mar 12, 2024
5 min read

Employee performance management is underpinned by real-time data and regular performance reviews, delivered as part of a positive work environment. Discover information about measuring and rewarding sales excellence and how to conduct an effective employee performance review.

How Is Sales Employee Performance Measured?

Measuring employee performance involves using key metrics to gain insights into team and individual performance. The following KPIs for salespeople offer quantifiable ways to assess how successfully an employee or department is performing in specific areas:

  • Output volume: Output (calls, tickets, sales, etc.) over a given period
  • Goal attainment: Number or percentage of assigned goals that are completed successfully
  • Utilization rate: Percentage of work time used toward productive tasks
  • Units per hour: Output units produced per hour worked
  • Error rate: Number or percentage of defective outputs 
  • Accuracy rate: Percentage of outputs made without errors
  • Customer satisfaction score: Feedback ratings on work quality based on customer surveys or reviews 
  • Revenue per transaction: Average income generated by each customer transaction 
  • Margin per sale: Profit margin average across sales made 
  • Value per hour: Average output value generated per hour worked
  • Margin per sale: Profit margin average across sales made 
  • Time to completion: Actual time required to complete assigned duties
  • Response time: The speed at which a rep responds to customers
  • Sick leave usage: Percentage of time off used for sickness
  • Total absenteeism: Overall percentage of scheduled time missed
  • Late arrivals/early departures: Frequency of deviations from planned work schedule
  • Cross-training percentage: Ability to fill other people's roles as needed
  • Team project success: Results from collaborative assignments
  • Knowledge sharing: Frequency and effectiveness of sharing knowledge with peers
  • Peer feedback: Formal survey or interview data from colleagues

Effective employee performance management requires a strategic approach underpinned by a strong company culture, an aligned leadership team, and clear organizational goals. 

How Can You Improve Employee Performance?

To improve employee performance, leaders should carefully choose which KPIs are the closest aligned with organizational goals and best suited to each team. It's also important to cultivate a positive work environment by ensuring the leadership team lives, breathes, and enacts your company's core values. 

Lastly, aim to offer plenty of training and development opportunities and conduct regular, well-organized employee performance evaluations. Not only do these motivate and inspire each Sales team member, but they enable you to quickly identify any issues and resolve them. 

Let's explore this multidimensional, strategic approach to improving employee performance in more detail. 

Foster a Positive Work Environment 

Sales success begins with a strong corporate culture and a positive work environment, characterized by:

  • Core values: Having core values creates a foundation of expectations and aligns your team with the work they do. Ensuring they're written into your company's training and onboarding materials is one of the best ways to cultivate a healthy workplace. 
  • Open communication: Team members should feel just as comfortable sharing their challenges as they are telling others about their successes. Making sure everyone's voice is heard and valued goes a long way to getting the most out of each team member.
  • Collaboration: When employees can ask each other for help and guidance, problem-solving happens faster and there's less pressure on the leadership team. 
  • Recognition: Recognizing and celebrating achievements, no matter how big or small, is crucial for reinforcing positive behavior and motivating each individual and team. 

The leadership team should be poised to address any conflicts quickly, promote self-care, and model healthy work habits. In addition, regular team building events and activities strengthen bonds between team members and leaders and contribute to a positive work environment. 

Training Never Stops

Training and development are essential elements of any strategic incentive plan. Investing in employees' skills enables you to enhance any area you choose, from product knowledge to the latest sales methodologies. What's more, continuous learning makes your team more resilient to an unpredictable market, underpinned by ever-evolving technological advancements.

Another training priority in a fast-evolving business landscape is making sure your team is up-to-date with the latest customer experience best practices. Relationship-building, fostering trust, and communicating with empathy are vital, and best practices are changing faster than ever. 

Beyond advancing skills, training fosters confidence and morale and can improve productivity and loyalty. In turn, this encourages high-performing employees to stick around and improves retention rates by cultivating job satisfaction and opening up career development opportunities. When your team feels valued and invested in, employee performance can flourish. 

Make Data-Driven Decisions

Shifting from instinct-dominant to data-dominant decision-making is a game-changer for improving team performance. It empowers you to rely on objective, measurable metrics, helping shape team dynamics based on performance and results, and eliminating the impact of personal bias. 

Data provides multidimensional insights into every area of employee performance, from productivity and cost impact to timeliness and teamwork. An informed approach to decision-making leads to the faster identification and resolution of issues and enables you to strategically allocate resources.

For example, analyzing each employee's revenue per transaction metric means you can place the highest-performing salespeople in the most challenging and lucrative territories. Likewise, data-driven forecasts can help you allocate labor budgets accurately and maximize profits.

Design an Employee Incentive Plan to Encourage Growth

Employee incentives are an essential component of any performance improvement strategy. They align team and individual initiatives with organizational goals and motivate employees to excel in their roles by making them feel valued and appreciated.

To streamline the process, ensure accuracy, and maximize the effectiveness of employee incentives, invest in employee performance management software. This enables you to tailor incentive structures based directly on performance metrics, helping you deliver rewards consistently and fairly. With a tool like Xactly, you set precise performance expectations, linking incentives to achievements. This bolsters team and individual performance by making the connection between each employee's efforts and rewards as clear as can be.

As a bonus, using software to manage employee performance and rewards gives you a wealth of data to draw upon. Real-time tracking and data analysis free up supervisors to dedicate more time to mentorship, coaching, and employee development. Furthermore, sales employee incentives promote healthy competition by making top performers visible, and inspiring others to strive for excellence.

How to Conduct an Effective Sales Employee Performance Review

Performance reviews are an opportunity to deliver one-on-one feedback and touch base with your employees to make sure your goals are aligned. It's just as crucial to provide praise for excellent work and notable improvements as it is to let employees know which elements require improvement.

Here are more tips for conducting an effective performance review:

  • Use data: Relate feedback to data wherever possible to provide an objective assessment and infuse credibility into the process.  
  • Identify opportunities for development: Discuss opportunities for development and remember that investing in learning and development is also a powerful incentive. 
  • Establish forward-looking goals: Collaboratively develop challenging yet realistic future goals that align with the company's direction to instill a sense of purpose.  
  • Encourage open communication: Be honest and straightforward in your dialogue don't shy away from challenging topics — and encourage employees to do the same. 
  • Develop actionable plans: Conclude every review with a clear, actionable plan that includes steps for improvement and opportunities for development, and ensure follow-up mechanisms are in place. 

Make sure you follow through with performance reviews consistently to maintain trust and morale.

Employee Performance Growth With Xactly Incent

Employee performance management software like Xactly can go a long way toward helping you improve employee performance. Use it to automate time-consuming processes and support data-driven decision-making as you craft incentive plans that align employee performance with company goals.

Let Xactly Incent empower you to track data analytics that informs employee reviews and helps you craft improvement plans based on objective facts. Try our ROI calculator and request a demo today.

  • Compensation
  • Incentive Compensation
  • Sales Coaching and Motivation
  • Sales Performance Management
Xactly "X" logo, left half orange and right half grey
Xactly News Team

The Xactly News Team reports on the latest product, events and market trends taking place within Xactly and throughout the revenue intelligence industry.