With busy schedules and many competing priorities, 90 days passes in the blink of an eye for a sales manager. It is easy to forget to pay attention to how a new sales hire is doing – especially if the rep seems to be doing well – but after making a large investment in recruiting a great sales person, it is important to maximize the chances that they will be successful. No period has a bigger impact on sales performance than the first 90 days which is a critical period in setting up a new sales hire to succeed. A structured on-boarding program contributes to ensuring that a new member of the sales team is not only successful, but productive as quickly as possible.
In some companies, particularly those with a shorter sales cycle, it is immediately obvious that a new sales hire is contributing, while in others it takes longer to evaluate the sales person’s value to the sales organization, and the on-boarding process may effectively extend beyond 90 days. Whatever the case, it is important to do an in-depth review at the 90 day stage once there has been a decent run of activity and production to evaluate.
A 90 day review is a formal review that will achieve several goals:
- holds the rep accountable for what they promised to deliver
- allows the manager to correct behavioral weaknesses that stand in the way of optimal performance
- creates a context for the rep to be successful on an ongoing basis
- allows the sales manager to formally re-emphasize the company’s sales goals and agenda
- provides input into the sales manager’s forecast
By the 90 day mark in a sales person’s tenure with an employer, a sales manager has monitored the sales person’s actions for more than 12 weeks and will have many observations to compare against the plan that was created when the sales person was first hired. Over the course of managing several successful sales teams, my 90 day reviews involved the components identified below. Ideally a structured template is used so that areas for improvement are clearly identified and the rep has a guide that identifies the best practices and behaviors they are expected to exhibit.
- Metrics – How did the sales person perform against the key performance metrics and goals that were set when they were hired?
- Pipeline Review – Has the sales representative created a pipeline that is large enough to support future sales goals? Spend time investigating opportunities that are key to achieving targets and determine risk associated with the forecast.
- Communication and Reporting – Has the rep communicate regularly and openly? Have they maintained accurate reports and opportunity details in the CRM?
- Conduct – Has the rep carried themselves professionally and displayed the discipline and behaviors that contribute to success? In some cases, there will be a long list of critical behaviors and capabilities, such as account and call planning, prospecting, qualifying, closing, and negotiating.
- Customer Feedback – What constructive feedback has been provided by prospects and customers? How have customers reacted to the introduction of the sales person into accounts?
- Team Feedback – Has the new sales rep had a positive member of the sales team? What actionable feedback has been obtained from the new sales person’s peers on the sales team.
Once the 90 day review is complete, have the rep put together another 90 day plan and/or one for the balance of the year that will be used in future reviews.
To your success!
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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