Sales performance gaps kill deals. But, if you can identify and close these gaps, you can close more deals and hit your numbers faster. The trouble is many reporting tools surface figures that, while they may point to real problems, provide little insight into actionable solutions.
It isn’t enough to know that a performance gap exists. Sales leadership needs to know where it is, what caused it, and how you can close that gap. Doing so requires a clear, agreed-upon understanding of what ‘good’ looks like and a way of measuring performance against those standards. This applies to both individual sales reps and the team as a whole.
In this post, we’ll walk through six types of reports that can surface actionable insights that will help you drive performance improvement.
1. Activity Reports
It’s always a good idea to start with the “low-hanging fruit” for improving sales productivity. These surface-level fixes provide quick returns that impact the bottom line.
The easiest sales performance gaps to close are misalignments in a sales rep’s activity. This includes metrics such as dials, dials-to-connects, and conversations among others. If a rep isn’t putting in the right activity on the front end, they aren’t going to produce results.
Identifying these gaps can be as simple as pulling a report from your CRM. Compare each rep’s activity to company targets, internal benchmarking, and industry averages. Look for the outliers and coach them on hitting their activity goals.
This is only the beginning. More input doesn’t guarantee more sales, but it’s a key ingredient to quota attainment. A simple increase in activity input can be enough for significant improvement in a sales rep’s performance.
2. Sales Process Adherence Reports
Top sales organizations hit their numbers through an intentional, coordinated, and tested sales process. If a rep skips steps or, worse, ignores the process altogether, it leads to lost deals or poor-fit customers.
There are many reports you can pull from a variety of sources, such as your CRM, sales engagement tool, or conversation intelligence platform to identify gaps in the sales process among your reps such as:
- Missed or skipped steps in their sales cadence
- Unsuccessful discovery calls
- Stalled opportunities due to drop-off or not setting next steps
- Missing information in the CRM
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When a rep is failing to follow your sales process, rehash its importance to their individual performance and the organization. Keep a watchful eye on the rep’s adherence to make sure they’re back on track.
3. New Account, Lead, and Contact Reports
Everyone knows “always be closing.” But here is a rule that’s arguably more important: “Always be prospecting.”
Closing a prospecting skills gap helps every rep maintains a healthy pipeline. For example, a rep with a low number of new prospects and accounts needs coaching around finding accounts, doing pre-call research, and executing cold outreach. Very high numbers suggest the rep isn’t doing proper research and vetting, leading to low lead quality and wasted time on unqualified opportunities.
You don’t want to wait until the end of the month to find out you don’t have enough leads to fill the pipeline. By looking at account, lead, and contact reports regularly, you’ll always know how reps are filling the funnel. If your numbers start to dip, you have plenty of time to coach, revisit sales training, and make improvements before the pipeline dries up.
4. Sales Pipeline Reports
Even if your pipeline is full, these reports can reveal sneaky sales performance gaps affecting your close rates. An underperforming sales funnel can take the form of a low quantity of deals, as well as low quality.
If you’re seeing pipeline problems it’s usually due to one or more of the following factors:
- Poor lead quality and inability to prioritize accounts based on ACV and likelihood to close
- Low conversion from a sales accepted lead into an actual opportunity, usually due to poor conversation where the lead isn’t properly qualified, doesn’t move to next steps, or just drops off
- Poor sales cycle management where appointments don’t stick, a rep’s sales cycle drags on longer than their peers, and the records in the CRM are poorly managed (e.g. lost deals aren’t closed out in the system)
A sales rep should be able to generate enough deals that they hit their numbers, but not so many that they’re overwhelmed and end up under-serving prospects—which will inevitably lead to lost sales and poor brand perception.
5. Conversation Quality Reports
Deals are won or lost in conversations. Whether you’re dealing with a new SDR or an experienced AE, everyone should be working to improve their conversation skills.
Yet the idea of “improving conversations” can often be esoteric and vague. Listening to conversations—live or recorded—is a great first step. Using the call disposition to judge its effectiveness is also wise. But, to dig deep, most sales organizations need a conversation intelligence tool. Otherwise, there isn’t enough coverage across conversations to accurately judge rep skills.
Conversation scorecards are a vital tool for evaluating conversation quality. Scorecards should measure a rep’s execution of core competencies such as identifying business challenges, sharing relevant customer stories, and having the right talk:listen ratio. When taken a step further and pulled into a skills heatmap, aggregated call scores become an X-ray view of a rep’s abilities.
Skills heatmaps are like a cheat sheet for identifying who and what to coach. That means you can spend more time where it will produce results and less time trying to find a call worth coaching.
Identifying conversation skill gaps isn’t easy, but it is highly rewarding for the sales rep and the business. Enable yourself with tools and reports that allow you to evaluate conversation contents so you can better coach your reps.
Want better reporting on call activity, conversation quality, and coaching effectiveness? Check out ExecVision’s Performance Dashboards for full-circle insights.
6. Coaching Reports
Yes, reps are responsible for their performance. But, managers and coaches are too. Leadership has a responsibility to set and enforce performance expectations beyond hitting targets.
Your coaching effectiveness is critical to closing sales performance gaps. Tracking and measuring this is challenging, but worthwhile. To report on coaching effectiveness, you should be able to answer these questions:
- Are you consistently meeting with reps on a regular basis? The frequency depends on what’s needed to close a sales rep’s skill gaps. Some will only need 1 session per week, others will have multiple to reinforce the right concepts.
- Do you know when a rep has made progress toward the desired outcome on a skill gap? Can you correlate that to your coaching activity?
- Are you able to inspect whether a rep is implementing the behavior changes you’ve coached them on (aside from making CRM notes and asking them one-on-one)?
You as a manager and your reps are accountable to each other. Hold them to high standards of performance. Hold yourself to high standards of insight, coaching, and communication.
Leverage the right reports and dashboards to identify sales performance gaps. You’ll not only be able to drive accountability with your reps but identify the areas where you could offer better coaching. Attacking sales performance gaps from both sides is a winning—and revenue-generating—combination.
To learn more about the kinds of skills gaps you should focus on first, check out this on-demand webinar. You’ll learn how to use existing reports to identify the most common gaps, and how to close them at scale.