Assessing and Evaluating Sales Force

The foundation of all performance appraisals is the belief that human beings have great capacity for growth and improved performance and under right climate for performance, they will respond creatively and positively. This applies equally to the performance appraisal of salesmen.

A good Appraisal System enables superior Performance:

Salesmen better when the performance criteria, goals and tasks are established clearly and by mutual agreement. Likewise, their performance is considerably improved when they are given periodic feedback on how they are performing and in what areas they can improve by greater application. They also come up with improved performance when they are given the necessary help and guidance on the job, and are rewarded promptly according to their contribution. Against this, salesmen tend to slacken if timely and proper appraisal of their performance is not made and due rewards are not forthcoming.

Watch them in action and then assess them:

Salesmen’s evaluation must be mostly on-the-job. For proper appraisal, it is essential to spend time with them and discuss with their goals and tasks, and monitor them on the job. It is also essential to study and scrutinize the salesman’s tour plans and tour reports to make the appraisal fact based. Various other reports submitted by the salesmen, such as completed activity reports, weekly or monthly reports on sales, stock and order book position and special reports providing market intelligence may form from the material for assessing their performance.

Evaluate against pre-determined Norms/Targets in every Key aspect:

Salesmen performance can be appraised on the basis of sales quotas, previous year’s sales, the sales potential of the territory, the market share achieved and the competitor’s sales in the territory. Appraisal can also be made be made based on sales expenses incurred and the gross margins and net profits achieved. Comparisons of performance between different salesmen can also be made. An appraisal of the total performance should be preferred to an appraisal of just the sales figures achieved. If, in addition to the sales quotas, activity quotas are assigned to the salesmen in all the key aspects of their job, a total appraisal will become easy. The organizing capacity of the salesmen, his dealer relations, customer relations and public relations, his contribution to the sales promotion efforts and his ability in enlisting new accounts and new accounts and new dealers to the company can be assessed, using appropriate norms.

Reward them according to their Contributions:

Performance appraisal should lead to differentiated rewards for salesmen. Salesmen who turn out outstanding performance have to be provided with commensurate rewards. At the same time, the weak salesmen have to be improved and developed. Proper performance appraisal will facilitate both requirements. As a general rule, it will also help guide the salesmen’s contribution exactly on the path of organizational goals. As such, sales force performance appraisal should be an integral part of sales management. It must also be remembered that performance appraisal is an ongoing process and cannot be done by merely writing an annual assessment report. It would also be helpful to make an assessment of the ‘potential’ of salesmen in addition to performance appraisal.