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CRM and Sales

What is sales performance management?

Alicia Schneider 9 min read
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A good salesperson can sell ice in a snowstorm, hay to a farmer, or sand at the beach. But good salespeople aren’t born overnight. They’re built up through years of experience, hard work, and likely, a lot of trial and error.

So how do you help turn an ok salesperson into a great one? Feedback.

The years of on-the-job experience from sales leaders and mentors is invaluable to budding sales stars, so creating an environment and a plan to provide ongoing feedback and performance tracking is one of the best ways to grow your sales team’s skills. A sales performance management plan can help you along the way.

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What is sales performance management?

Sales performance management (SPM) is a framework for measuring the success of a sales team with the objective of improving performance. SPM involves setting sales goals and objectives, designing and implementing sales processes, providing sales training and development, and using sales performance data to drive continuous improvement.

Sales performance management looks at both individual sales reps as well as the entire team to see where operations can be improved. It’s not only about setting KPIs or offering incentives, but rather guiding sales teams and empowering both reps and managers to become sales leaders.

In essence, SPM looks at data taken from sales metrics, such as closed sales, converted leads, or even lost leads or sales to better train and upskill a sales team. It involves a cycle of feedback between senior sales leaders or managers and newer sales employees.

Components of SPM

The components that make up a sales performance management plan depend on each individual business as different teams might want to track and reward progress in a unique way. However, there are some elements of a sales performance management plan that are more common, such as:

  1. Goal setting: establishing reasonable, measurable, and achievable SMART goals for sales teams
  2. Performance monitoring: regularly tracking and measuring performance against those goals
  3. Coaching and development: providing feedback and guidance to help sales teams improve performance
  4. Rewards and recognition: rewarding and recognizing top performers
  5. Performance reporting: generating reports and analytics on sales performance to identify areas for improvement
  6. Sales process optimization: constantly evaluating and refining the sales process to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness

How can sales performance management benefit your business?

There’s ample evidence to suggest that sales teams that apply SPM methods see greater success. According to a study by OpenSymmetry, sales teams that use sales performance management tools such as a sales management software are 2.6x as effective at matching revenue to sales efforts.

That said, sales performance management doesn’t only benefit your business financially, but can be advantageous in a number of other ways.

Reduces turnover

Compared to 2021, 2022’s rate of sales representative turnover increased by 58%. High turnover leads to increased costs, as spending more time and resources training new hires adds up.

A good sales performance management system promotes many important factors that can lead to higher employee satisfaction and, in turn, less turnover.

For example, many sales performance management systems emphasize clarity of expectations, constant feedback, and regular coaching – all while providing employees with the tools and resources they need to be successful.

Improves sales target accuracy

Tracking and monitoring sales productivity, performance goals, and objectives helps businesses identify areas needing improvement. Furthermore, SPM can also help establish and monitor quotas by providing data-driven insights into how sales reps are performing, allowing managers to set and adjust quotas. It can also help identify the most and least productive sales territories and allocate resources accordingly.

Helps predict sales trends

SPM leads to a lot of newly available data, which teams can take advantage of. Data acquired through SPM can predict sales trends by analyzing past sales data and using that information to forecast future sales. This can help businesses make more informed decisions about pricing, inventory, and marketing. Additionally, SPM can help identify budgeting trends by forecasting sales, which is especially useful for projecting commission payouts.

Builds sales skills

SPM provides employees with targeted training and development opportunities based on their individual performance by identifying areas where they need improvement. Additionally, SPM can help sales managers coach their team members and provide them with resources and a plan of action to help them improve their sales skills.

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4 steps to implementing a successful SPM plan

SPM is a critical part of any sales organization, as it can help organizations improve their sales results. In order to be effective, an SPM plan should be tailored to an organization’s and its salespeople’s specific needs.

Following these four steps will help you build your own customized SPM plan.

1. Establish goals, objectives, and metrics

Before putting a plan into place, you need to first determine your business’s specific goals and objectives, such as increasing sales quotas or conversion rates. Once you know your goals, it’s time to select specific metrics you’ll use as KPIs to track your team’s progress in your SPM plan. Some metrics you might want to measure include:

  • Team or individual quota attainment
  • Conversion rate
  • Productivity rates
  • Deals closed

2. Build a structure and a strategy

The best way to build a strategy is to get the input of different stakeholders in order to determine where your sales team is currently and where the business needs them to be in the measurable future. From here, you can begin to build out a structure, which can include factors such as the sales rep hiring process, streamlining the sales pipeline, approaches to employee training, and software or systems to use.

3. Train sales reps to improve their skills

The meat of any sales performance management plan is coaching sales teams in order to develop their skills. This involves being transparent about the entire plan, from objectives, KPIs they’ll be measured on, and the overall structure of the SPM plan.

How you train sales reps is entirely subjective. You can have a more senior sales rep mentor newer ones, hire an expert to provide workshops, or create a space for reps to share knowledge and feedback with one another.

4. Keep lines of communication open for feedback

From the get-go, it’s important to get feedback from your sales reps. They might already have suggestions on skills they want to work on, gaps in learning or available resources, or areas where the sales processes can be improved.

Feedback should of course go both ways, so make sure you’re providing your sales team with updates on their performance, both individually and together. Regular performance reviews, KPI check-ins, constructive performance feedback, and acknowledgment of successes all contribute to a supportive work environment and can help in retaining sales reps. In fact, surveys show that companies that provide regular feedback have a 14.9% lower turnover rate.

Turn to SPM software like for better results

As companies recognize the benefits of using an SPM plan to track performance, the demand for SPM software is growing. Software offering automation tools help streamline operations and allows businesses to stay on top of tracking and measuring the performance of individuals and a team. is a powerful work OS that provides a place for sales managers and team leaders to track performance, provide ongoing feedback, and structure an SPM plan. Using boards, sales leaders can:

  • Improve task management by visualizing a team’s workload
  • Create surveys to get employee feedback on what they’d like to improve in the sales process
  • Establish custom workflows for improved performance management by establishing realistic goals based on data that are clear for both managers and sales reps
  • Create a collaborative sales dashboard where employees can indicate when they’re stuck so that managers, leaders, or other reps can assist
  • Gather data from your boards to create reports when it’s time for a performance review is an intuitive platform that helps employees and managers communicate expectations and progress. For example, sales managers can create a private employee review board to gather and view employee feedback before a review.

employee review board

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How do you measure sales manager performance?

One method is to track the performance of the sales team under the manager’s supervision. You can also measure turnover rate in a manager’s team, time spent coaching, or get employee testimonials.

How can you manage top sales performers?

This depends on different factors, but some tips include setting clear expectations, providing adequate resources and support, offering regular feedback, and implementing incentive programs to motivate and reward top performers.

What is SPM software?

SPM software allows businesses to manage and improve sales performance through tools and data that can help track sales performance, identify areas of improvement, and develop strategies to improve sales outcomes.

Create your ideal sales performance management process

A sales performance management plan is essential to developing your sales team’s skills and turning them into sales leaders. However, an SPM plan is only as good as the tools it relies on to deliver feedback and track progress. That’s why turning to software like to manage and oversee your SPM plan is one of the key ways to ensure your plan, and therefore your sales team, succeeds.

Alicia is a digital marketing and tech freelance writer with a passion for turning complex jargon into engaging content that everyone can understand.
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