Effective sales feedback is all about providing timely, actionable insight into performance. Today, we run through the key characteristics of quality sales feedback with surgical precision.

Yesterday, we looked into the 7 deadly sins of sales feedback. Today, we’re diving deep into the subject — taking a look at some of the concepts every manager should keep top of mind when providing sales feedback.

For what it’s worth, I’m terrible at receiving feedback. Back in school, I couldn’t even read through my English papers when my teacher gave them back to me. If there was a 94 at the top of it, I didn’t want to see what got my 6 points docked.

I’m a huge wimp when it comes to receiving feedback — but even I will respond favorably to feedback when it’s presented in the manner explained below. Here’s the anatomy of effective sales feedback.

Anatomy Of Effective Sales Feedback

A great starting point is John Kaplan’s post for Force Management, “5 Ways to Give Better Feedback to Your Sales Teams.”

Kaplan provides some great insight and offers 5 short, sweet pieces of advice for sales feedback that will make your conversations that much more impactful.

1) Disarm The Recipient

Kaplan’s analysis opens with two critical points:

  1. Stay Positive.
  2. Let the Receiver Go First.

The rationale for these two approaches is simple. Most people enter conversations that involve feedback guarded and on the defensive. They may shut themselves off from truly hearing what you have to say.

By taking these two initial steps in your sales feedback, you disarm the recipient and let them know you intend to have a dialogue, rather than a monologue. You also demonstrate that the feedback is meant to be helpful and provide a 360° analysis of their performance.

2) Provide SMART Analysis

Kaplan lays out an excellent acronym to adhere to with your sales feedback.

The following five characteristics of sales feedback present an all-encompassing overview of the type of feedback you should give your sales reps:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Kaplan’s post is a must-read on this topic, so prior to having a one-on-one with a rep, check yourself to make sure the feedback you plan to provide is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

3) Make It Part Of A Sales Contest

A great way to ensure that sales feedback gets followed is to run a sales contest.

We love Mark Roberge’s Hubspot post, “6 Tips to Run an Incredibly Effective Sales Contest.”

In this post, Mark also points out how effective sales contests — especially team sales contests — can be at reinforcing desired behaviors on your sales floor.

We’ve provided our own list of epic sales contest ideas we think you should follow, so check those out as well.

4) Focus On Coaching

As we alluded to in yesterday’s post, all sales feedback should incorporate coaching.

Jeff Hoffman’s post for Hubspot, “4 Differences Between Sales Coaching and Feedback,” comes down a little harshly on the concept of “sales feedback” in general. But, he does make some valid points about the need to make the focus of feedback coaching.

In this post, Hoffman fleshes out key distinctions between what constitutes effective sales coaching and mere feedback.

Getting The Most Out Of Sales Feedback

Effective sales feedback will get the maximum value out of your sales team.

You need your one-on-one meetings with sales reps to be as effective as possible, and leave resonant, immediate and sustainable impacts on their mentality towards selling.

Follow the approaches listed above and don’t forget to check out our 7 deadly sins of sales feedback post. We’ll see you next time on the Ambition Blog.

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