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Performance Reviews Prime Productive Business Development

July 16, 2019

Studies show the cost of driving website traffic through digital advertising continues to climb. Paid leads are becoming harder to convert. This is the reality for many businesses that rely on digital marketing. It’s especially true for behavioral healthcare providers.

Many are shifting their marketing focus from paid traffic to B2B selling and relationship management. Many successful treatment providers are hiring more business development representatives instead of spending money on direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns. 

It’s a smart move for many providers, but only if you manage the business development team well, especially the newer representatives.

If you’re like many treatment providers, you’ve recently expanded your business development team. Now that you’ve hired new reps, how do you know if they are ramping up fast enough? How do you formalize the performance evaluation of these key revenue drivers and relationship managers? Your business development team is the face of your brand, so mastering performance evaluation is paramount.

As the business development leader, you are in a unique position. You are judged almost solely by the performance of others. If the team doesn’t perform, you’re to blame.

Everything your business development team does is a direct reflection of you, your training, and the culture you cultivate. The decisions they make each day—when they do the activity that’s required of them or not, invest in becoming trained on your programs or not, generate patient referrals or not—determine your success as a leader.

Fair or not, the executive team is watching and judging the leader—and if the business development team isn’t producing, then expect challenging questions.

Assessing a sales representative’s performance is one of your key responsibilities as a sales leader. Sadly, the standard “hire more reps” approach to hitting sales targets has caused performance reviews to take a back seat to hiring even more warm bodies and then playing the blame game when the numbers don’t magically add up. According to Forbes, it costs over $200,000 to replace a B2B sales rep.

Assessing performance

If your newly hired sales reps aren’t getting up to speed as you expected, how do you get to the bottom of the issues? Is it a motivation problem? Lack of product knowledge? Time management challenges? Unrealistic goals? Personal or home struggles? Team dissention? Lack of persistence? Work ethic? Buy-in? Shortage of confidence?

A proper 90-day performance assessment can give you the answers you need to almost every challenge you could encounter as a sales leader.

Conducting quarterly performance reviews was critical when I managed sales growth at Foundations Recovery Network from 2012 to 2015 and we hired more than 20 new reps in a short period of time. These formal reviews are designed to evaluate and support each individual rep’s development, and ensure a high level of overall team performance. 

Without a 90-day review process, you can unknowingly create a disconnect between your business needs and your sales reps. Perhaps even more damaging, your sales reps may interpret the lack of formal feedback as “acceptable performance.”

Performance assessments are not optional, and they’re not just for the low performers. They are the great equalizer for your team.

A well-defined process is required for sales performance reviews. When you implement this process, you accelerate your progress on the path to sales consistency and growth.

A 90-day review process not only provides the leader with an objective benchmark for a new rep’s performance, but it also creates an opportunity for reps to appraise the team’s and your performance. This encourages them to see you as their supportive leader rather than their judgmental boss.

The 90-day review sets the tone for a coaching culture, it establishes the rep’s expectation for performance appraisal, and clearly defines your role as a leader in performance management.

Ready to begin implementing a 90-day review for your representatives? Here’s a guide to get you started.

Nigel Green is an executive sales strategist, sales team architect and sales leadership coach at Evergreen Co. in Nashville, Tennessee.

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