As a sales manager providing proper feedback to your sales reps is the most important thing you can do to help you, your company, and your sales rep succeed. By providing feedback you’re building a relationship built on communication and the mutual end goal of success. If you have any further questions about today’s episode feel free to sign up for a free 30 minute consultation.


What we’re going to cover:

  • Know thy sales rep.
  • Ground rules.
  • Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Collaboration.



Know thy sales rep.


“I’ve always encouraged managers to read the sales assessments on an ongoing basis. It gives you great insight into a sales rep when things are going well and sometimes when things aren’t going well.

When things aren’t going well, take it out and read it. Read it before a quarterly review, monthly review, pipeline review, get in a habit of reading it repeatedly because that’s going to give you some insight. It’s going to help you help them. And with the objective management group assessment you can go back and reassess someone after a year and see where you are, you’re not limited to one time only.”

Goal setting.

“A good goal setting exercise digs deep into the sales person and asks what it is that they want to achieve. From a management perspective, it’s ‘here’s your quota and then let’s work backwards.’

I would challenge that and say you probably have to go a little deeper. Some reps respond well or enjoy things or stuff. Others are in it for the win, they want to win. Understanding that about your reps gives you insight, what is it that’s driving them?”

Personal and professional. 

“As you go through the goal setting exercise you’re helping them visualize what the end game looks like, professionally and personally. What are they going to get out of it? Then if they work backwards like they typically do, you’re working backwards towards is the basic everyday objectives that help you meet the larger goal. It makes sense that you start with the big picture and you work your way down, you break it down into the practical, tactical things that you can do on a daily basis to be successful.”

“Well the same goes with achieving your personal goals, what does it do for you to have that kind of success in business? Can you give back more, can you volunteer more? Can you provide money to charities? What is it that you wanted to do? I make no judgments on what people want to do with that success, it just helps me understand how I can understand them and how I can help motivate them. So, I can help provide them the kind of feedback that they need to be successful. “

Coaching sessions. 

“Through my coaching sessions I get a good understanding of who they are as a person and how they respond to feedback. How do you like your information delivered to you? I want to know what works and what doesn’t, how do you like this delivered? How do you learn? What’s the easiest way? How can I show you so you’re successful?”

Ground rules.


“Feedback is just not a regurgitation, you’re not puking information all over somebody. Ground rules should have structure, this is how I’m going to provide feedback, this is why I’m going to provide feedback, this is the way it’s going to be done.

You can adjust to the individual, but you have a basic structure and you can have enough inside of there to be unique with the person you’re dealing with. I’m not going to try to change you but I need you to stay within the framework, I need you to follow our methodology, use our sales process, understand our product, messaging etc. Those are the things I need you to do. But if you’re the kind of guy that needs two minutes to kind of get warmed up personally with the prospect versus the other rep whose straight into business, that’s who you are. I’m not going to try to change you,”


“I’m going to tell you things you’re doing right, I’m going to give you feedback on the positive.  A lot of managers think feedback is something that I need to tell you to fix you or to help you get better.

But people like to know if they’re succeeding or not. You don’t get a cookie for getting out of bed in the morning and showing up to the sales meeting on time. That’s expected. What I’m talking about is the work itself. I’m going to give you some positive feedback on the things that you’re doing well with because I want you to understand how those types of things can create leverage for you and help you in the sales process and help you with success.”

Feedback form.

“I’m going to show you what’s working and I’m going to show you what’s not working. And we’re going to work on those things,  I’m going to put a form together to provide you with that quality feedback. I want you to get used to my feedback, I want you to understand that I’m going to provide that.”

What’s working? What’s not working?

“I want to give you that feedback in every step of what we do and I’m not just saying dump forms on them but understand if we do a quarterly review or an annual review you’re going to get some feedback from me. If we’re on a ride along, you’re going to get feedback. If you’re doing a presentation for the team you’ll get feedback. You’re always going to get feedback. The value of providing feedback is you get better at what you do, it’s the role it’s what you’re here for.”

Slow and steady wins the race.

Detailed portfolio.

“You can’t data dump on people everything that they need to fix right away. You need to really look at them, understand them as an individual. In terms of how they learn what works for them tell them you’re not going to change them. Look at what needs work and where you need to help them. A detailed portfolio in addition to the assessment will give you good notes on what’s working and what’s not.”

Prioritize and focus.

“You want to prioritize those things where they’re struggling and you want to get feedback from them, it’s a two-way conversation. You want to talk to them about where they’re struggling, you want to hear from them on what it is and then you prioritize together.”

Few at a time.

“You pick one or two or three of those things at a time and you chunk it down and you deliver the help that they need in smaller portions. And once that’s resolved and you’ve made some strong headway, then you move onto the next group.”


Be specific.

“Here’s what works with feedback, be specific. If you’re telling me something like ‘so and so always does this it always happens’ be specific. I want to understand in context exactly what happened, don’t tell me they always do it, give me specifics.”

Provide depth.

“Provide depth, and context. Something they can grab hold of and they can use to help solve the problem.”


Rep takes ownership.

“I want them to take ownership of this problem. I want them to admit it before we even start working on it. Here’s what I’ve noticed, here’s what I’ve seen, here’s what you’re doing wrong, here’s some things that need some work, what do you think?”

Ask good questions, layer them out.

“I’m going to ask really good questions and I’m going to layer it out. Once they take ownership of the problem then we’re going to move forward into resolving it, like I said chunk it down a little at a time, very clear feedback.”

Write it out.

“I want them to write it out, I want them to tell me where they’re struggling. It’s not just me giving them the responses and this is how you fix it, this is the feedback, do it this way and you’re done. No, I want to ask questions. Like a therapist ask questions, somebody has a problem, and they’re asking really good questions to get out you the depth of the problem and how to solve it, because it’s already in you. It’s the same here.”


“With a little bit of guidance I have expectations that they then execute on that. And I want feedback from them on how they executed, what worked, what didn’t work, and I’m going to hold them accountable to that.”


“So we’re going to end that feedback session with some things to do, and we’re going to talk about execution, and I’m going to hold them accountable for getting it done. Maybe the next deal they say I made those adjustments and it worked, this is what I did, this is how I did it. It’s not always that easy, sometimes it takes a little work. But once you’re there man it’s a home run.”

Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.


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