The process of appraisal is the comparison of individual performance against agreed standard sand objectives.
- Sub-standard performance should result in corrective action programmers.
- Above-standard performance may result in merit rewards, promotion or more advanced training and development.
The appraisal system formalizes the process of the sales manager sitting with individual team members to review performance and to recognize the needs of each team member and his or her ability to satisfy those needs through the job. It is important that performance appraisals are conducted regularly,and form part of the normal sales management practices in motivating and providing feedback to the members of the sales team.
Each one of us likes to know how we are doing in our job and whether we meet our line managers’ expectations, how we compare with our colleagues, and what prospects we might have in the company (including advice on our personal development needs to fit us for new and bigger jobs).
Sales force appraisals should normally be conducted each half-year. This is long enough for a salesperson to implement changes in performance and behavior from the previous performance appraisal, but not too wide a gap where the appraisal system loses its impact and role in the ongoing provision of feedback and performance improvement. The formal appraisals should be supplemented with very regular informal feedback, so that whatever is to be communicate din the formal appraisal feedback doe snot come as a surprise, but more as a summary.
If periodic formal appraisals are conducted then sales managers should recognize that there will be changes in the market environment during the appraisal period. Changes may occur in:
- the competitive environment
- the company’s own policies and strategies or organization
- sales territory workloads, boundaries of customer responsibilities
- the regulatory environment for the product categories.
Many of these changes may be outside the control of any individual salesperson, yet impact on his performance against his goal sand standards. The appraiser must make objective judgments taking account of the impact of any extrinsic changes on salesperson performance and achievements.