Sales Rep Reviews: Tips for Providing First Rate Performance Reviews

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By Adam Vortherms

As a Sales Manager or HR Manager charged with providing performance reviews of your sales professionals, your reps are counting on you to conduct a fair, thoughtful, and helpful analysis of their work. From recognizing strengths, to providing constructive criticism, Sales Managers and HR Managers need to know how to conduct sales rep reviews that will leave team members encouraged and inspired to continually improve.

The following best practices should be used by Sales Managers or HR Managers so that your sales pros receive reviews that make them want to keep shooting for the stars.

  • Inform and Educate
    Make sure your sales rep is aware of how their performance will be evaluated. This includes educating them on the specific criteria which is being used to assess their performance.
  • Create an Atmosphere Conducive to Open Communication
    Setting a tone of collaboration, where your sales rep knows that the review isn’t a lecture, but is instead a discussion, will open the lines of communication.  This is particularly beneficial to sales reps who have questions or concerns, but may otherwise be afraid to ask or address them.  By making it known that this review is a two-way discussion, you’re liable to get your reps to open up and share their ideas or ask questions freely.
  • Encourage Self Evaluation
    By urging your sales professionals to honestly examine and evaluate their own performance, your reps have the opportunity to illuminate their strengths and weaknesses as they see them.  This way, a collaborative plan for improvement can be created.
  • Keep It Concise, Direct, Factual and Detail Oriented
    Performance reviews are not a time for generalizations.  Cite specific examples of areas needing improvement, or recognize specific accomplishments, goals achieved, etc.  This will demonstrate your personal attention and dedication to helping them build upon existing strengths, thereby reaching new levels of success.
  • Choose and Document Your Words Carefully
    It is vital that all points discussed in a performance review are documented. It is also crucial that you pay attention to the language you use in documentation, to ensure that the words cannot be misconstrued should an employee file a grievance.
  • Stay Focused on Setting Goals
    The desired outcome of any performance review is to establish new goals for your sales rep.  New benchmarks could be clearly spelled out, so that expectations are understood and agreed upon.  All newly created goals should be documented and discussed thoroughly before the review is finished.

At Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting, we understand how crucial it is to have the very best sales managers and sales reps on your team in order to reach your sales goals. As part of your strategy for attracting and retaining the best sales professional in the business, you’ll need to make sure that you put personal attention into each performance review you provide.

If you’re in need of top sales reps or sales managers to join your team, contact us today. Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting helps businesses from diverse industries to maximize sales, through providing premier sales recruitment services.

Adam Vortherms is a recruiting manager at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Visit , call 952.856.2371 or email

Onboarding New Sales Professionals in 2017: Tips to Ensure a Seamless Start, and Set the Stage for Future Success

By Cole DeCathelineau

With a New Year underway, all sales companies will be counting on the efforts of individual sales reps, in order to attain overall monthly, quarterly, and annual sales goals. Indeed, without the success of your individual sales pros, your company as a whole simply cannot thrive. Clearly, this means that all new hires who are joining your team this year will need to be brought up to speed as soon as possible. Therefore, as the hiring manager or HR manager, the onus is on you to ensure that all new hires are properly welcomed, introduced, and provided with all tools for success that they could possibly need, in effort to begin producing as soon as possible. In other words, you’re going to need a strong onboarding program.

So, what does your onboarding program need to include to ensure that your new hires are successful from the start? Below is a step-by-step checklist of vital components that must be included in your onboarding program, so that your sales professionals have the best chance for success in 2017.

* Map out your new sales rep’s first day

* Disseminate a welcome email/introduction to existing sales team members

* Provide an orientation tour of the office/location

* Familiarize new hires with their workspace and equipment (computer, phone, desk, corporate credit card, etc.)

* Introduce newest member to all team members

* Introduce new sales hires to tools and technology they’ll be using

* Participate in a successful first assignment

* Review expectations/ sales goals (monthly, quarterly, yearly)

* Plan the employee’s next few days (include several shadow days, joint assignments with experienced, successful team members, etc.)

* Schedule ride alongs with Senior Sales Reps

* Continue to meet with your new sales hire daily throughout the week, to promote open communication, and ensure that no questions are going unanswered

* Go over book of business (dormant and active accounts)

* Determine territory and identify areas to capture new business

* Engage in role playing with products

* Review and evaluate the onboarding program with your new hire after one week

There’s no denying the fact that making your new sales reps feel welcomed, but perhaps more importantly, poised for success, will take time and effort on your part. However, the process can be greatly streamlined if you choose to utilize smart onboarding software.

Onboarding software programs are frankly invaluable when it comes to helping you to map out your program. From guiding you through precisely what needs to take place and when, to helping you track your new hire’s progress, to evaluating the success of your onboarding efforts, HR managers, Sales Managers, and Hiring Managers should not go without this valuable assistance. In fact, these programs exist specifically to make sure that you don’t overlook any

critical steps when it comes to ushering in your next top producer. If you don’t currently have onboarding software, a list of ten of the most highly reviewed onboarding software programs can be found here.

With a brand new year laden with opportunities for breaking all previous sales records upon us, there’s no time like the present to take your onboarding program to the next level. By putting forth the effort to position your new sales professionals for success now, you’re sure to see the results you’re looking for in the days, weeks, and months to come.

If you’re looking to recruit outstanding sales reps or an experienced sales manager to join your team in 2017, contact us today. Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting is a top sales recruiting company, with a proven track record for success, in helping businesses of all sizes and across all industries to take their sales success to new heights through the recruitment of top sales reps and sales managers.

Cole DeCathelineau is a professional sales recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting.

Visit , call 952.856.2194 or email

Hiring Sales Reps in The New Year: An Interview Checklist for 2017

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By Adam Vortherms

It’s no secret that sales companies do a lot of hiring at the start of the New Year. With that in mind, here is a valuable checklist Hiring Managers can refer to, in order thin the herd of candidates, come hiring time in January.

  1. Did the sales candidate come prepared?

Readiness is a sign that a sales candidate takes this opportunity seriously—a good omen for a future hire. Did the candidate come prepared to professionally engage with your hiring team? Did he or she bring a hard copy of their resume or portfolio? Did they dress appropriately and professionally? Do they show a basic understanding and knowledge of your company and your goals? Well-prepared candidates are easy to spot—they are more engaged and can directly relate their own experiences to your expectations and goals.

  1. Did the sales candidate ask appropriate questions?

At the end of most interviews, most Hiring Managers will likely ask potential candidates whether they have any questions. Oftentimes, this prime opportunity for a candidate to show preparedness and interest in a company is sorely missed. The wise candidate will ask questions to signal to Hiring Managers that they’ve thoughtfully considered the position they’ve applied for, with queries along the lines of: What’s the company culture like? Are there opportunities for growth? What’s typical management style?

  1. Did the sales candidate relate their own professional experience to the role he or she is applying for?

The most successful sales job candidates are ones who can specifically and concretely relate their prior professional experiences to what’s required in the potential position. Any candidate can profess to have a host of positive attributes—hardworking, dedicated, etc.—but thoughtful candidates won’t stop there. Instead, they’ll use examples from their professional experience to demonstrate said attributes, and prove how they will help your company to reach your sales goals. Even if their prior experience isn’t directly related to your specific industry, top sales rep candidates can still illustrate strong sales acumen by relaying past successes.

  1. Is the candidate someone I would buy from personally?

This is often the x-factor that pushes successful sales candidates over the edge compared to their competition. A long list of prior experiences pales when the candidate comes off as unlikable or as someone you wouldn’t want to work with on a daily basis. Use the interview to assess the candidate’s personality and likeability—are they making an effort to connect on a personal level? Are they displaying the right mood and temperament for an interview setting? Do they seem genuine and trustworthy? Is the sales candidate a good listener, as well as a likeable conversation partner? After all, people buy from people they like and trust.

At Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting, we understand how crucial it is to have the very best sales managers and sales reps on your team in order to reach your sales goals.  If you’re in need of recruiting top sales performers to join your team in 2017, contact us today. Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting helps companies across all industries to maximize sales, through providing a comprehensive and selective recruitment process to ensure that an outstanding sales professional is available to you for hiring.

Adam Vortherms is a recruiting manager at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Visit , call 952.856.2371 or email

11 Things Leaders Need to Talk About When They Meet With Their Staff


A few years back I wrote an article called Stop Having Status Meetings! 5 Better Things to do Instead.

Status updates squander time that could be spent using your team as a team. At the bottom of that article I mentioned 11 things to do instead of reporting status.

Now, I want to use this article to elaborate on these 11 things.

Discussion to drive the business forward

Getting your team together offers a precious opportunity to focus the team energy on great discussions that will drive the business forward.

Learn what people really think. Have debates. As a leader you need these conversations to make you smarter and to inform which direction you should be taking the team and the business.

Here are 11 ideas of great things you can do with staff meeting time.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are just some ideas to get you thinking about higher value conversations you can have with your team.

1. What are the key outcomes we are on the hook for?

How will we know if we are achieving them?

It’s really worth putting this question of key outcomes out there, and aligning on both the list and what the measures are. You will be surprised how many different opinions will exist if you haven’t had this discussion already.

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The Secret Formula to Making Workplace Incentives Work

businessman drawing chartBy

Whether or not incentive programs are effective has been a long standing question, spanning multiple academic disciplines.

Some point to studies demonstrating the motivational potential of performance incentives, while others point to a “crowding-out” of intrinsic motivation when incentives are present.

Given the data that has amassed on either side of the debate, where do we stand today?

When do incentives become more effective?

Some recent research may help shed light on this question. Using a field experiment to assess the conditions when incentives become more or less effective, several interesting findings emerged.

First, the authors found that the use of monetary incentives alone actually contributed to decreased performance, where the task was simple data entry of sports data in exchange for base plus piece-rate pay. Initially, one might assume that incentives crowd out the intrinsic interest and value that workers may place in a task.

A second set of findings, though, provides some more color to that conclusion. The researchers found that incentives, when combined with motivational language, actually resulted in improved performance, in terms of both quality and quantity of work.

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Why Company Culture is Essential for a Successful Business

15 Website ServicesEvery company has it’s own unique culture, made up of the working environment, the special ways that things are done and the people who make up the team. The culture of a company can affect lots of aspects of the business, from talent attraction and the retention of existing staff, to the brand’s reputation among the public and the industry.

The company culture plays a large role in your job satisfaction, as if the work environment doesn’t match your personality and working style you could experience a clash of interests. Therefore, for a business to build a workforce of staff who are motivated to achieve their best and are going to stay with the company long term, it’s important that they hire people based on their culture fit.

This infographic from Washington State University explains just how important company culture is and the impact that it can have on employee happiness and attracting the top talent to the organisation.

A few examples of a really strong company culture

  • Walt Disney Corporation are one of the most widely known brands in the world and they have built a fantastic employer brand by getting their employees involved.  The brand focuses on making dreams come true, so staff are trained to treat all of their guests like royalty.
  • focus on providing exceptional customers service and one of their employees volunteers at Ronald McDonald housing, making balloon animals for kids.

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7 Secrets to Retaining Your Talent in 2016

In the much-touted war for talent, we often forget to look inside our organisations and realise the potential we have — until the moment we get that resignation across our desks. And at that point, it’s far too late. As a talent advisor, what can and should you be doing to make sure that those moments are few and far between?

Here are seven things you can start doing tomorrow that will not only attract the best talent, but will also make sure the best people in your organisation stay happy, motivated and (most importantly) with you.

1. Know your talent.

The first step to talent retention is talent identification. It sounds simple, but it is the area where most organisations fall down. Most talent identification processes merely skim the surface. They’re short term, risk adverse and highly subjective. How can you retain what you cannot see? Identify your future workforce needs and think about your skills shortages: This is about the future as well as the now.

2. Take risks.

When you take someone and place them in a genuine stretch assignment, you not only motivate them — you motivate everyone around them. Take a few risks, appoint people before they’re 100 percent ready, and back yourself to make the right choices. Demonstrate that talent really does progress around here and that success is rewarded quickly.

3. Break pay structures.

Most organisational pay structures reward longevity and external experience. This means if they’re home grown talent, they’re probably being paid under the market rate. If they want to get a big raise, they’ll need to leave. You’re going to have to break some of those internal mechanisms if you really want to retain your top talent. Time to crack open the piggy bank.

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The Best Thing You Can Ask Employees to Keep Them Engaged

Business People Walking Outdoors the Way ForwardBy Eric Chester

A great workplace culture does more than merely share timely and relevant information with its employee — it goes to great lengths to listen to them and digest that feedback.

Employee surveys can be useful tools, but by themselves, they’re not enough to truly know what your people are thinking.

There’s no survey, assessment, or digital app in the world that can take the place of a manager finding a few moments of quiet, pulling one of her employees aside, and asking, “Hey, how are you making out around here? What kinds of dragons have you had to slay today? Do you have all the tools and resources you need? Are you seeing any challenges on the horizon that you’re going to need help with? What can I do to support you?

And once employees start to open up, the most important thing the manager can do is to shut up, listen, take notes, and then take action.

Bill Marriott on keeping employees engaged

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7 Podcasts to improve your work life

Whether you’re looking for tips and tricks from some of the most successful people in the world, unique and interesting info to share at the water cooler, or just something fun to have on in the background while you hammer out a menial task, here are seven podcasts to help you get through the workday.

1. Working

If you’ve ever been at a party where you didn’t know a lot of people, you’ve probably asked and been asked “What do you do?” And while this question is typically answered with a job title and a one-sentence summary, some jobs warrant a little more detail. Each episode of “Working” focuses on the typical routines of a day in the life of someone with a unique job. For example, the first episode detailed Stephen Colbert’s average workday. Others include occupations as diverse as an inner-city doctor, a 54-year-old rock guitarist, a child-abuse detective, a stand-up comedian, a bail bondsman, a helicopter paramedic, and a porn star.

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How to deal with toxic stress

BY Dr Cris Beer

It’s easy to write it off as just an unavoidable part of life, but stress is its own poison and the root cause of many of the illnesses we face.

Stress is toxic. So toxic that it poisons your body and mind to the point where you can be totally debilitated. Worst of all, the effects seem to creep up on you and leave you feeling worn out, depressed, anxious and overweight. In short, stress can kill you softly.

It’s been estimated that 60 to 80 per cent of all the reasons that people see a GP are due to stress-related conditions. These include fatigue, headaches, an inability to lose weight, mental health issues, insomnia, digestive issues, muscle tension, difficulties conceiving, recurrent infections, and even high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.

Such health issues can take time to recover from, depending on how long you’ve been under stress and the type you’ve been experiencing. The worse types are repeated stress and chronic stress. So what exactly are these and how do you avoid them?

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