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

The Clock Is Ticking: To Meet Sales Goals in 2017, Sales Hiring Must Be A Priority NOW

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January 2017 may sound like the distant future, but in reality it is officially less than 12 weeks away. Considering that the holidays take up the last two weeks in December, hiring managers have even less time to ensure a strong sales team is in place in order to hit 2017 sales goals.

To put it another way, hiring managers simply don’t have any time to waste when it comes to preparing for sales success in 2017. The clock is literally ticking.

Here are three reasons hiring managers need to focus on recruiting top sales professionals now in order to make 2017 the best sales year yet.


  1. Recruiting, interviewing, background checks, presenting offers to top sales managers or sales reps, along with allowing time for them to provide a 2-week notice can take up to 10-12 weeks.
  2. The closer to the holidays we get (taking into account Thanksgiving as well), the busier potential sales candidates (and hiring managers) will become. That equates to fewer opportunities for interviews, shadow-days, or sales rep ride-alongs.
  3. Many businesses prefer not to offer start dates after the first or second week of December, simply because of office closures/time off for the holidays. This year Christmas and New Year’s do happen to fall on the weekend. However, Hanukkah spans the entire week from December 24, 2016 through January 1, 2017. Therefore, it makes sense that in order to have new sales professionals hit the ground running come January, they will need to start early in November or early December.

In order to meet your sales goals in 2017, hiring managers can’t afford to be underprepared come January. It’s much easier to stay on target with your goals by starting out strong from the get-go, than it is to try to catch up later.

At Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting, we understand how crucial it is to have the best sales managers and sales reps on your team in order to reach your monthly, quarterly and annual sales goals. We are here for you today, to help you find and attract top sales professionals now, so that your sales soar in the future.

Andy Wright is the owner and an active recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Andy began his recruiting career in 2003, and has a proven track record of helping companies both large and small increase sales team retention and productivity through recruiting top talent. Prior to launching Grapevine in December of 2011, Andy held key leadership positions for two Twin Cities-based recruiting firms, training and managing teams of recruiters while developing new business and managing national account relationships. Visit, call 952.856.2371 or email

Treasure Trove: Benefits of Using Technology to Attract Talented Job Candidates, or Track Down the Best Company to Work For

By Adam Vortherms

Technology plays a vital role in virtually everything in today’s world.  As such, when utilizing technology properly (meaning as part of your recruiting or job seeking strategy, but not as your entire strategy) the benefits to both hiring managers and talents sales professionals are numerous.  Here’s a look at three of the greatest benefits hiring managers and sales superstars alike can capitalize on, through using technology to fill sales positions, or to find a new sales job.

Online Applications

Companies who are looking to attract top sales reps or sales managers need to have an online presence which welcomes top sellers at any time.  The best way for any company to do this is by having a “careers” page or tab on their website, which “sells” the company to top sales talent, by providing an overview of company culture, benefits, etc.

In addition, this page should make it easy for potential candidates to directly contact the hiring manager, and/or provide an opportunity to apply online for a position.   Given the convenience this provides to job seekers, it is not surprising that companies that provide career information on their website, typically find themselves with a larger pool of potential hires than those who do not.

Truly savvy companies are beginning to include a video link in their online applications, whereby potential candidates are asked sample interview questions, and asked to record short answers to include along with their resume or CV.  The objective in requesting these types of short video interviews along with resumes is to familiarize hiring managers with not only names, but faces of those seeking a position. The benefit to candidates in this situation is clear as they have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge, strengths, and skills applicable to the position.

Social Media

More and more, sophisticated sales companies and their respective hiring managers are interested in potential candidates’ social media pages.  The reason is simple. Social media pages may not tell the whole story of who someone is, but they can shed good insight into who a specific candidate is, beyond their resume or CV.

For example, candidates who have lengthy career histories included on social media pages, or who maintain professional online personas, are liable to get stronger consideration for an interview, than those who have nothing about their career, or worse who have provocative, discriminatory, or otherwise unflattering content on their social media pages.

Similarly, the social media pages of a sales company can provide a bit of a glimpse into how that specific company is regarded by others.  Savvy sales job seekers will always look to read reviews, check to see how popular a company’s pages are, and often read comments about a company before deciding to submit a resume or CV. Sales job seekers are also likely to visit sites where they can read reviews from employees, such as those available at Yelp!,, and the Better Business Bureau.

Video Interviews

Preliminary video interviews make sense for hiring managers considering candidates outside their local region for a couple of reasons.  First, by offering video interviews, you’re liable to be able to schedule your interviews with top talent outside of your immediate area much faster than you would if you were to rely on in-person interviews exclusively. That’s because the talented sales professionals you’re looking to attract are likely to be busy people, which can result in delays in interviewing.  By offering video interviews to candidates you’re actively seeking to attract, you provide greater flexibility for these in-demand sales candidates.

The second reason smart sales companies are utilizing preliminary video interviews to attract top talent is precisely because they do allow for access to a much larger pool of candidates.  Rather than only appealing to candidates who can easily make the drive to your office, or chosen interview venue, by offering to conduct video interviews, hiring managers immediately have access to far more potential hires.

Video interviews benefit sales job seekers as well.  The opportunity to be interviewed from your home will save you time in traveling to interviews, and money spent traveling to interviews. If you’re offered an opportunity to partake in a video interview, it is always smart to say yes.

It’s important to note, that although technology is indeed helpful to both hiring managers and sales candidates alike, that doesn’t mean that the company or candidate should rely exclusively on technology to ensure they’ve found the best candidate or the best company to join.  Hiring managers still need to perform background checks and reference checks, and should always bring clients into the office before extending an offer, to ensure that the sales candidate meshes well with other members of the team.  Sales candidates also need to insist on visiting the office in person, to get a true sense of the company culture, and to meet those you’ll be working alongside.

In order to make the most of your recruiting or job seeking strategy, it’s smart to engage the services of a highly regarded sales recruiting company.  Grapevine Targeting Sales Recruiting specializes in finding the most experienced and successful sales professionals and is committed to delivering high performance, top quality sales reps and sales managers.

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

6 Red Flags that Hiring Managers Can’t Afford to Ignore While Interviewing Sales Reps and Sales Managers

red flagThe interview process provides a one-of-a-kind window into a potential sales rep’s capabilities and personality. To a hiring manager, the interview process can also serve as an opportunity to detect any inconsistencies or mismatches in a potential sales candidate. After all, even when working with a top sales recruiting company, at the end of the day, the decision to hire a sales manager or top sales professional will be up to the hiring manager.

When it comes time to sit down for an interview with a potential employee, hiring managers can’t afford to ignore any of the following six red flags.

  1. A Lack of Timeliness

Life is unpredictable, and sometimes matters of promptness are out of an individual’s control. But, when it comes to tardiness before an interview, it can make all the difference in the world if the candidate who is running late calls ahead to warn of his or her time delay. A candidate that truly thinks ahead would factor in a cushion of time for getting lost, unexpected traffic, and the like, but at the very least a call ahead shows consideration, and respect for your time. Furthermore, if they are late to meet with you, who is to say they won’t be late to meet with potential customers?

  1. Arriving Unprepared

A talented sales candidate should know as much as possible about your company, both from working with a reputable sales recruiting company, and through additional research they have conducted about your company. Since a frequent interview question posed to candidates is, “How much do you know about our company?” A candidate may not know everything there is to know—that’s partly what interviews are for, after all—but showing initiative, and a genuine interest in what you and your company stand for, by conducting their own thorough research is a sign of a candidate’s ability to be proactive. When it comes to sales positions, candidates who are not proactive are not likely to be successful.

  1. The Candidate Has No Questions About the Sales Position

A good hiring manager tries to offer a comprehensive take on what his or her company does, but that doesn’t mean a sales representative or sales manager candidate shouldn’t have their own questions to ask. Top sales reps and managers will almost assuredly have questions they expect you, as the hiring manager to answer. When a candidate poses thoughtful questions during the interview process, it not only indicates their serious interest in the position, and the work your company does, it is also indicative that they have an inquisitive and industrious mind.

  1. Poor Self Presentation and Communication

For many job candidates, interviews can seem like a daunting process, so it’s normal to be nervous. However, this shouldn’t be the case for a potential sales rep or sales manager. After all, if they can’t sell themselves, how can they sell your products or services? A talented sales professional will be dressed sharply, prepared, and enthused about the work your company does. Thus they should have confidence shining through. Sales reps and sales managers should also be able to communicate clearly, calmly, and with confidence in their capabilities, and their ability to succeed in the sales position they are pursuing.

  1. The Candidate Provides No Concrete Details

Take heed to look for concrete examples that clearly and concisely serve as proof of a sales candidate’s experience and successes. If a sales rep led a campaign at his/her previous employment, what were the specific figures? How many people did the sales manager oversee? How much revenue was generated? How many accounts has he/she brought in? A track record of success should be rooted in specific details, not nebulous figures.

  1. The Candidate Failed to Close

Everyone knows that first impressions are important, but the final impression that a sales candidate leaves can be just as telling. This is especially true when it comes to sales reps, as being a successful closer is vital to generating sales for your company. Does the candidate ask for the business cards of all those present for the interview? Does he/she address any concerns or remaining questions that a hiring manager might have? Does the candidate finish with a strong handshake and assurance to follow-up? If a potential sales rep or sales manager can’t close you, they’re not going to close sales for your company either.

Even if a candidate has come highly recommended and vetted by an experienced, reputable sales recruiting company, the hiring manager will ultimately be responsible for deciding on whether or not a potential sales rep or sales manager will help to meet the goals of the company. Keeping an eye out for the above red flags can make a hiring manager’s job far easier, as the strongest sales candidate for the position will stand apart from the pack.

Andy Wright is the owner and an active recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Andy began his recruiting career in 2003, and has a proven track record of helping companies both large and small increase sales team retention and productivity through recruiting top talent.  Prior to launching Grapevine in December of 2011, Andy held key leadership positions for two Twin Cities-based search firms, training and managing teams of recruiters while developing new business and managing national account relationships. Visit, call 952.856.2371 or