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7 Sales Performance Review Examples & Tips

Illustration of a chart, pencil and sales performance review metrics
Sales performance reviews can be a path to growth, but only if you approach them with an open mind and a lot of empathy. [Studio Science]

Giving constructive, actionable feedback is a crucial way to support your sales reps. Here's how to do it right.

No three words on a calendar invite can cause nerves like “sales performance review.” And sales reps aren’t the only ones who worry about these conversations. Performance reviews can be just as daunting for sales leaders.

Instead of dreading performance review time, treat it as a valuable chance to connect one-on-one with your sales reps. With the right approach and preparation, performance reviews can be an opportunity for sales leaders to foster better communication, clearer alignment, and deeper trust with their reps.

In this article, we share real-world sales performance review examples that can help you learn how to foster a culture of transparency, alignment, and growth.

What you’ll learn:

Make your enablement about results, not effort 

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What is a sales performance review?

A sales performance review is a one-to-one meeting where sales managers and reps discuss sales performance, productivity, goals, and career development. Performance reviews can be conducted yearly or quarterly. If done right, both parties walk away with a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and an action plan for long-term success.

It’s important to remember that reviews are a two-way conversation. For sales reps, it’s their chance to actively participate and share their perspective. They get to voice how the sales strategies are working in the field, discuss their own experiences, and pinpoint what support or resources they might need for better performance. It’s a space for them to influence their career trajectory and contribute to refining sales tactics.

For managers, performance reviews are a way to collect direct feedback from sellers on how your sales strategy has played out on the front lines and to pinpoint opportunities for better communication or efficiency.

This collaborative approach puts both on a path to mutual understanding and growth.

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Why sales performance reviews are important

Data from Gartner notes that almost 90% of sellers feel burned out at work, 54% are actively looking for a new job, and 67% think sales leadership is overly optimistic and disconnected from selling realities. This tells us two things: 1) retaining talent has become more difficult, and 2) connecting with sales reps is key to retention, motivation, and trust.

When it comes to your bottom line, everything leads back to employee engagement. When employees are uninspired, undervalued, or don’t have the tools they need to be successful, your bottom line suffers.

If you want to improve everything from your pipeline velocity to compensation plans to retention rates and skill development, you have to prioritize your performance review process. The performance review also gives managers a chance to praise employees for the things they’re doing right and document it formally. This can go a long way toward making an employee feel seen and boost engagement.

We’ll share some valuable sales performance review examples later so you can see this in practice.

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How to lead a sales performance review

Leading a performance review effectively requires a blend of preparation, clear communication, and empathy. Here’s how to approach the sales performance review with a step-by-step structure so the conversation is productive, fair, and focused on growth.

1. Begin with preparation

Start by gathering feedback from various sources to get a comprehensive view of the employee’s performance. Assess their current responsibilities and role within the organization to ensure the review is relevant and constructive. Developing a rubric based on established performance standards will guide you in providing objective and fair feedback. Preparing notes or a script in advance can help structure the conversation so all key points are addressed.

2. Lead with empathy

Embrace the golden rule by treating everyone with respect. This is a crucial approach, especially in challenging reviews. Be present and check your distractions at the door. Turn your phone off or leave it in your office. Practice active listening and ask questions to understand where reps are coming from. Begin each review by emphasizing that it’s an opportunity for growth and better communication. This transparency fosters an atmosphere of trust and open dialogue, which means the review process will be seen as constructive and supportive. Leading with empathy underlines the importance of respect and mutual understanding throughout the performance discussion.

3. Re-align on performance expectations

Alignment on KPIs and other metrics should be established well before the review period, but this is a good time to reiterate them. A rep could think they’re doing awesome, knocking out 40 calls a day, when the expectation is really 100 calls.

Also, keep in mind that it’s convenient, maybe even tempting, to measure performance based on numbers alone, but this isn’t always a realistic measure of skill or talent. As you align, be sure to address a rep’s strategies along with their results. Don’t just talk about targets they hit or missed. Talk about how they shot the arrow. Understanding their approach can help you create a coaching plan to build or strengthen their skills.

4. Start with the positive and share feedback openly

Kick off the review by acknowledging the employee’s strengths and recent achievements. This reinforcement sets a positive tone for the discussion that follows. It’s crucial that any critical feedback provided during the review reflects ongoing conversations and eliminates surprises. This step reinforces the importance of continuous feedback, making the formal review a summary of past discussions rather than a session of new revelations.

5. Encourage self-reflection

Instead of just giving feedback, help the employee reflect on their performance. Start by asking questions like, “How do you feel about your recent projects?” or, “What do you think are your biggest strengths and areas for growth?” This invites them to be an active participant in their review. It helps them internalize your feedback and creates a sense of ownership over their professional development. Plus, you might gain valuable insights from their perspective that you hadn’t considered.

6. Take the opportunity to provide coaching

As a sales leader, it’s your job to lead. Set aside a portion of the review to coach your reps. When you feel like you’re on the same page about what’s been working and what needs to improve, help your reps make a plan they can act on.

7. Envision what future success looks like together

It’s important to align job descriptions with clear, high-performance standards. While you’ve likely already implemented an organization-wide rubric to ensure consistent, fair, and unbiased evaluations, keep in mind that individual reps need individualized targets. Integrate organizational and individual target metrics into a single source of truth for transparent tracking. Communicate regularly, providing every member of your team with a clear, actionable roadmap for success. This approach ensures everyone understands and works towards shared goals with an emphasis on equity and clarity.

8. Use software to improve performance reviews

Sales is fundamentally about numbers and efficiency. Using the right tools can improve performance reviews, too. CRMs provide a clear view of customer interactions and sales progress, highlighting areas for coaching. Integrating these insights can streamline training, improving sales enablement strategies. Also, dashboards in CRMs visualize performance metrics, simplifying data analysis.

An even bigger benefit of modern performance tech: With the rise of AI in sales, performance reviews become an opportunity to distinguish between high and low performers through AI-driven analysis, allowing you to focus on the metrics that matter. Plus, you can use the review and training sessions to get your team up to speed on generative AI tools that support sales efforts, which makes everything from daily sales tasks to closing deals more efficient.

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7 sales performance review examples

At its heart, a performance review is about assessing your team’s performance based on established criteria. With the right approach, you can turn these reviews into opportunities for meaningful conversations that encourage self-reflection and help everyone align on next steps. Here are some sales performance review examples to guide you:

1. Overall performance summary

Look at the comprehensive impact of a salesperson on team goals and organizational objectives. This review includes an assessment of individual accomplishments, alignment with KPIs, and areas needing enhancement.

  • Positive feedback example: “Shows an excellent ability to align personal sales strategies with evolving market trends, significantly enhancing client acquisition rates.”
  • Improvement feedback example“Needs to better adapt strategies to market changes, ensuring more consistent alignment with current sales trends.”

2. Sales quota attainment

Review each rep’s performance in meeting or surpassing their sales quotas to gauge their deal-closing effectiveness and revenue contribution.

  • Positive feedback example: “Exceeds monthly and quarterly sales goals by at least 10% consistently by strategically targeting high-value clients and sectors.”
  • Improvement feedback example: “Could benefit from setting more clearly defined monthly goals and developing a structured plan to achieve them.”

3. Customer relationship-building

Evaluate how effectively a salesperson builds and maintains relationships with clients. This includes their ability to understand client needs, maintain ongoing communication, and foster long-term, loyal partnerships.

  • Positive feedback example: “Received multiple emails from clients noting positive engagement. Demonstrates a strong ability to build and nurture client relationships, leading to increased client retention and satisfaction.”
  • Improvement feedback example: “Several opportunities at follow-up emails were missed this quarter. Could enhance customer relationship-building by deepening understanding of client needs and improving consistency in follow-up communications.”

4. Team collaboration

Evaluate how effectively the rep collaborates with other departments, like marketing or customer support, to share insights and create a cohesive customer experience.

  • Positive feedback example: “Led cross-functional sync this quarter without direction from leadership. Overall, shows exceptional ability in collaborating with marketing and customer support teams, enhancing the overall customer journey and experience.”
    Improvement feedback example“Could enhance team collaboration by actively participating in weekly team discussions on improving the funnel and sharing insights more frequently.”

5. Sales presentation skills

Look at each rep’s proficiency in delivering compelling presentations that are tailored to the audience’s needs. Assess their ability to highlight product benefits effectively.

  • Positive feedback example“Skillfully communicates product benefits to clients, uses customer language fluently, and leaves space for questions.”
  • Improvement feedback example“Conveying complex product information in simpler terms would enhance client understanding and engagement.”

6. Time management and efficiency

Assess how effectively the seller manages their time and efficiently progresses through the sales cycle. This includes their ability to prioritize tasks, handle multiple clients simultaneously, and minimize wasted time while ensuring each client interaction is meaningful and productive.

  • Positive feedback example: “Expertly juggles 10+ client accounts while maintaining high-quality interactions. Time to close is above average for the team.”
  • Improvement feedback example“Could benefit from implementing structured daily planning and prioritizing high-impact activities, aiming to reduce time spent on less productive tasks.”

7. Product knowledge

Review their understanding of the product or service, including features, benefits, and how they compare to competitors.

  • Positive feedback example: “Displays extensive knowledge of the product features and functions — including those for new releases — confidently addressing detailed client inquiries and boosting sales conversions.”
  • Improvement feedback example: “A deeper understanding of specific product features would enhance the ability to address targeted client queries.”

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Strengthen your team with sales performance reviews

Sales performance reviews are more than a managerial task. They’re a chance to build stronger connections with your team. By approaching these discussions with the right mix of honesty, empathy, and strategy, you and your team can leave feeling valued, heard, and enthusiastic about the journey ahead.

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Michael Windeler, Honeywell
Michael Windeler Senior Operations and Business Transformation Leader, Honeywell More by Michael

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