Every successful business leader understands the need for a motivated and focused sales team.

With so much riding on the performance of your salespeople, you need to be methodical in your leadership approach to develop a culture that stimulates intrinsic motivation and fosters self-accountability.

In this article I’ll focus on two key sales leadership strategies I’ve found to be game changers when striving to elevate your team to next-level performance.

An effective compensation plan that drives the right sales behavior coupled with a high-impact review process is a powerful combination.

Read on to gather insights on:

  • Effective sales compensation plan positioning
  • The benefits of a quarterly sales review process vs. an annual event
  • How to motivate, develop and retain top talent

Learn how to build ahigh performance sales team through my blogs.

Leveraging Key Strategies at “The Right Time”

Let’s start with the importance for how a sales leader positions their sales compensation plan rollout in correlation with their sales review process. It can be the difference maker in the success for both of them.

The sales compensation plan and sales review process are interconnected but need to be positioned separately to yield the best results.

The sales compensation plan is a tool to drive sales behaviors that align with evolving company objectives. For this reason, its roll-out traditionally occurs at the beginning of the fiscal year to ensure new strategic initiatives are immediately activated through focused sales activity plans.

Drive the right sales behavior with a strong compensation plan  If you’d like to revisit your current sales comp plan design approach, you may find a previous article I wrote helpful called, “How to Drive The Right Sales Behavior With Your Compensation Plan”.

On the other hand, a high-impact sales performance review process is an ongoing developmental experience between the sales leader and each seller. Its designed to be conducted on a quarterly basis to serve as a guiding hand that enables the salesperson to achieve their sales targets and various incentives that are woven into their compensation plan.

Contrary to what I’ve found many people think, sales performance reviews should not involve discussion around compensation increases or adjustments. In fact, your compensation plan renewal process should be an entirely separate discussion between you and your salespeople.

That said, referring to performance-based comp plan accelerators during the goal setting aspect of the sales performance review is impacting linkage. This is also the ideal time for a sales leader to take an interest in each salesperson’s personal goals, as well as guiding them to achieve their revenue objective.

Your non-sales roles can wait a year to be formerly evaluated but waiting that long to conduct a deep dive on the developmental progress of your salespeople is a recipe for disaster.

Motivating and Retaining Top Sales Talent

Applying focus on your sellers’ personal goals and career objectives is a critical aspect of the review process because it ties to employee retention. This is more important than ever as we live through periods of limited workforce availability.

Done properly, your salesperson should come out of their performance review having created an action plan to guide their next steps. Depending on the improvement areas identified, it could be a short-term monthly plan or something that spans over the next quarter.

 Develop a high-impact sales review process Failure to adequately develop your sales team can have serious repercussions. Given the high stakes, I encourage you to revisit your sales development approach by reviewing one of my prior articles called, “How to Design a High-Impact Sales Review Process”.

The high-performing stars of your team are always striving to break new ground and benefit from a sales coach who holds them accountable for the goals they set for themselves.

Similarly, your emerging performers are hungry to improve and grow in their roles. If they don’t get support from you, they can easily get drawn away by another employer with a stronger commitment toward employee development. Investing time to develop your salespeople creates stronger staff retention while also shaping your next group of high-performers.

As for your underperformers, it’s not uncommon that they are only tweaks away from improved performance with the right sales coaching. Each salesperson should leave their performance review meeting knowing what they need to focus on to improve and that you are committed to supporting their development.

Implementing Proven Sales Leadership Strategies

While implementing these strategies may seem daunting, my proven framework and significant experience deploying new programs can help you get these enhancements implemented swiftly.

Embracing these new approaches will not only bring about immediate results in terms of driving more diligent sales activity but it will help foster a culture of heightened accountability.

Learn the right time to hire a fractional sales leader

If you’d like to discuss the improvement you’re looking for in your business, contact me at (773) 203-7086 or jmcleod@salesxceleration.com.

I also welcome you to take my Sales Leadership Assessment to gain visibility into how your skills rank in 10 high-impact areas. This self-serve tool was custom developed to help you improve!

Sales Leadership Assessment


I am part of a national group of Senior Sales Leaders who collaborate to share insights like the examples shown in this article. We formed because of our shared passion to help business leaders exponentially grow their revenue.