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How to Balance Individual Sales Performance with Team Success in Salesforce

Adopting Salesforce is more than a question of updating your sales team’s technology. It’s also a question of shifting how you think about and measure the performance of both individual salespeople and the sales team as a whole.

To maximize the ROI your organization sees from Salesforce, it’s essential to find ways to both motivate individual salespeople and coax top results from the team as a whole. Here are four practical strategies for making that happen.

(Learn more: 4 Ways Salesforce Architects Can Improve Your Company’s Speed to ROI)

1: “If it’s Not in Salesforce, it Doesn’t Exist”

Before you can worry about the balance between individual motivation and team performance, you have to make sure everyone on the team has fully adopted Salesforce. Part of the promise of Salesforce is that it can both make individual sellers more efficient and improve overall ROI, largely through better access to data.

But if people aren’t using Salesforce to log their activity, that data will be incomplete and therefore less powerful and less able to improve outcomes.

The solution is for managers to adopt the attitude that if it’s not in Salesforce, it doesn’t exist. In practice, this might mean… 

  • Running pipeline meetings in Salesforce.
  • Basing commissions only on what’s logged in Salesforce.
  • Relying on reports and dashboards that only include Salesforce data.

When that piece of the puzzle is in place, it’s time to look at what you’re measuring in the platform.

2: Choose the Right Metrics to Track

Choosing the right metrics is simple in concept but can be complex in practice. You have to choose the right metrics for both individual salespeople and the team as a whole and you have to make sure those two sets of metrics aren’t at odds.

So what makes something the “right” metric? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Individual goals must be things individuals have control over. Calls logged is a great example: each individual salesperson has complete control over how many sales calls they log each day or week. If you hold individuals accountable for company-wide metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS), they’ll end up feeling frustrated because their individual actions won’t directly change that number immediately.
  • Individual and team goals can’t be at odds. For example, if you’re measuring individuals on how many multi-product deals they do in a month, it doesn’t make sense to evaluate the team on how many opportunities get entered into the system. The individual is incentivized to enter a five-product opportunity, but that could hurt the team goal, which would be better served by entering those five opportunities separately.
  • All goals must truly be leading indicators of performance. This is critically important and may require some trial and error to get right. Let’s say you’re tracking sales calls logged each month and everyone on your team is improving: more and more calls are being made – but your revenue numbers haven’t changed. That’s a signal that sales calls logged isn’t a key performance indicator (i.e., a leading indicator of performance) and therefore shouldn’t be one of the metrics you track.

As I mentioned, the process of identifying the right metrics can be complex. If you haven’t done this in the past, it’s a great place to collaborate with someone who has. While you may still modify what you track in the future, you’ll save time by starting with KPIs likely to work for your situation.

3: Empower Individuals and Teams to Succeed

If you want to inspire your team to perform at the top of its game, you have to first make sure everyone on the team has the tools and knowledge they need. At the most basic level, that means every salesperson has been fully onboarded to Salesforce and feels comfortable asking questions and getting help on an ongoing basis.

Once you’ve laid that groundwork, it’s time to make sure your Salesforce org uses functions and features designed to support individual performance. There are many of these, including auto call logging, task reminders, email integration, guided selling, “guidance for success” tips, and more.

Making sure these functions and features are available sets each individual salesperson up to take maximum advantage of the Salesforce platform.

It’s also crucial to ensure that everyone on the team can see where they stand and where the team as a whole stands. That means creating reports and dashboards that everyone knows how to access and interpret. Real-time dashboards offer constant feedback so team members can adjust their work as needed to meet their goals.

(Learn more: The Power behind Salesforce Dashboards)

Finally, to balance individual and team-wide performance, it helps to bake collaboration into the way you operate. Salesforce offers several collaboration features like Chatter, Quip, and Opportunity Teams that let entire teams (including pre-sales support staff, account managers, technical experts, and salespeople) work together on a single opportunity.

Outside Salesforce, tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator and ExecAtlas from Equilar can help teams share knowledge and connections to improve outcomes for everyone.

4: Find Incentives that Work for Your Team

All sales managers have to find the incentives that inspire their teams to perform. That doesn’t change when you manage your team in Salesforce – but the platform does give you more options.

One example: you can create Wall of Fame and Wall of Shame dashboards. The Wall of Fame can call out either specific wins in real time or a list of the most successful salespeople in the last month. It’s one version of a classic sales leaderboard. The Wall of Shame, on the other hand, might display the names of anyone who hasn’t logged on in the last 10 days.

I will note that the Wall of Shame should be used with caution. It’s not a cultural fit for every organization. If you do use it, be sure to track only things that are fully within team members’ control (e.g., number of logins, not opportunity amounts).

Another classic incentive is to base commissions or bonuses solely on information entered in Salesforce. (This also helps reinforce that if things aren’t in Salesforce, they don’t exist.)

To promote collaboration, you might reward anyone on a team where every member has sent a Chatter message in the last week. (This would work well if you’ve determined that the most successful accounts are ones with true cross-functional collaboration.)

To Optimize Salesforce ROI, Balance Culture, Incentives, and Metrics

The ROI gains Salesforce promises are substantial – and they require significant effort to realize. In some cases, you’ll have to rethink KPIs, incentives, and even your team’s culture to make sure you’re seeing as much benefit as possible from Salesforce.

But because of the ways Salesforce can truly transform your outcomes, that effort is worthwhile.If you’re not sure where to start or have questions about how to balance individual and team incentives in your organization, let me know. I’d love to have a conversation about what changes might help.

Meet the Author: Shawn McCormick, Senior Director of Salesforce Practice

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Shawn is a senior leader in our Salesforce Practice. He provides strategic leadership to our project teams and helps our customers continuously realize business value from their Salesforce investment. His approach to transformation couples process optimization, data-driven insights and innovative Salesforce features to achieve the client’s business objectives.

Prior to joining Saggezza, Shawn held Salesforce consulting and leadership positions at several global consultancies.

Business photo created by rawpixel.com – www.freepik.com

Saggezza is a proven technology and consulting partner that delivers personalized, high-value solutions to accelerate business growth.

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