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How to Write a Sales Rep Performance Improvement Plan

The performance of your sales professionals impacts your company’s bottom line. If you have a rep who is falling short of their sales goals, you may need to place them on a sales rep performance improvement plan (PIP). 

Every underperforming sales rep creates missed opportunities, revenue loss, and unhappy customers. If you want to improve customer satisfaction and retention for your business, you will have to take action to ensure these reps don’t continue to adversely affect your organization.

It may seem like firing them is a quick fix. It isn’t. Onboarding a new hire can be costly. A PIP is a cost-effective tool that allows you to provide better training and advance the skills of your struggling reps. 

Here’s what you need to know about writing up a PIP and ways you can help all your sales reps meet their quotas. Before you learn more about how to develop a PIP, let’s look at what this performance plan is and why it’s vital to your business.

What is a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)?

A PIP is a document written by management, outlining areas where the employee is underperforming. The employee signs the PIP agreeing to meet the goals and requirements of the plan.

These performance plans should include:

  • The precise areas where the salesperson is underperforming
  • Qualitative measures that are clear and distinct for the employee to take
  • Any resources, tools, training, and suggestions management can offer the sales rep regarding the plan

You should not use these plans to fire your staff. Instead, you should use them as development tools to help the employee improve and retain their job. 

A PIP is pivotal for a sales rep’s performance. Around 60% of employees want feedback. Yet, most managers neglect to offer appropriate feedback regarding performance and achievements. A PIP is a way for management to provide these critical insights to their sales reps.

5 Ways to Write a Performance Improvement Plan for Sales Reps   

If you want to ensure that your sales rep regains (or attains) optimal sales performance levels, you should have a structured PIP you can use on any team member who is not meeting sales objectives. You can use data metrics to help you determine how the sales reps have been underperforming. 

The image below is a sample of what a PIP should look like. However, you may find that your organization needs to include industry-specific information in your performance plans.

A performance improvement plan sample

Use this guide as an outline and modify your sales performance plans as needed for your industry. These are the areas your PIPs should cover, no matter your company’s sector of operations.

1. Evaluate Their Performance    

The first step to writing a PIP is to conduct a performance evaluation of the sales rep. Is their underperformance a chronic issue that requires correction, or is there something in their personal life impacting performance?

If it is a temporary matter, you may want to address ways to set priorities and offer resources for managing these concerns. However, if the issue is work-related, you will want to address the deficiency.  

Evaluate the rep’s strengths and weaknesses. That way, your PIP can focus on these areas. It will also help you assess whether the employee can improve these skills.

2. Develop a Precise Overview   

The PIP must be precise and concise. Vague statements will not help the rep improve the specific ways they struggle. State clearly how they are underperforming and address each area individually.

For even more clarity, review the job description and sales quotas. Ask if the rep understands how they are underperforming and answer any questions they have regarding the company’s expectations for their sales staff.  

Also, use specific examples of how the sales rep is not meeting expectations, including:

  • Missed quotas 
  • Exceeded deadlines
  • Not following procedures

Chart for how to write a PIP

3. Clearly Define Goals 

Provide your sales reps with highly targeted breakdowns of the objectives and the goals you expect every sales rep to meet. Set activity-based goals. For example, determine the minimum number of leads the salesperson should obtain each week.

4. Ensure Their PIP is Attainable    

To make the plan attainable, include the steps they should take and the KPI and metrics you expect them to hit. Discuss the training schedule for continued learning and make sure the employee can complete the training in a reasonable amount of time.

5. Establish Well-Timed Follow-Ups 

The final step to writing a PIP is to develop a timeframe you expect them to meet the standards outlined in the plan. Provide regular feedback and any additional insights to help the rep succeed in completing their performance plan. 

Along with setting up a follow-up and providing feedback, you’ll want to outline what will happen if the sales rep doesn’t meet the standards set in the PIP. If the consequence is termination, explain to the employee the steps necessary to avoid this outcome.

Data-Driven Insights Will Help You Develop Effective Performance Plans  

The most effective performance plans require data-driven insights. At Rainmaker, we drive measurable business impacts so that you can diagnose challenges your sales reps face and offer solutions to improve their performance. We can help you leverage the data metrics available from your customer relationship management software.

Schedule a meeting with one of our consultants here at Rainmaker. We can help you obtain valuable KPI insights to write effective PIPs.

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