A continuous improvement plan is used in nearly every industry to bring gradual, ongoing improvements to behaviors, processes, and services through a set of specific activities.
In sales, it’s easy to measure success based on the number of deals a rep closes. And that’s important! However, it’s also important to remember that deals come and go, but coaching to change specific sales behaviors actually develops reps.
To that end, let’s jump into what you should include in a continuous improvement plan for your reps:
Continuous Improvement Plan vs. Performance Improvement Plan
They sound similar, right? But don’t get a continuous improvement plan confused with a performance improvement plan:
- A continuous improvement plan is a set of daily, weekly, and ongoing coaching strategies that develop sales reps.
- A performance improvement plan (PIP) is used when a rep isn’t meeting their performance expectations. A PIP sets clear expectations for behavioral changes, overall time frames, and performance metrics to prove that changes are happening.
Although they are different, they share several similarities:
- Metrics: Metrics are sales rep behaviors, so there must be a system in place that tracks whether they are hitting expected numbers on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
- Goals: Based on the metrics, goals are set up to get the rep performing at an expected level and contributing to the team.
- Plans of action: If those goals are being met, that’s great! A new plan of action can either sustain the activity for the next quarter or challenge the rep to excel. But if goals aren’t being met, a PIP might need to be put in place.
Whether it’s to improve or develop their reps, more sales organizations are using intelligence tools to make data-informed decisions.
A Brief Guide to Continuous Improvement Plans
A continuous improvement plan is based on the data gathered from a rep’s performance metrics. On a weekly or biweekly 1:1 meeting cadence, sales reps and managers meet to discuss where the rep excels and where they need to improve.
In other words, they need to work together to implement coaching strategies.
Ultimately, your goal is to make life as easy as possible for your managers, which can mean enabling them with the right sales management tools. According to the CSO Insights Fifth Annual Sales Enablement Study, sales enablement helps meet revenue goals, increase dynamic sales process maturity levels, and much more.
Once your sales managers have intelligence tools in place, their role in a continuous improvement plan might look something like this:
- Observing the data visualizations to understand which key performance indicators (KPIs) have dipped.
- Orienting to identify the performance issues that are contributing to the dip.
- Deciding with the sales rep what will drive resolution.
- Acting on the decision to resolve the problem.
- Looping back to determine if the process worked and how it can be improved.
A continuous improvement plan is an ongoing process. Think of each meeting feeding into the next so managers can track progress and adjust when necessary.
Create a Data-Driven Continuous Improvement Plan with Atrium
Without data, a continuous improvement plan is based on hunches that may or may not be right.
To make coaching a serious part of ongoing rep development, you need a data-driven sales management platform that collects data on performance metrics, creates visualizations of dips in performance, and shows management precisely where to coach.
Sign up for Atrium in less than 90 seconds here. 🚀
Excited to learn more about threading coaching into the daily efforts of your sales teams? Check out our Masterclass on Sales Coaching.