Use 360 Reviews To Optimize Global Sales

How to Use 360 Reviews 

Use 360 Reviews To Optimize Global Sales - Part I360 reviews and feedback tools are typically used for individual assessments, but did you know you could use them to assess team competencies as well?

Imagine this: Company has three core products: Product A, Product B, and Product C. All core products do equally well in the domestic market, but only Product A consistently sells abroad. Management knows there is a legitimate market for these products in other regions. Assuming Product B and Product C are equal in quality to international competitors, the logical conclusion is the fault must lie in the global sales representatives.

It’s tempting to sit on the sales numbers and draw final conclusions. Regional Office A is doing poorly in Product C, they must have bad hires. Or, Regional Office B is doing poorly in Product B, they must have a bad supervisor. But while it takes many things to create success, failure can be caused by one misaligned key component, be it training, management, or experience.

Recently, a client of ours sought to solve the problem through divide and conquer: since the quality of management can be difficult to asses—especially faraway headquarters—our client sought to first address the issue of training: did all global sales representatives have adequate training in all products? And if they didn’t, was this because of individual or systematic reasons?

The Challenge

Time-Consuming with No Automation. This was not the first year this company has tried to conduct a salesforce assessment. They had previously conducted their survey through Excel, which restricted data input to one file and was not scalable.

Unclear Metric. The company also did not have a clear pre-established quantitative metric to define expertise. They wanted to find out both the sales representatives technical knowledge and familiarity with the product (comfort level of discussing the product with the customer) but were unsure how to create a comprehensive metric that covered both areas.

Accurate Assessment. It is difficult to accurately assess soft-skills like expertise and experience. Even if the individual sales representative may report he or she is an expert in a given product, this may not actually be reflective of reality. The company needed a way to overcome the inherent problem in self-reporting.

The Solution – Repurposing A 360 feedback tool

Employing an Assessment-Specific Tool

Instead of using one Excel sheet to track individual interviews, the company decided to use QuestionPro Workforce, an online internal survey tool. QuestionPro Workforce drastically improved the assessment experience by doing the following:

Automate Survey Delivery. The assessment was delivered automatically to each individual sale representative’s email as a link that could be accessed as many time as necessary. The survey auto-saved their progress, allowing them to fill out the survey over multiple sessions, which reduces survey fatigue and allows for greater fidelity.

Set multiple levels of feedback. Using QuestionPro Workforce, the company was able to solicit both supervisor feedback and self-assessment feedback from the same survey using the 360 feedback tool. Multiple levels of feedback allow for a more comprehensive and thorough assessment of an individual’s skill.

Track completion rate. The 360 survey was kept open for a month, during which the admin user could track the status of each individual. This made it easy for the admin to identify whose data was missing from the exercise.

Automated reminders. QuestionPro Workforce automatically sent a set of three  reminders, which helped achieve a high completion rate.
Create an automated report. QuestionPro Workforce automatically generated a pdf report that not only details each question’s scoring but also pulls out the five highest scoring areas and five lost scoring areas. This allows the assessor to identify each sales representatives’ strengths and weaknesses at a glance. This pdf can also later be easily uploaded into each individual’s Salesforce account.

Clearly Defined Metrics Originally, the company proposed dividing technical knowledge and familiarity into two separate questions; however, this immediately doubled the survey’s length, and ultimately proved impractical. After consulting with QuestionPro’s experts, the company ultimately decided to create following five-scale metric:

1 – I am unfamiliar with the product and do not feel comfortable discussing it with customers.

2 – I  am familiar with the product, but do not feel comfortable discussing it with customers.
3 – I am familiar with the product and comfortable discussing it with customers.
4 – I understand the product’s technical requirements well and feel comfortable discussing it with customers
5 – I understand the product perfectly and am very comfortable discussing it with customers.

These inputs were sufficiently varied for the respondent to clearly indicate if he needed more training to maximize their potential or simply more experience. By combining the two areas into one metric, the survey length stayed manageable.