Selling Power Blog

News & Insights for B2B Sales Leaders

April 22, 2021

The Five Pillars of Sales Performance Management

By Warren Brinker, Vice President of Sales, Americas, Board International

In many organizations, sales, marketing, and customer success are siloed functions with disparate processes, technologies, and data sources. The result is a lack of clarity and transparency into what’s working – and perhaps more importantly, what isn’t working – for revenue generation. When these functions are separate, it’s difficult to make any meaningful, reliable decisions that help both the CRO and the CFO accomplish their goals.

Top-performing sales organizations are the ones that recognize the importance of having a single source of truth around revenue operations. When teams are speaking one language and working toward one outcome, both morale and productivity increase. Sales performance management can help accomplish this. At its core are five key pillars that are aligned and synced, enabling sales organizations to achieve consistent, predictable revenue acceleration for the company.

Defined sales strategy

First and foremost, it’s critical to have a sales strategy that provides clearly defined objectives and guidance to the sales organization. An effective strategy begins with a description of the addressable market, it includes a commitment to a well-articulated sales plan that leads to a predictable outcome. The best sales plans are the result of reliable internal and external dates, an accurate record of historic sales performance, and clear insights into the existing customer base.

Reliable sales forecasting

Sales forecasting is notoriously difficult when organizations have multiple technologies and sources of data that aren’t talking to each other. Organizations should have a forecasting approach that is a true reflection of the market potential and the current and future capabilities of the sales force. To help the sales team achieve their goals, the support team (training and enablement) need to provide the technologies, skills, and knowledge that will help them achieve the level of performance needed to meet or exceed their sales forecast. Top performing companies aim at replicating and reinforcing the behaviors and success habits of their best salespeople.

Incentives and compensation

Salespeople are driven by the opportunity to earn more, and sales leaders want to reward salespeople for their ability to create more new customers and build greater relationships with existing customers. However, getting incentives and compensation right is a strategic balancing act to ensure both the CFO’s and CRO’s objectives are being achieved. To retain top performing salespeople, the company’s compensation system requires speed and accuracy so that commissions and bonus payments are delivered 100% and on time. And in order to be able to provide those incentives, sales leaders must ensure they have the right people, processes, and technologies in place to meet forecasting goals and justify costs.

Territory management 

Territory management is arguably one of the most consequential operational decisions a sales leader can make, because it affects both customers and salespeople. Each sales organization has its own approach to territory management, but it’s often not rooted in any meaningful data and can therefore lead to inequitable territories. When organizations have inequitable territories, salespeople are likely to burn out or lack motivation, and are more likely to miss out on key opportunities. Organizations that use data to identify the ideal customer profile – including industry, company size, revenue, employees, and demographic – are better able to quickly and equitably build territories that serve both customers and salespeople.

Analytics and KPIs

Most sales leaders know that key performance indicators are important, however, they often don’t know which ones are actually contributing to sales growth. Sales performance management enables sales teams to figure out which KPIs – such as strategic accounts or pipeline building – are actually responsible for driving sales. In order to identify meaningful KPIs, historical data is a must-have. Organizations should review and analyze data to see where previous successes came from, and then work backwards to identify the workflow, processes, and technologies required to work toward achieving those KPIs on a regular basis.

Few sales leaders know it’s possible to have one comprehensive platform that covers territory and quota management, compensation, and analytics. To learn more about how to do this for your organization, visit

Headshot of Warren Brinker

Today's blog post is by Warren Brinker, Vice President Sales, Americas, Board International.