How to Use Work Feedback to Improve Your Team


If you’re like most sales managers, you’re tracking too many moving targets: your reps, the sales forecast, the huge deal stuck in the pipeline, and the paperwork the higher-​ups want you to complete by the end of the day. To get ahead of these tasks, you can try to improve your time management and delegate more projects. One project you shouldn’t delegate or delay is the need to provide work feedback. Your team members should regularly hear about how they are doing and where they need to step up their game. Here are a few ways to make that happen.

Using Productivity Metrics to Deliver Work Feedback

Sales is a numbers game, and you can track how busy your reps are staying by looking at the activity they post in the CRM. Require your team members to enter data into the CRM from the start of their employment with you. At first, they may see this requirement as your way of watching over their shoulder. But consistent CRM use can help them stay organized and optimize use of their time.

If your team members resist the requirement, offer training to help them understand how to use the system. Then encourage them to enter information every day. Whether it’s a simple update for storing information on a prospect they’re researching or entering the results of a call, the CRM serves as a tool to improve efficiency.

According to HubSpot’s Sales Strategy Survey, about 47% of managers check the CRM. If you’re not regularly checking CRM activity, your reps may be well aware of that fact. And they may decide that your inattention means they can slack. Don’t let that happen. You’ve invested in the tool, and you won’t get a return on that investment unless everyone uses it.

Once your employees regularly use the CRM system, review their activity before your one-​on-​one meetings. HubSpot’s survey shows that 37% of sales managers track the number of emails sent by reps. While that’s a step in the right direction, you need to do more to give reps good work feedback.

Keep in mind that our research shows 37% of buyers prefer to communicate with sellers by email. The quality of your rep’s email messages can make or break a pending deal. Read some of their emails, especially the ones that fall outside the typical workflow. If you see the rep needs to improve the tone of their message, help them make edits. Likewise, an email filled with grammatical errors will turn off some prospects. If necessary, encourage your rep to take an online writing course.

How Feedback Can Improve Your Team

It takes time and energy to give work feedback that helps each member of your team. By the time you’ve completed your one-​on-​ones every week, you might feel you have no resources left to provide positive emotional support. But that kind of work feedback helps to build team spirit, so don’t skip it.

Nobody wants to spend more time than is necessary in meetings. Sales reps know that when they aren’t prospecting, conducting discovery or negotiating deals, they aren’t making money. On a regular basis, call your team together and voice your appreciation. After a particularly challenging project, perhaps when most of the team was engaged in trying to save an important account, talk to them as a group. Whether they succeeded or not, whether you meet in the office or via video, acknowledge each person’s participation. Doing so, says April Thomas, shows “employees you care about more than just profits and productivity, but also value each of them individually and what they are able to accomplish as a team.”

Use Assessment Results to Improve Feedback and Retention

Providing work feedback sends an important signal to your team members. Sales reps have consistently told us (27%) that feeling like nobody cared about them in the office led to a new job search. And 23% of sales reps have left a company because they were never recognized for their work.

This doesn’t mean reps expect continuous praise. You can find ways to provide constructive criticism to help them improve. And your positive attitude about team contributions can help shape the company culture. Each employee responds to work feedback in their own way. You can learn how to personalize what you say by studying their psychometric assessment results.

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Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.