How the Best Leaders Discuss Sales KPIs with their Teams

talk kpis
In our last post, we talked about the importance of discussing sales KPIs with your team. Today we’ll share tips for acting on that advice. These tips serve as especially useful just before you finalize any new set of sales KPIs, such as you would at the beginning of a new quarter or year. If you won’t be changing KPIs soon, you can still use this guidance to open communication around the goals you’ve already set.

Alright, let’s do this.

What to Consider Before Your KPI Discussion

You want to go into this discussion with a theory on which main sales metrics will comprise your KPI list. Remember: These meetings should provide you with insight to help shape your sales strategy — not build it. And of course, they’ll get you stronger alignment and buy-in along the way. (Read our last post for details on that.)

It’s also worth noting that these discussions will only work in the type of environment where team members feel comfortable expressing opposing opinions. You won’t get much, or anything really, out of a meeting with folks too timid about the idea of questioning KPIs to speak up.

Don’t feel like your environment’s quite there? A few quick tips:

  • Start the meeting by instilling confidence. Explain how you called the team together because you value their opinions and understand that a sales strategy built by all of you will be better than one built behind closed doors.
  • Provide recognition to the first few team members who present opposing opinions — even just with a quick praise, like a “good idea” or  “thanks.”

The last thing to think about before your KPI meeting is whether you want to include other team members who are closely aligned with your team. If you lead sales development reps, for example, include a few “closers” in the discussion if it makes sense. The additional insight will help keep teams aligned, allowing them to further understand one another’s days and work together for maximum output.


Talking Points for Your KPI Discussion

It’s smart to open a meeting like this by announcing that you’re about to finalize sales KPIs and want to make sure everyone’s in agreement. And that “about to finalize” part is key — it’s important for the team to know that nothing is final until you get their opinion.

Then introduce your suggested KPIs. Open the discussion around each metric, taking additional time anywhere you can benefit from extra validation or insight.

Here’s some guidance on talking points:

  • If there’s a KPI that you’d like to include this quarter, but didn’t hit your goal around last quarter…Show your team historical trends in sales performance around this metric. Ask why they think they didn’t hit last quarter’s goal. Talk about outliers. If performance dropped for a week, were team members out then, or was the team’s output just off? Did last quarter’s number just not make sense? Does the new goal for this quarter make sense?
  • If you know you want to include a certain KPI regardless of your team’s feedback on it…Of course, the idea is to balance this whole discussion with what you already know. You may be unwavering on keeping certain metrics as KPIs. You still want to discuss them, though, so you can go after buy-in. Start these conversations by saying something like: “I’d like to keep this metric on there. Do you think it’s useful?”


  • If a KPI doesn’t seem worth discussing because your entire team already agrees on it…By the end of the meeting, make sure you’ve had conversations about each KPI. Even with a metric that everyone knows should be a main one, discussion can lead your team to collaborate on tips for hitting your goals around it — another great benefit of these meetings.


  • If you decided to get rid of a KPI since last quarter…Ask what the team thinks about this KPI’s absence and what other metric could potentially take its place. Say something like: “You guys are doing a lot of things. I want to make sure whatever else we’re adding makes sense to you.”


  • If you want to have 4 main KPIs, but only 3 good options come out of the meeting…Reinforce that these metrics serve a critical role in overall sales performance, by saying something like: “We don’t want to just decide on another KPI to have something.” Also, remember: Less KPIs means clearer focus.

Even if you leave the meeting with the exact same KPIs you walked in with, you’ve still spent time well. Your team now fully understands what a KPI is, and they know why their particular KPIs matter. This lays a strong foundation for your team to start feeling motivated around the performance goals you’ll set from here, too.

Now you just have to keep your final KPIs in the spotlight so your sales team will remain focused on them. We’ll save that step for another post soon.

Until then, have you talked to your team about sales KPIs? How’d it go? Any additional tips to add for these types of discussions? We’d love to see your comments below.

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